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With Thanksgiving creeping closer, it's hard for me to put some old memories out of my head.
Every Christmas, we used to leave our home in Chesterland to travel to my Grandmother's house to finish up Christmas day, about a five-hour drive. We loved visiting my Grandmother, perhaps the sweetest woman ever to grace God's green earth, but the drive was always dull. Other than fighting with my siblings, there wasn't much to do other than listen to the radio. The trip back home seemed even longer, as we expectantly waited to get back to play with whatever toys had been included in that year's haul.
My father pretty much controlled the radio, and his preference was football, much to the chagrin of my sisters. After a while, we noticed that highway speed would vary based on how much time was left in the game and the distance left in the trip. If it was the third quarter and we were less than 100 miles away, our rate of travel would would drop precipitously because he knew he wouldn't be able to listen to the end of the game once he got there.
One of my fondest memories was when I was just ten years old or so, as our car headed back to Geauga County from Michigan through the snow-dotted landscape. We listened in disbelief as the Browns played the undefeated Miami Dolphins in the playoffs. Heavy underdogs, they fought Don Shula's squad every step of the way, giving them one of the toughest battles they got all year. We were close, so close to making history.
To a ten-year old boy, imaging what was happening on the frozen tundra through the lonely voices coming through the static, with the animal growling of the crowd behind them, was beyond enthralling. You could imagine the mud on the uniforms, the snow spiraling down through the air (ignoring the fact that the game was being played in Florida). With every snap, you could sense history being made as Mike Phipps tried to derail the mighty Dolphins, briefly taking the lead in the second half.
The Browns came up short, and the Dolphins rolled through the Super Bowl. But I'll never forget it.
Maybe that experience is why I'm so unimpressed with the lowest-common-denominator approach used by TV networks in broadcasting games today. All the computer graphics, faux jocularity, and shouted excitement in the world can't match the imagination of a boy listening to the voice of Gib Shanley or Nev Chandler cutting through the static as the midwestern landscape passed by. It never will.
LATEST FROM THE OBR (SINCE LAST NIGHT)
We've also got an exclusive recording of a Kellen Winslow interview (thanks to our friends at Sirius Radio) and Gary Kubiak's interview transcripts from today in our subscriber Ask the Insiders forum.
As I mentioned yesterday, there wasn't any Browns news on Tuesday, a day off for the players.
Front Office Has Decision to Make on QBs - Warren Tribune-Chronicle
Bounces Finally Favoring Browns - Lake County News-Herald
Big Games Highlight Young Teams' Battles - Plain Dealer
Four Starters to Miss Practice - Official Site
Browns O-line providing confidence to Anderson & Co. - USA Today
Your guide to the easiest articles to write, ever.
Scout.com: Browns go from #13 to #10
Sports Illustrated: Browns stay at #10
FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
I couldn't help myself and went into another Rant about the NFL yanking games from free TV and putting them on their own network. It was originally meant to be part of this News-o-Rama update, but just got too long.
Fans of 1996-era Bietzian ranting about NFL greed, both of you, can check it out. The rest of you should ignore and enjoy your holidays.
Greed-Off 2007 Gets More Annoying - Munilot Wire
Mr. Wright - Ace Davis
My Name is Kobayashi. I Work for Larry Dolan. - Vinny and the Hornless Rhino
Cleveland's Thankful For... - J-Beanie
Browns: 56.9% - Disappointment Zone
OTHER STUFF AROUND THE WEB
Remember that stuff I wrote yesterday about the importance of local papers to Browns fans, and how newspapers in general were sinking? It's even worse than I thought.
I'll probably wind up seeing The Mist (review) after work today, but am far more excited to see No Country for Old Men. Ra!