Les: Time for Some "How Come Quickies"

Not everything about the Cleveland Browns makes sense...

How Come… sports bars and stores that sell televisions have to resort to talking about the football game coming up between the championships of the AFC and NFC on Sunday, February 5, as the ‘Big Game', just because they haven't paid some ridiculous rights fees to use the term ‘Super Bowl'? Football isn't the only guilty party. Unless MLB says it is okay, ‘World Series' is not allowed to be used by anyone not listed as an official sponsor.

How Come… nobody thinks the NFL would have admitted a ref's mistake on the ‘Immaculate Interception' in the Pittsburgh-Indianapolis game if it determined the outcome of the game? It is hard for me to believe that officials who got far enough along the grading scale to qualify for such an important game could have made that call. I was kind of hoping that the NFL was going to quote some seldom-used rule, like the ‘tuck' thing they pulled out of their hats a couple of years ago in the New England-Oakland playoff game, or the end-of-the-half or end-of-the-game free field goal kick after a successful Fair Catch. A very small percentage of fans know about that rule, that, after a Fair Catch is made, the field goal kicker can have the holder place the ball down at the spot, without a snap or defense to try to block it, and kick a field goal. Can you imagine the uproar if a Super Bowl---er, Big Game---is decided by that play.

How Come… the NFL doesn't place robotic cameras at both goal lines? It was not possible for a middle-age ref to beat Champ Bailey down the field after a 100 yard scamper to see if the ball was fumbled out of bounds after it passed the pylon, which is what appeared to me. If that happened, a touchback would have given the ball back to New England, instead of Denver getting it at the three yard line. By the way, don't believe for a moment that Bailey was ‘gassed' at the end of the play. He clearly slowed up thinking he had a clear path to the goal line, otherwise why didn't he put the ball in his left hand, closest to the sideline, instead of leaving it out to be knocked away?

How Come…. it took Randy Lerner over a year to figure out that Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel shouldn't have been forced to report to a ‘non-football guy', John Collins? It wasn't possible for Collins to have any idea about salary cap issues or signing bonuses for draft choices? With Lerner being an absentee owner, it was obvious that there would be a territorial fight for power in the offices in Berea. Butch Davis saw the same opportunities when he was here, giving himself the power to control such things as lunch and dinner menus in the team cafeteria. Maybe he should have spent a little more time on evaluating the draft.

How Come… with all of the head coach openings throughout the NFL this year, Butch Davis' name has not popped up once? I would never say never, but it doesn't look like he is part of the Old Boys Network, and will not get a chance to reverse his image in the league. But that doesn't mean that some college program won't give him a chance.

How Come… if the Browns don't have a dominating offense or defense, they made a bad decision regarding Chris Gardocki and special teams? Phil Dawson continues to be solid in the field goal department, but Derrick Frost continued to gag in big games for Washington and Kyle Richardson was quite inconsistent with the Browns this year. While very few teams are great offenses or defenses these days, the special teams should take on added importance these days. Field position and turnover ratio have became the most important factors in the NFL, where the talent level is quite even for the vast majority of teams.

How Come… players who come to the Browns are given a history lesson about the team, but Offensive Coordinator Maurice Carthon apparently wasn't included. How else do you explain that he told the New Orleans media that the Cleveland media ran Bill Belichick out of town. Belichick wasn't fired until Art Modell gave him the news in a three-minute phone call, after he told the team that Bill would be their coach in Baltimore? And does Carthon think that the Cleveland media was so powerful that it took over five years for some other team to give him the head coaching reins? For starters, the local media is fairly easy, compared to New York, Philadelphia, Boston and a whole bunch of other places. Members of the media in those cities would have had a field day watching Carthon call plays, mis-manage the clock, and not getting full use out of the Braylon Edwards, the only play-maker on the team.

‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen M-F from 6-7pm and 11-midnight on Adelphia Channel 15 in northeast Ohio. He also is the lead Sunday columnist for the News-Herald and Lorain Journal. E-mail msandll@aol.com or www.leslevine.com

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