We linked thirty articles on this morning's newswire, with tons more available on The.Raw.Feed, if you are inspired to keep reading (or living, for that matter) after going through the initial batch of stories.
The most notable element which can be found in this morning's collection of articles is a change in tone among both both in-town and out-of-town writers.
Local commentators are taking a more aggressive approach to discussing Butch Davis' tenure with the team, with the Canton Repository's Todd Porter being the most outspoken in asking for the head coach's outright dismissal, while other commentaries suggest that the vultures are circling in earnest or that the team is in a state of disarray. Out-of-town commentators are becoming more prone to mock or attack Davis and players from a safe distance as the slide continues.
BerniesInsiders.com has been running a variety of commentaries from professional sportswriters and Browns fans both supportive of Davis and critical of him, depending on the author, since earlier this month. Our site's editorial policy, which simply asks commentators to tell the truth as they see it, will continue to result in several divergent viewpoints being made available.
To help simplify the massive number of words that have gone into detailing the Browns 24-10 loss, we've arranged some selected newswire stories into categories.
Category 1: Focus on the Slapfest
The first type of story was the primary thrust of the Associated Press wire story of the game, which means that it will leave the biggest impression on NFL fans outside of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas. Frank Derry warned us that there was a possibility that pre-game hostilities would overshadow the Browns dismal offensive play, which doesn't appear to be happening locally thanks to post-game comments by Jeff Garcia.
Granted, the pre-game battle between Joey Porter and William Green is probably the most egregious example of testosterone overcoming reason since my undergrad days at Ohio State, but is really nothing more than a side-note to the bigger story of two teams headed in different directions. We should also note that the actual game-play was one-sided enough that the pre-game fight was probably a lot more interesting to outside observers than the rather drab and lackluster sixty minutes of football.
The most interesting take on it, and one you won't see in the Cleveland press, is Bill Cowher's negative reaction to the way the Browns team is run as a whole, particularly as evidenced by Gerard Warren's remarks and the pre-game fight. Cowher, naturally, supports doltish linebacker Joey Porter unconditionally. The Browns Official Site, of course, makes Joey Porter out to be the bad guy.
On the upside, it's nice to see ESPN.com focusing on something other than rooting around in Jim Tressel's trashcans.
Here are examples:
Cowher No Fan of the Way Davis Runs Ship - Herald-Standard
Browns, Steelers can't wait for opening kickoff - San Diego Union-Tribune
Green, Steelers' Porter ejected for pregame fight - ESPN.com
Green, Porter ejected after fight - Browns Official Site
Green, Porter ejected - Akron Beacon-Journal
Category 2: Butch Davis DeathWatch Articles
With the Browns at 3-6, articles sharply critical of the Browns organization are showing up as the media deals with another moribund season and senses that Davis' footing is anything but secure.
Bernie's Insiders admittedly got the ball rolling on these articles with Frank Derry's look at the offense's inept play. Terry Pluto sounds some similar notes as he recounts the game and the Browns mistakes before, during, and after the affair. As mentioned above, Todd Porter comes right out and asks for Davis' dismissal. The PD's Bill Livingston is predictably on Butch-blasting bandwagon as well, calling Gerard Warren a "tarnished symbol of the Butch Davis Browns".
Fans have it right: ‘Butch must go' - Canton Repository
Browns quickly becoming their own worst enemy - Akron Beacon-Journal
Davis makes Browns run ... downhill - Toledo Blade
Results speak louder than Browns' big talk - Plain Dealer
Chaotic game marks official start of 2004 Butch Watch - News-Herald
Category 3: Jeff Garcia's Comments
A number of game re-caps are based around Jeff Garcia's post-game comments, where he laments the Browns offensive game-planning and suggests that the team should take a hard look at their strategy when they have the ball. Garcia suggests that the Browns have an offensive scheme which doesn't map to the strengths of the personnel.
Dazed and confused: Browns suffer embarrassing loss to Steelers -
Offense stalls, Garcia vents - Akron Beacon-Journal
Category 4: Articles Attacking Browns Players
With the team's ship sinking after nine games, out-of-town columnists feel free to lash out at or mock the team's players and organization. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tosses some raw meat to the Yinzers concerning Gerard Warren and an almost-informed writer for the NY Daily News uses the pre-game fight as an opportunity to eviscerate William Green.
Category 5: Articles Fawning Over the Steelers
When you're 8-1, you get a lot of positive press coverage. The Pittsburgh papers are falling all over themselves to pimp their team, and players find it easy to say the right things when you win. The Plain Dealer's Dennis Manoloff contributes with a look at Akron Coventry and KSU product, linebacker James Harrison, who pulled down 18 tackles and a sack as an emergency starter.
Bettis has another big game, but says it's the team that's special -
Steelers understudy glad he studied - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Steelers unleash bench to bury Browns - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bettis gets advice from Jim Brown - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Roethlisberger rolls right through Browns - Canton Repository