I figured, by kicking off this epic - nay - Olympic - battle of Browns fans in May, we would only get the most lunatic, the most dedicated, the most, well, obsessive Browns fans to participate. I was expecting at most a couple of dozen entries from folks like me who still worry about football during the NFL's dull period between the Draft and Training Camp. Not only that, but by pimping it right before Memorial Day, I managed to pick the absolute deadest weekend of the year for football news.
I am a foolish, stupid person. Never, ever, ever, underestimate the doggedness of Browns fans and our willingness to talk football on any day of the year.
I got over 50 emails before I begged off after a three-day weekend. Not only did I get a lot of emails, but the quality of the participants is just unreal. I'm very excited about the people who wrote in wanting to take part, and I anticipate that it's going to be very, very hard to take only five from this group. We'll figure something out, improvising as always, but... sheesh... there are are bunch of very, very well-qualified Browns fans who have jumped into this. Other than the decision part, this could be a lot of fun.
PICKING THE COLUMNISTS
We have to keep the number of columnists down to a manageable number because of the effort involved in posting stories, putting together column archives and so forth. We started out with five as our target, and for now I'd like to hold to that. What's key to me is that everyone who visits Bernie's Insiders should be able to sound off on who they would like to read during the coming season.
With that in mind, we've created a Commentate-Off 2K2 Forum on our boards, where we will place polls about the articles and allow for feedback. I'd like to keep the feedback offered constructive and mostly positive - this isn't going to be a place to bash the entries. I figure anyone who entered has courage to try, and, noting the inherent coolness of anyone who is a Browns fan, I don't want anyone beaten up in this forum. It will be, however, a place for all site visitors to comment on the entries and pimp for your favorites. We will also place polls here allowing folks to rate the entries. This will be used as input to our Pompous Judging Panel as they select the top entries. The names of the Pompous Judges won't be made public now, so that I'm the only known person and can benefit solely from any attendant graft.
Anyone visiting Bernie's Insiders and having the desire to read the entries can jump in this forum and have a voice in naming people who will be slamming articles on the site during the upcoming season.
We would like to have the columnists identified before training camp, so we will be trying to conclude this by the end of June.
Please write up a 700 - 1500 word column on one of the following topics. These are all news-driven topics, since anyone wanting to have a regular column will most likely wind up basing that column on news events. I'm going to leave these somewhat broad, so that you have plenty of room to navigate within the topic area.
1. Possible movement of NFL teams to Los Angeles
2. The Browns 2002 Draft
3. Browns players who will break out or disappoint in 2002
4. Pre-season predictions for the AFC North
If you feel you have a concept for a regular column outside of reacting to news of the day (e.g., reporting on the activities of Browns fans in a different city each week) feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for an exemption to the topic list. The key here will be that the column can be done week-after-week so, for example, "My favorite Browns memory" would only work once.
1. The column should be between 700-1500 words. They could be longer or shorter, but this is the range we would normally shoot for.
2. We need the column in either text or Microsoft Word format by 6/21/02 (two and a half weeks from today). Entries prior to that time would be enthusiastically recieved and run ahead of that date.
3. We will make an effort to send columns back which we would find unacceptable for some reason, and we'll probably bounce things that are libelous or contain comments that our visitors would find objectionable. I know that this may seemingly disqualify most fans from writing post-game commentary after a loss. I usually wait three or four days to keep the four-letter words down.
4. I need the handle you would like to use on your commentaries (e.g., "Doc Gonzo", although that's taken) and a prospective name for the column. Board participants may want to consider using a new handle if they don't want to bias any comments on their columns. These can change later, but will help everyone get an idea what the column would be like.
That's all I can think of for now... further comments will be placed in the Commentate-Off forum. Good luck to everyone, and thanks to everyone who has offered to participate!!!