- Finally, mercifully, the 2008 season comes to a close, albeit about a month too late. At some point in the coming week, the head coach will be gone, possibly along with the general manager. Then, finally, owner Randy Lerner and the rest of the franchise can begin the process of putting back together – brick by brick – this crumbling organization. Still, a few more swings of the wrecking ball remain, with the hated Steelers donning the hard hat and grabbing the lever this afternoon.
- Given the way this whole abomination of a year has gone, isn't it sadly appropriate that a quarterback who grew up waving a terrible towel will be under center for the Browns in the season finale? And a former Appalachian head coach – the perceived savior by a vast majority of the fan base – got teary-eyed over the very same terrible towel that the Titans stomped on last Sunday? And the very same towel-waving hilljacks who popped the Browns expansion cherry with a 43-0 thrashing will close the curtain on the tenth season with a season-ending bend over?
- I received the "History of the Cleveland Browns" on DVD for Christmas. It should be required viewing for any new head coach, GM or player who comes through Berea. It is an exceptionally well done two-disc set that brought back a flood of memories as to exactly why I still love those colors.
- I also received a bottle of Jagermeister the very same day. It will be required drinking in order for me to view this game.
- What's the only redeeming thing that will likely come out of the broadcast of this game, besides a Jager-induced postgame Notebook? Gus Johnson is the play-by-play man for the CBS broadcast. I am beyond giddy at the prospect of this.
- Haikus seem to be all the rage in ascribing a certain sentiment to a situation. Being one who likes to follow along behind the herd, I thought I'd offer my own slant on the 2008 season using the 5-7-5 prose:
Browns f#@* Browns f#@* Browns
F#@* you root for Buffalo
F#@* Browns f#@* Browns f#@*
- Soon-to-be-ex-head coach Romeo A Crennel, giving us one final Knute Rockne moment as he discusses heading to Pittsburgh for the season finale: "It seems like we play them close one game and get killed the next game. That's one of my fears going down this time ... we played them a close game this year." That's what I'm talking about right there! You can almost hear "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background. If that doesn't make what's left of the troops want to do battle with the enemy, I don't know what will. All I know is it makes me want to rush onto the field screaming like a mad man, then immediately curl up into the fetal position at the 50-yard line and start sucking on my thumb.
- Bruce Gradkowski is the starting quarterback. Richard Bartel is the number-two QB. The offense has not scored a touchdown in nearly 21 quarters. Check please…
- Here's a fast fact I bet you didn't know about: The Steelers are 9-1 straight up in their last 10 games as a home favorite with a spread between 8 and 10.5. The current spread for this afternoon's game? The Browns are getting 10.5 points. So you're telling me there's still a chance…
- Did Shaun Smith really take a swing at Brady Quinn because the quarterback gave him a verbal "Dickey-Do" plaque? It takes a really small man to do that, Shaun. Don't you have an itsy bitsy teeny weenie amount of respect in your body to not go after a one-armed man? It's somewhat unbelievable that you would have such a short temper over such a miniscule issue. The measure of a man is how he overcomes his own shortcomings. Unfortunately, you seem to fall short in this area as well.
- If the Browns lose as expected, you should really be rooting for the Cincinnati Bengals (over the Kansas City Chiefs), the Seattle Seahawks (over the Arizona Cardinals) and the Oakland Raiders (over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). If all three of those teams win, and the Browns lose, the Browns will own the fourth pick of the draft. If two of those three teams win, the Browns will draft fifth. If only one of those teams wins, they will draft sixth. If all three lose, or if the Browns pull a win from deep inside their rectum, they will draft no better than seventh. And people are saying this game is meaningless.
- Goodbye, Romeo A. Crennel. It's nothing personal, simply business. You are a good, good man by all accounts, but you are woefully in over your head as a head coach on game days. Good luck in your future endeavors, and enjoy your grandchildren or a less-stressful coordinator's job. Or both.
LAST CALL: Steelers 34, Browns 3 – Phil Dawson kicks a nineteen-yard field goal on third down with just over a minute left in the game to avert the shutout. When asked afterwards about the decision, Crennel stated very confidently that he "thought it would give us some momentum heading into the offseason. You don't want to be embarrassed in the last game of the year."