Opinions expressed may not neccessarily reflect those of Bernie Kosar or the staff of BerniesInsiders.com
THE OBLIGATORY PRE-JOURNEY RANT
Its draft time again and we have some hope again.
A new front office, new coach, new quarterback... its going to be good! Or at the very least better than before.
The best part of this draft is the fact that Butch is not a part of the organization anymore. We don't have to worry about a stupid pick by an idiot GM, or the right pick being messed up by an idiot coach, and in any case having to hear the load of solid bovine waste (I have been told to keep this column clean) coming out from the idiot coach and idiot GMs mouth.
Now your first question might be why I am referring to the old coach and GM as different people. It's because the Browns had two problems: Butch the coach and Butch the GM.
Plus Butch had enough ego and stupidity for two people. As a result he was bad at both positions as well. The two headed monster was a burden on the organization and to paraphrase Gerard Warren "kill two heads and the body is dead."
But thankfully Butch is gone much to the chagrin of (longtime BrownsTNG.com contributor) Greg and the Owl who contended that it was in the Browns best interest to keep Davis. Which means they are both stupid people. So with that comes draft diary 2005. Complete with my outlook on the Browns, life, and a couple of politically incorrect Terry Shiavo references.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
I have gotten traveling to the draft down to a science. No more changing planes in Cincinnati like 2003 or driving through Pennsylvania like last year, because in case you didn't already know both Cincinnati and Pennsylvania suck.
I'll admit my optimism is more guarded than in past years. If you are around my age (turning 30 in June) you probably became a Browns fan sometimes in the Kosar era. This was a time when wearing Browns attire outside Cleveland meant that you could actually be accused of being a bandwagon fan.
Imagine that. Being accused of being a front-runner because you root for the Browns.
Since then, we have been through many coaches, QBs, rebuilding programs, etc. You now realize your fate could be not unlike a Red Sox fan who born in 1919 in Boston and lived 84 years: You survive the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, you went from gathering around the radio for getting major life changing news to getting it on the internet. But its all overshadowed by the fact you never saw the Red Sox win the World Series.
I don't know if its standard jadedness that sets in as you approach 30 since you have been through a few presidents, a couple of business cycles, and many can't miss prospects. Or just Browns induced cynicism.
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
The characters in the story are pretty much the same as last year.
There is Dave, the host for the weekend. There is Steve. Last year I left Steve out of most of the column because he was a flipflopping lame ass. But this year Steve is the source of far too much comedy to keep him out.
Then there are the two wives. See most of my friends wives hate me. Sometimes its because married men like to make the single friends the fall guy. If guys stay out too late or go places the wives don't want them going to they always blame the single guy.
Memo to women in relationships: Single guys can go wherever we want whenever we want. Given that freedom we have no need to drag your men with us when we are hanging out with them. We understand when they say stuff like "nah dude I got to get home" or "I'm married I can't be doing that."
The reason we are single is because we don't want to give that up or haven't met the woman who makes us want to give it up. But at no point has any single guy thrown his buddy against the wall and said "you will engage in an evening of debauchery and you will like it!"
Dave's wife hates me for giving their children Browns gear when they were born and for saying Pennsylvania sucks in last years column. She didn't even hide it. Last summer they stayed at my house while in town and she didn't even speak to me.
Steve's wife hates me because Steve made me the fall guy one night 4 years ago. I live 20 minutes from Steve and I get to see him 3 times a year: NFL draft, Browns opener, and one floater.
Now you may wonder: Why is Steve's wife involved when this is column is about a road trip. See Steve brought his wife on a road trip. Read that sentence again. Let it sink in. Ok lets move on.
BACK TO FOOTBALL
Who will the Browns pick? Peter King says its Edwards and Campbell in the first two rounds.
Why do I mention Peter King when I believe he is an idiotic egomaniacal idiot? Because he seems to have a cozy relationship with the powers with the Browns and tends to get the scoop in advance. Last year he called the Policy resignation two days before it happened and he got the only post-"resignation" interview with Butch.
Peter King is not that smart to call things like Policy stepping down. Heck this guy STILL thinks Holcomb should be the Browns starter.
If you still think that that's a good idea I know a judge in Florida who would order you to be deprived of food and water because you have no brain activity.
King and the Browns are like how Chris Berman always pretends to guess the Bills draft pick when its obvious he is getting payback for picking them for the Super Bowl 25 straight years. So Edwards is my pick.
INTO THE AIR
So I get to Hopkins airport. I stop at the Cinnabon. I have to because the only Cinnabon in Cleveland is at the airport. I love these things and I can only get them when I fly. We need one at a mall or something but then again I would weigh about 450 pounds if I could get these all the time.
The guy behind the counter asks me where I am going. I told him "New York for the draft" then he asked me if I am getting drafted. I take this as a compliment he thinks I am 22 and not way out of shape.
The bad thing about this is my flight is on Continental. AKA the worst airline in America.
One of the downsides of living in Cleveland is that you have very few flying options other than this monstrosity of an airline. The guy behind the counter said I had no reservation until he realized he was looking at the wrong flight.
Then again this is an airline whose logo resembles the death star. Also for those who don't know Hopkins Airport, there are three concourses. A, B, and C which are right at the entrance and there is D which is in Michigan. To get to concourse D you take an escalator to the center of the earth and walk to Michigan.
I fly to White Plains, a small city about 40 minutes north of NYC. It's a lot like Akron except doesn't claim to be anything more than a suburb of NYC. I love how you meet people in Cleveland and ask "are you from this area" and they say "No I am from Akron".
Sometimes I want to say "oh wow that must have been a traumatic move for you! Do you talk to your family much?"
Dave picks me up at the airport with Steve. We start talking about Maurice Clarett. Steve claims he is in better shape and can outrun him. Apparently either Steve has a weird fun house mirror or he just lives in a different world. One in which bringing your wife to a road trip is just what you do.
We talk about the Browns situation and wonder if Rueben Droughns is actually good or a product of the Denver system. Steve claims he can run for 1200 yards behind the Denver line. Oddly, Steve opts to sell ad space in the yellow pages in Cleveland instead of running for 1200 yards for the Broncos by choice. It's the love of sales!
We get to Dave's house. I am thinking of just hiding in the basement to avoid meeting the wives. Since they hate me. But Dave thinks it will be ok.
Yeah his wife doesn't even cover up the fact she doesn't like me. Within 10 minutes she asks me "so have you hired a maid yet because you need it"
DRAFT DAY DAWNS
Last year we were forced to watch the draft on TV at ESPNZone. This year the draft was moved to the Javits Center instead of the theater at Madison Square Garden.
You think it was because the NFL needed a bigger venue? You think it was because they wanted to accommodate the fans?
Nah it was to stick it to the Madison Square Garden Corporation for opposing the Jets attempt to build a stadium in Manhattan.
Hey NFL can you at least pretend to care about fans? Couldn't you say "we did this to accommodate the large number of fans who come to the draft?" We know you really don't care about us. But could you pretend? Just a little?
I am awake and showered, but I can't find my second sock. So I just go the whole day with one sock.
We decide to drive downtown because we refuse to be locked out again and we are leaving before the trains start to run. Comparing Dave to last years cab driver is tough. Dave has all the measurables: a valid drivers license, a car without warning lights, a clear grasp of the English language. But Sundeep could flat out drive!
We get to Manhattan but its still pitch black so we inadvertently go right by the Javits Center. Eventually, Dave points to ground zero and tells Steve "that's where the trade Center used to be."
I was like "Dave isn't the Javits Center on 34th street." Somehow this is my fault. I left NYC two years ago but I am supposed to navigate. We eventually work our way back to where we need to be and find a parking garage. Parking for the day costs $50. There are places in downtown Cleveland you could park for a month for that much.
We get in line and they give us our tickets right away and tell us to come back at 10:40. So wait you don't want us to wait in 8 different lines? This isn't the NFL draft I know.
Now we have four hours to kill, so we look for a place to eat. We pass by a bar named the Copacabana. Lets just say this is not the hottest spot north of Havana.
So we settle on McDonalds. McDonalds at 6:30 AM is a scary sight. There is a guy who looks like he just came back from the dead to attend a Marilyn Manson concert. A trip to NYC is not complete without an encounter with the Prince of Darkness. This is the first of three run-ins I have with Lucifer today.
It turns out the purpose for his return from The Dark Kingdom of Lucifer was to attend the draft. Must be a Ravens fan.
The McDonalds offers free hash browns to any customer if they report the cashier not smiling. Well no one reported the cashiers because there were certainly no smiles. I didn't have the heart to call out the cashiers who had apparently already had the trauma of having to evade the Minutemen on the Texas border to get here only to work at McDonalds.
I was afraid if I asked for my free hash browns the cashier would be beaten by General Franco the slave driver manager who was barking orders in Spanish.
We get back into line and I run into my old buddy from grad school Chris. Like everyone else Chris is just happy that Butch is gone, but no one will call the picks today better than him.
We are running through the rumors we heard and the inevitable question about just who is Mel Kiper Jr. comes up. He is now the Santa Claus for the NFL. He literally works all year for one day.
Chris asks "so how did he get to be Mel Kiper Jr." I think its because Mel Kiper Sr. and Mrs. Kiper really cared about one another and well you can figure out the rest.
We are let in, and this year the NFL breaks up the crowds into two rooms. One room that you see on TV and on other one right next to it that has 15 screens, tables, exhibits, etc.
Not a bad set up but for the love of god NFL just get one big room. This convention center can hold 50,000 people. Why can't you get your act together on this. I hope when I am on Apprentice 9, the final task is running the NFL draft. I will clean up on that.
The question is asked how our approach will be different this year with a different regime. I assume that since we are not in year 5 of Butch's 30-year rebuilding program, we will draft more for a guy who will help sooner. If Butch was still the coach I would think our first round pick should be Archie Manning's sperm.
Because then we would have a QB by the time Butch addressed the OL. Could you see Kiper analyzing that pick?
"It is a little bit of a reach to draft sperm this high in the draft, but Manning sperm has done well. Plus you can stretch out the cap hit of the signing bonus through out the pregnancy, formative years, and adolescence. With the needs the Browns have this is a pick that will help them far down the line. But the good thing about drafting sperm is there is no pressure to play right away. I expect the Browns to draft an egg sometime on the first day."
That would be our second round pick. Mia Hamm's egg. We could get a surrogate mom as an undrafted free agent.
TOMORROW: The clock ticks down towards the Browns fateful destiny. Tune in for the exciting conclusion of Aqib's Draft Adventure III: Apocalypse!