THEOBR.COM CONTENT ADVISORY
I'm writing this at 6:00 am because I can't sleep. Normally it's a bitch for me to awake by 6:30, but here I am on java number three, jacked up like Gretchen Wilson on shooter number nine. It looks like it's gonna be the best off-season ever tomorrow.
This is how I used to feel at age six waiting in the dark for Christmas to dawn so I could clean up what Santa deposited. Go on, NFL, destroy your model pro sports labor relations for another 72 hours. Go on, Gene and Tags, get in the car with George Costanza and ride to the Hamptons. Get nuts. You know you want to. I call shotgun as a Browns' fan.
Even if this is only temporary, what we are seeing is the first real paradigm shift in the NFL collective bargaining status quo since 1993 when two expansion teams CarJacked the Greedy Rich Owners' Club (GROC) and went from concepts to conference champions in two seasons.
If you recall, the new CBA had just begun. No one knew exactly how to work it and it arrived with a vengeance. Some, like Carman Policy, just ignored it and cheated in a way that'd make Jimmie Johnson's NASCAR team blush. Some, like the other Jimmy Johnson, through a combination of savvy and dumb luck, had a talented young team that was a couple years away from cap hell. But two non-descript teal teams parlayed their national debt -like cap space into shocking runs. One of them had enough draft acumen to stay near the top of their conference for nearly a decade.
That's what Opie might have the Browns poised to do right now.
We're already seeing big names hit the chopping block. Not your usual junk collection of has-beens and so-so players, but real impact contributors with tread life. The possibilities right now are limitless.
While it is out of character for me to disagree with the great one, Mr. Levine, I've been put through the ringer enough as a Browns fan to not give a rat's ass plug nickel about the rest of the league.
I don't care about what's good for NFL labor relations. I don't care about what is good for Dan Rooney or Mike Brown and their Ma and Pa shops suckling at the teats of the big money GROC, including Randolph Mortimer Lerner's revenue stream courtesy of you and I. I don't care about whether players become millionaires thrice over or ten times over. I care only about what is good for the Cleveland Browns, cause we've been dissed as Browns' fans in ways only Robbie Van Winkle can begin to comprehend.
All y'all NFL bitches stood by through The Betrayal, jerked us around while exploiting other cities for stadia, shoved PSL's down our throats, selected our ownership via a glorified E-Bay process where price was the only consideration, gave us only a few months to get a franchise ready, didn't let us interview coaches and GMs in-season, and basically set us up for failure. And now I'm supposed to worry about them?
If a cluster freak bolt out of the blue is what it takes to flood the cap poised Browns with quality talent as when the USFL folded in 1985, then so be it. It if makes like harder for Brown and Rooney, then that's just the whipped cream on Ali Larter, errrr, the sundae.
Hell, I might not sleep at ALL tonight, waiting for Friday.
In the end, I believe the NFL will impose it's Bismarkesque will upon it's players and we'll see the kind of stability that has made the league the dominant force in American professional sports, along with NASCAR, while major league baseball and the NBA continue their long, slow declines to hockey status.
But for the next 72 hours, let chaos reign. Go on NFL, pull the trigger. Then get busy Phil. Git er dun. I need that GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip this year.