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  • Published: Jul 10th, 2013
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The Cleveland Browns are cursed!

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The first editorial I did on this sight was “God hates the Cleveland Browns.”  Now the NFL Channel admits that the Browns are the “most snake-bit team in the NFL.”  One expert on the show indicated that the team suffered from the “Paul Brown curse.”  But it is not Paul Brown that cursed the team and its fans to perpetual suffering, it was Art Modell!


The Modell curse started in 1961 when he bought the team.  (My Dad believed that a fool and his money are soon parted.  The question is how did they get together in the first place?) 


On Jan. 9, 1963 Modell began to display his total ignorance of the game and his inability to evaluate talent when he fired long time GM and head coach Paul Brown.  While there were a number of issues between Brown and Modell one thing is clear.  Under Paul Brown the team had won four AAFC championships and three NFL titles.  He had brought together a team that was always in the playoffs before there was a wild card.  And yet Modell fired him.


Modell wanted to have control over the football side of the team.  Modell was clearly not qualified for such a role.  While Modell replaced Brown with a competent coach (Blanton Collier) he did not find someone qualified to replace Brown in the GM role. While there were issues with Brown’s coaching style, the team was in position to challenge for another championship which they won in 1963.


Brown went on to establish the Bengals in Cincinnati and they have appeared in two Super Bowls compared to 0 Super Bowl appearances by the Browns.


Modell went on to operate the team on a shoestring.  He had to borrow money to sign free agent WR Andre Risen.  That showed his lack of both business sense and knowledge of the game.  His purchase of the stadium proved financially disastrous.  When the Indians got a new stadium in Gateway, Brown was offered a deal there as well.  He turned it down.  The loss of the revenue from the Tribe and other bad business decisions eventually led to the team moving to Baltimore. 


The Browns’ fans were still supporting the team despite having to suffer the worst stadium in the league.  Not even the duplicitous Modell could blame the move on lack of fan support.


It is significant that Al Learner was a party to the team moving out of town.  When the move was made Brown fired Bill Belichick.  Belichick went on to a Hall of Fame coaching career.


The Modell curse continues to this day.  Al Learner proved to be totally inept as the owner of the “new” Browns.  When he died, his son took over the team.  Randy had no interest in the team and made several bad moves including hiring Mike “the walrus” Holmgren.


One would think that the Modell curse would be broken when the team was sold to someone with no ties to the Baltimore move.  But as we all are aware, the curse continues in the form of the investigation into the family business of new owner Jimmy Haslem.


Can the Browns turn it all around and become the winning team the fan base deserves?  While I hope so I am not holding my breath.  My prediction for the end of the world is day before the first Super Bowl in which the Browns will play!  That would be the ultimate Modell Curse.




That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits .  

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


What Did We Learn from the Championship games?

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NFC GAME Saints 31 Vikings 28 Overtime


The turnovers killed the Vikes. They lost 3 of 6 fumbles and 2 picks. They totally outplayed the Saints on offense but gave Brees and Co. too many short fields. Even so, QB Favre brought them back to tie the Saints. The game was determined by the turnovers, the lack of protection for Favre, and the toss of the overtime coin flip.

Favre can not be blamed for what happens to the Vikes. The team never would have been in the game with Jackson or any other QB on the roster. Favre got the team there by pulling out so many wins during the season and giving the team the belief that the QB could win a game not just lose one. Now the question is what will Favre decide about coming back?

He had a great season with the fewest picks of his career. He looked like anything but a 40 year old QB and I think he really enjoyed playing with this team. I would guess that he will take his time in making up his mind about coming back. It will probably take until the 3rd game of preseason for him to decide. That way he avoids 2 a day practices and training camp.

The one thing that will help him make his decision is better protection. Favre stood in against a Saint pass rush that the Vike line was unprepared to handle. But despite the punishment, Favre was effective.

The Vikes’ running game was more effective than normal. It averaged 4.6 per carry. The O converted 58% of their 3rd downs and out gained the passing yards of the Saints 310 to 189.

The Viking D line did a nice job given the great field position the O gave up. They held the Saints to 68 yards rushing. They also caused 3 fumbles. They did miss a couple of picks that might have turned the game around.


Paul Brown once said “I’d rather be lucky than good. Good teams lose.” The Saints got lucky winning the flip of the overtime coin. But it took a good kick return and great drive to get into position to kick the game winning field goal. QB Brees’ numbers are not impressive but he did what he had to do. He was able to take advantage of the gifts the Vikes gave him.

The O line did a very good job. It allowed only 1 sack by a top D. They were not able to get the running game working however. The ground game only averaged 3 yards a carry.

The Saints D played well and created some of the turnovers that determined the outcome of the game. The one thing that the D was able to do was put pressure on Favre all game long. They beat him and therefore the O of the Vikes into submission.

The Bottom line: The Saints got VERY lucky. They won’t have the luck or the crowd when they play the Colts in Miami.

AFC GAME Colts 30 Jets 17


I have to admit I was wrong about QB Sanchez. He played as well as possibly could have been expected of any young QB let alone a rookie. He was 17-30 for 257 and 2 TDs but one pick. With the Colt safeties playing up to stop the run, Sanchez used a pump fake to help WR Edwards get open and threw a perfect pass for the first TD of the game. For once in the last couple of years, Edwards actually caught the ball and scored. Sanchez led the Jets to a 17-6 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the first half. That is when the wheels fell off the Jet and it crashed on the runway.

The running game of the Jets was nonexistent. It averaged only 3 yards per carry. The speed of the Colts D was too much for the O and they were not able to get the big runs that had helped get the team to the AFC Championship game. The team was also not able to make the 2nd half adjustments to move the ball.

The Jets D gave up a score with less than a minute left in the 1st half. That was a killer. The D couldn’t figure out how to stop Manning in that drive or the entire second half. When they played zone, Manning would look the safety off and hit the open receivers. When the Jets played man, Manning used double moves to get his guys open. The other problem was the lack of pressure on Manning. They were so focused on stopping the pass, they gave up 101 yards rushing and 4.2 per carry.


The Manning passing game is a thing of beauty. Manning cut up the pass D of the Jets like it was a rare steak. He was sacked twice but had the pass D totally confused. The O line did fairly well holding off the Jet pass rush. Manning showed why he is the best QB in the game right now. He has had his best season this year given the fact that he was working with a lot of rookie receivers.

The Colts D did the one thing they needed to do–shut down the Jet running game. The Jets ran the ball 29 times for only 86 yards. The Jet O line could not get to the LBs to open up the running lanes. The Colts D line played much better than they have in previous games. They bottled up the O line and the LBs cut off the outside run.

The bottom line: The Colts with Manning at QB will be a really tough Super Bowl competitor.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Around the NFL for 10/03/09

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Top games of the week

GB @ MIN The battle of the QBs should be more than interesting. The Vikes come in undefeated getting a breathtaking pass for a win last week. Favre is playing well but he has to do just a little with the great running game of Peterson and Taylor. Taylor is going to have to increase his 2.4 per attempt average to get the ball much. Rogers is playing great and the D has come around using the 3-4 faster than expected. The Vikes win in a close game.

BA @ NE The Ravens may be the best team in the league. QB Joe Flacco has a qb rating of over 100 and the combination of rbs have moved the chains. The goal line back McGahee has scored 5 TDs in just 3 games and is making his fantasy owners very happy. The Pats are OK on O but their D has deteriorated badly from age and neglect. The Ravens win and it might not be close.

NJ @ NO The Jets get exposed as a good but not great team. The Saints have always mistreated scoreboards around the league with one of the most potent Os in recent memory. The D has been a problem but is playing much better. Ex-Jet MLB Vilma has been looking forward to this game for a long time. He has stabilized the D getting everyone in the right spot. The D makes Jets rookie QB Sanchez look like a rookie and the Saints win.

SD @ PT This game is a must win for the Steelers. They will know if the Ravens win their game against the Pats before the kickoff. At 1-2 the Steelers can not afford another early loss in the conference. The Chargers should get LT back this week at least for part time duty. They have to generate a rushing game to go with QB Rivers passing O. The blame for a lack of running is shared by the backs and the O line that has not been getting the push they need. Pitt is tough to run the ball against and win the game in a low scoring squeaker.

DA @ DV Paul Brown once said “I’d rather be lucky than good. Good teams lose.” No team has been as lucky as Denver. Their D is much less than suspect and their O is depending on QB Orton because the running game has been invisible. Dallas is better than it has played and needs to show us something by beating a very over rated Bronco team. Dallas wins.

Stinker of the week – As usual, there are a lot of candidates for this “award” in the week 4 schedule. CN @ CL will make the battle of Little Big Horn look close. DT @ CH will insure the Lion winning streak ends at 1. OK @ HO who cares?

But there is one game that the league should have to pay the fans to watch—TB @ WA When you lose to a team that has not won a game in over a year, you deserve to be ranked among the rankest in the league. TB isn’t much better. I feel sorry for the announcers in this debacle. It will be a very long afternoon with the ineptness broken only by plays that will show up soon in Football Follies.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn from weekend 2 in football?

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In the Pros

Carolina and Delhomme are both very over rated. “DelInt” threw 4 picks against the Eagles. All the experts picked the Panthers to win but as I predicted here on Friday, the Panthers are paper tigers. The Eagles went to Panther land and kicked butt. The Eagles are now in trouble due to an injury to McNabb. He was hit by 2 players in the endzone AFTER he was down. I will have more to say about that tomorrow.

A couple of other teams showed they may be road warriors. The Jets upset the Texans on the road. It was a nice win led by rookie Sanchez passes. He was 18-31 272 yards 1 TD and 1 pick. Nice start for the rook.

The Jaguars look better than anyone thought. They went into Indy and should have won the game. They ended up losing 14-12. Clearly there is something wrong with the Colts and it has nothing to do with the D not having S Bob Sanders.

The 49ers were road warriors going into Arizona and getting the win. The win was led by the D. Arizona is going to have to improve on the O line to win consistently.

The Bronco D played better than expected at Cincinnati. They held Benson to 76 yard rushing and Palmer without a TD. They also got 2 picks. The Bengal receivers had caught the Dropsy Flew on Friday and had not recovered. The Bengal O line is one thing holding them back.

The Chiefs played the Ravens tough. The Chief D scored 1 TD and set up the second.

I told you so.

As predicted, the Bears went to GB and gave the Packers all they wanted and more. A single bone head play beat the Bears.

It took the Vikes the first series in the second half to finish the Browns. Quinn started and didn’t look too bad. The Browns O line is horrible particularly the right side. Several penalties on St. Clair and others slowed the O. They cannot win if they kick field goals inside the 10. Farve did just enough let the Vikes sneak by the Browns 34-20. The lack of ball control by the O let a great effort by the Browns D go to waste.

The Redskins came close to beating the Giants. The lack of catches will make Manning’s life miserable this year. The WRs will cause more picks than he will. Now the Giant problems at WR got worse with the ankle injury to Nicks. Initial reports say he will be out 2 to 4 weeks.

The Dolphins played pretty well but the Falcons are really good. A tougher schedule and not being able to sneak up on teams will result in a worse record for the fish. Pennington is going to have to stop throwing picks.

Drew Brees threw 6 TDs in the opener for the Saints. Of course it was against the Lions. Matt Stafford had a tough day but helped the Lions to 27 points. That was 3 weeks of scoring for last year’s team.

Bonehead play of the day

Leading by 2 points in the second half, the long snapper Patrick Mannelly did a direct snap to the up man to fake a punt and go for the first down. That might not have been a bad move if the Bears had been deep in the Packer end of the field. But the Bears were inside their own 35 and it was 4th and 11. The Pack took over and kicked a field goal to take the lead and never looked back. A lesser coach would throw the 12 year vet under the team bus but Smith probably will not.

The Paul Brown “I’d rather be lucky than good” award

The Broncos used a tip drill on the Bengals by throwing the longest pass play in the final minute of the game in NFL history. With the ball on the 13, the pass was tipped by a Bengal and it was caught by Brandon Stokley who ran it in for a TD.

College Football

#3 USC is still USC and #8 Ohio State is the same as well. The OSU D played very well until the game was on the line then folded and let USC march the ball down for the winning TD.

#5 Oklahoma State was too busy reading their clippings from a nice road win to prepare for their game Saturday. They are not the real deal. Houston passed the OSU D into the ground.

#16 TCU had a nice win at Virginia. # 7 Penn State held Syracuse scoreless until the 2nd string was in for the 4th quarter.

#18 Notre Dame will probably move up two spots after a close loss to Michigan. The Michigan D has come around faster than I though. ND is as usual over rated.

Three different radio hosts picked #19 North Carolina as a sure thing to cover the spread against UConn. I went the other way and picked UConn to win. They came close and only a holding penalty in their own endzone prevented OT and gave the game via safety to NC.

Best analysis of the weekend

Deion Sanders on the NFL channel had the best piece of analysis when he said that the Panthers are in danger of losing their locker room due to the management granting Delhomme a new deal with 20 mil guaranteed right after he intercepted them out of the playoffs and despite the fact his current deal wasn’t up. They snubbed DL Julius Peppers who deserved the deal to give it to DelInt. Sanders is exactly right and it was a comment that only an ex-player would know to make.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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