Talk back to Aardvark in the Fan Commentary Forum!
You roll your eyes at the office dweeb. "Why the Panthers? Uh, their uniforms are way cool?" Nimrods base their allegiance on… fashion.
Our allegiance to the Browns is based on all the right things: a lifetime of history, tradition and legends who forged their greatness on the field. Our helmet, free of logos, is a fashion NON-statement and reflects our no nonsense, blue-collar values.
Love of team is unconditional. But love of players is oh, so fickle. With time we can grow to like a player (Jamir) or loathe another (Wali) based on their play. In principle, a rookie or free agent should toil in obscurity until great play earns him recognition, then admiration. Yet we show instant like or dislike for players based on elements no more substantial than uniform colors. Don't wait to see if they can really contribute or develop. You can love ‘em or hate ‘em before they can even play!
Exhibit A: Chris Spielman. Fine career with
Exhibit B: Dennis Northcutt. Before he played game one, fans were on his ass quicker than New Meat Day at Lucasville Correctional. The guy is holding out AND raking in money with K-Swiss commercials! His play so far has done nothing to change that, but he was doomed from the get-go. Even a quantum leap like KJ from year 2 to 3 won't get Dennis a warm bucket of spit.
So how do fans develop such a hair trigger feel for players?
Modeled after the time-tested quiz in any Cosmopolitan (the one she's reading in checkout while you're dragging all the 12 packs off the bottom of the cart), here's a handy 12-question guide to help you out. If the player does not fit an answer, no points are added or subtracted.
1) Player's Alma Mater ("The Buckeye Rule")
2) Player's Weight ("Hogs ‘R Us Rule")
+3 300 >
+1 270- 300
-1 190- 200
-3 > 190
3) Player's Position ("Dirtier the Better Rule")
+3 interior of line
+1 lb, te,
-1 cb, s
-3 wr, backup qb
4) Player's Color ("I Don't Care if They're Purple" Rule) (* see note below)
+1 Whiter than white trash white (e.g. Keith van Horn in NBA)
-1 Dark skinned black
-3 Café au Lait
5) Player's Upbringing
+1 "Sounder" was based on his family
-3 West coast, affluent
6) Player's Status
+1 Mid-rounder reports asap
-1 Big bucks free agent
-3 High draft pick; TC holdout
7) Player's Playing Style ("The Percy Ellsworth Rule")
+3 "Non-stop motor"
+1 "Savvy and cunning"
-1 "Takes plays off"
-3 "Avoids contact"
8) Player's Look ("The Kyle Turley Rule")
+3 Barbed wire biceps
+1 David Keith lookalike
-1 Keith David lookalike
-3 Artist Formerly Known as Prince
9) Player's Sideline Shot ("The Steve Everitt Rule")
+3 Points to Browns bandana on head: "Woof, woof!"
+1 Sheepishly mutters "Hi Mom."
-1 Non Browns doo rag, points one finger skyward.
-3 Strikes WWF pose: "I'm de Mannnn!"
10) Player's Off Field Pursuits ("The Off Sports Page Rule")
+3 Introduces rock bands at the Agora
+1 Mr. United Way
-1 Season's done—gets out of
-3 Stopped in car with 20 pounds of crack and 15 year old girl
11) Player's Wheels ("The Give Thanks Rule")
+3 Still drives '89 pickup he bought from Dad
+1 Brand new monster pickup
-1 Custom cruiser with sound system with wattage dwarfing Blossom
-3 Cream colored Lamborghini
12) Player's Interview ("The Give Thanks Rule")
+3 "The Dawgs Rule!! WOOF WOOF!"
+1 "I wanna thank Coach Davis, Mr. Lerner…"
-1 "I want to thank Jesus Christ, my personal savior…"
-3 "Praise be to Allah…"
Former Players Fitting the Profile ("The Kosar Quotient")
+3 Bob Golic
+1 Ozzie Newsome
-1 Vinny Testeverde
-3 Andre Rison
Based on this quiz, I'd rate Chris Spielman at +13 while Dennis Northcutt bombs at –15. Your scoring may vary. Jeez, no wonder we hate that little guy!
Sure, each individual has his or her preferences that don't fit the bill, but it speaks to a general fan reaction. Use this as a handy guide for all future Browns players. It's not so much what they do on the field that counts because we already formed an opinion about them before they even took it.
I'll bet the Ben Taylor jerseys are already backordered.
* Note on question 4
"Before you all get up in arms and flash your Ozzie Newsome Fan Club cards, understand that this is not a racial litmus test. As a group, Browns fans sure as hell aren't racist. If anything, sports is the one thing that brings together blacks and whites in their common love for Browns and beer and common hatred of brie eating cell phone users. What the quiz humorously points up (it's a joke, people) is our preferences based on a myriad of factors including race, class, music, religion, family values, you name it. There ARE reasons why we take an instant like or dislike to perfect strangers in the spotlight. There's nothing wrong with that: it's who we are and who we identify with in life. But we should also confront our own prejudices, even against brie eating cell phone users." - Aardvark