Sirk: Cow Patties from Columbus

Wherein the challenge of being a dawg in C-bus is easier due to the Ratbird Stomp and pigeons...


Greetings from Columbus. Not only are the Browns 2-2, but they are a last-second field goal away from being 3-1, and a last-second field goal and a forfeit away from being undefeated.

I never thought I'd be typing the words "second-place Cleveland Browns" unless it pertained to the number of false start penalties or something. But after three hours of dancing the Ratbird Stomp last Sunday, the Browns find themselves only a game out of first place in October. This has caused an amount of head scratching unseen in NFL circles since that time half the Bengals' roster got caught up in The Great Hamilton County Jail Head Lice Outbreak of 2006.

How great was Sunday's pasting of the Ravens? I am a perpetual worrywart, but as soon as the Browns went up 14-0 in the first quarter, both the game and my emotions were on cruise control. It never even crossed my mind that the Ratbirds had a chance. I cannot stress how rare this is. And it doesn't even make any sense, given that the Browns spent the first three weeks authoring the book "Arm Tackling By Dummies." But while I laughed at Andra Davis for saying that the defense would "regroup as a group", I have to give him credit. That was one regrouped group.

Maybe I was so at ease because I have seen this game a million times on the soccer field. In essence, if touchdowns were goals, the Browns scored two quick goals and got the home crowd into it. After building the quick lead, they conceded possession in the harmless areas of the field as the clock continued to run. They let the other team play with the ball, but if they advanced into a dangerous position, the defense would clamp down and repel the attack. They tacked on a third goal before the halftime break, and they gave up a meaningless second-half goal, but cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory.

I know your eyes probably glazed over at the sight of the word "soccer", but it's a very apt analogy. Seriously. Stop smirking. The 26 first downs allowed, the 418 yards allowed, and the 35 minutes of possession allowed were nothing more than a dominant victor bleeding out the clock for the majority of the game, the "W" long since assured. Hollow stats, all of them.

Other thoughts on the game…

* Derek Anderson has gone from "The Guy Who Couldn't Even Beat Out Charlie Frye" to "The Guy Who Might Get Brady Through the Bye" to "The Guy That Can Let Brady Learn For a Year Like Carson Palmer."  Has there been a more startling QB progression ever? It's not like Anderson's one of those guys who was never given a chance to show what he can do. He was given chances last year. Then the Browns spent the off-season praying that he would take the job from Frye, which he spectacularly failed to do. And now, out of the blue, he's Brett Favre with size 17 shoes.

* Ray Lewis did not get a chance to dance like Elaine Benes. Then again, he didn't have anything to celebrate, unless being the third man on the pile counts in the stats. Also, the Browns held Ed Reed to a mere three points. That's got to be a career low against Cleveland, like that time the Cavs held Michael Jordan to 42.

* TV color analyst Rich Gannon made the following comment during the CBS broadcast: "The Browns are telling the Ravens, ‘We're not the OLD Cleveland Browns, we're the NEW Cleveland Browns.'" Seriously. That actually happened. I am sure he meant it in the sense of "we're not the sucky Cleveland Browns; we're the flawed-but-dangerous Cleveland Browns", but it was a still a perversely odd thing to say during a Browns-Ravens telecast.

* First Braylon does the O-H-I-O on the Browns' sideline during Hang on Sloopy. Then LeBron counters by showing up at the Jake in a Yankees hat. So we end up with a 1-1 split on two controversial allegiance issues in the span of five days that touched on all four of Cleveland's favorite sports teams. What a weird week.

* I should have known it was going to be a good football weekend, since it started with my Euclid Panthers stunning arch-rival Mentor with a 4th quarter comeback capped by a do-or-die fake extra point attempt. They did. Mentor died. Panthers 35, Cardinals 34. This really has nothing to do with the Browns game, other than it rekindled happy Mentor-mauling memories from my youth and made for a perfect weekend of football for me. (Well, so long as I pretended OU's 33-25 home loss to Kent Read Kent Write Kent State never happened.)

While I am loving life at 2-2, I know it doesn't look good for Sunday. The Mumbling Homeless Guy With the Voyeurism Fetish has his team standing at 4-0, with their closest game being a 34-13 nailbiter in Cincinnati. If I were to compile a list of reasons why the Browns won't win, it would take up as many pages as the lyric sheet for Bret's first attempt at writing a love song for Coco on "Flight of the Conchords." Compiling a list of why the Browns might win will take far less time, so let's get to it.

1. The Patriots have supposedly "turned in all evidence" of videotaping coaches, and all of the documentation has supposedly "been destroyed by the league office," yet I was able to obtain the following Patriots-shot video footage of Romeo Crennel on the Browns' sideline:

I have stared at this video for as long as a half hour, and never did see Romeo move. His eyes never opened, his arms never flinched, and his manboobs never jiggled. I used to think it was odd that Romeo was so lifeless on the sidelines, but now we know why. As an ex-Belichick employee, he knew about the videotaping, so he's been holding still in order to gain an edge in this game.

It might just pay off.

2.  The Browns, having learned from the genius of Mark Shapiro, have rapidly trained a plague of locusts to descend on Foxboro this Sunday. Let's see how many Joba-esque wild pitches Tom Brady uncorks when his face is wet with bug guts. Let's see Randy Moss run an 80-yard fly pattern when he's swallowing buzzing chunks of protein every other step. I doubt the Patriots are as big of sissies as the pampered pansy Yankees are, but it's worth a shot.

3. Two words: Marc Zody. (I'd explain more, but I don't want to jinx it.)

While it can be tough to be a Browns fan here, living in Columbus does have some advantages. For instance, I get to keep a close eye on the Bengals, since Bengals stories run right alongside Browns stories in the Columbus Dispatch. Each week, I get to do a little reconnaissance work. I can keep abreast of Chad Johnson's latest attempts to convert each away stadium into The Brothel of the Visiting Attention-Whore. I can read between the lines when Willie Anderson speaks out by not speaking out by speaking in cryptic "we-want-to-speak-out-but-we're-not-allowed-to-speak-out"-speak. (If you read it a few times, that sentence will actually make sense.) And every now and then, I just skim the headlines, waiting for one to grab my attention, such as this one, which I swear actually appeared in last Sunday's paper:

Who'll Stop Rain of Pigeon Droppings on Bengals Fans?

At first, I thought this was some metaphorical inquiry. I can attest that my friends Rob and Flick, both real Bengals fans, have felt like pigeon excrement after watching the last-place Bengals lose each of the last three weeks. But it turns out the headline was to be taken literally, as Cincituckians are getting pooped on as if they were statues in Central Park.

Not only are the fans getting pigeon poop in their hair, but the article also states that the stool is falling into, and I quote, "their food and beer." This is important for two reasons:

* The Miller Lite arguments must be ridiculous down there. "Tastes great!" / "Less fecal!"

* There is no longer the need for Browns fans to tell Bengals fans to "eat (poop) and die." You may now simply tell them to die, if they haven't already killed themselves jumping off the bandwagon as it careens downhill.

The article goes on to state that the team was going to hire contractors to shoot the pigeons. I'm assuming these contactors would be a truck full of Yinzers, armed to the gums with pilgrim guns, eager to shoot some Grant Street Chickens "fer supper n'at."

But then, just like every other time someone in the NFL decides to kill animals, those busybodies at PETA got involved. Apparently it's not right to shoot pigeons, even if they were going to be shipped to Pittsburgh, where they could be boiled in pots of collected rain water and served to all the hungry children on the mountaintop.

Since shooting was not an option, the Bengals are opting for lasers. Mike Brown loved the idea, and wanted "frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads", but PETA vetoed that as well. So for now, the Bengals are equipping all non-animal employees with laser pointers so that they can harass pigeons as if they were at the foul line late in the 4th quarter. (No word yet from PETA about possible pigeon retina damage.)

But enough about the Bengals and their pigeon poop problem. Before I go, I want to share a new conversation with my SteelerFan work neighbor. It's actually kind of fun having her around, as it keeps me on my toes.

Steeler Fan:     I'll be right back. I am going to go to the bathroom and get something to drink.

Me:                  Or you can stop acting like a Steeler fan and just drink from the water fountain like the rest of us.

I'm just one man, but I do what I can, Barry. I do what I can.

Well, that's all for now. Let's hope Cleveland can send the national media into a day of mourning on Sunday by killing the Patriots' undefeated season and booting the Yankees home to their winter mansions, where the servants can follow them around with their fingers at the ready on the bug spray nozzle.

Until next week,



Steve Sirk, once Art Bietz's co-conspirator at the TruthCenter, has taken to sending a weekly letter to "home base" about life as a Browns fan struggling in the NFL mixing pot of Central Ohio. At some point in life, Sirk determined that suffering through the nexus, dips, valleys, and various low points of being a Cleveland sports fan within geographic proximity of Cleveland itself did not create sufficient emotional pain. Sneeringly dismissive of even basic survival instincts, Sirk elected to reside in Columbus, Ohio, so that he could better be surrounded by fans of winning franchises who could mock his very existence. If you wish to contact an individual of such clearly questionable judgment, you may do so at


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