I bring glad tidings, Browns fans, for I herald the birth of our savior.
No, not the kid from Bethlehem. Different story there, one that usually gets told in December.
Instead, I speak of the arrival of the man who one day will lead our beloved Browns to the rarified air of the Super Bowl, and will bring the Lombardi Trophy home to its rightful place – Cleveland, Ohio.
Elliott Jackson Shea was born at 3:38 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30 in Grand Blanc, Mich. This 7-lbs, 6-oz little man doesn't know it yet, but he one day will don the orange and brown, and he will bring great joy to the teeming masses of desperate Cleveland fans. And, naturally, he'll do it after leading the Ohio State Buckeyes to additional victories over his home-state Michigan Wolverines (whom he's already being taught to dislike, and his infant mojo was almost enough to propel Ball State to an upset of Biblical proportions ... told ya this kid is special).
Elliott arrived less than four hours after labor began, nearly setting a hospital record. My theory: He was so disgusted by Michigan State's pathetic loss at Indiana, that he wanted out of his MSU graduate mother immediately. She aggressively does not share this theory. And being that Mrs. Gonzo V. 3.0 was unable to receive any pain medication because of Elliott's expedited arrival, I chose not to vocalize this theory until I was safely out of striking distance.
Word is, the Spartan brass have Elliott ranked higher on their coaching candidate board than Butch Davis. Infants are much less prone to panic attacks, and know better than to draft overrated, flabby defensive linemen over, say, LaDanian Tomlinson.
Oh, and when Elliott was delivered, he immediately urinated on the doctor. The doctor was a Michigan fan. Coincidence? I think not. A well-coached newborn, methinks. Do they make tiny red sweater vests?
Is all this simple a case of father's pride blown out of proportion? Maybe, but I also have played and coached the quarterback position. Elliott and I already have discussed the inherent weaknesses that can be exploited in the Cover 2 and Cover 3 defenses – something Tim Couch never seemed to grasp. Start ‘em early, I say.
This also isn't a case of a dad trying to live vicariously through his son. I've won a football championship and get my ring in two weeks. My career is done and I'm satisfied with it. I simply want him to experience that same feeling, but on a much larger stage. And I want him to be the one to bring happiness to Browns Nation, so that the millions of long-suffering fans can share in a feeling so intense and satisfying that it's difficult to describe.
Of course, there's always the chance that Charlie Frye or some other Browns quarterback could win a Super Bowl in the quarter-century before Elliott is ready to start. That's OK. I can live with that. I'm not going to bet on it, of course. It's been 42 years since the last championship, so it's easy to believe it'll be another 20-plus before the odds catch up and Cleveland wins another.
In fact, I hope the team does win another before he takes the helm. I want him to grow up knowing the Browns as a winner, something that an entire generation of fans doesn't know. None of today's teenagers have any memories of Brian Sipe and the Kardiac Kids, and precious few recall the Dawgs and Bernie Kosar. Those are just vague names talked about by Dad and Gramps.
"Dave Logan? Mike Pruitt? Ernest Byner? Brian Brennan? Who are those guys, Dad? Why do we have to watch the Browns today, they're just going to lose again."
Those words are my fear. What reason, other than family tradition, do kids today have to watch the Browns? Who wants to watch a consistent loser when you have no historic context of anything but perpetual suckitude?
My other fear is that Elliott will somehow stumble into becoming a Lions fan. By all rights, I should have no complaint about that because he IS a Michigan native, a geographic quirk of fate.
The Lions? Please. Detroit has won ONE playoff game since 1957. Cleveland has won six since then, including an NFL title. No matter how low the Browns stumble, the Lions are there to set the bar even lower.
And no son of mine is going to cheer for a team whose most famous quarterback wasn't a quarterback at all: author George Plimpton of "Paper Lion" fame.
I'd write more, but a tiny cry is emerging from the other room. I believe Elliott's letting me know he's delivered his opinion of Maurice Carthon via his diaper. And judging by the smell, father and son share the same opinion.
Former Ohio newspaper editor and reporter Bill Shea has written the Doc Gonzo column each week for The Orange and Brown Report for six years. He now writes for a business magazine in Detroit and was recently named vice president of communications for the Port Huron Pirates of the Continental Indoor Football League. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.