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  • Published: Aug 18th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Can The Browns Breakthrough In The Tough AFC North?

Can The Browns Breakthrough In The Tough AFC North?

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Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns (Photo credit: zoonabar)

In 2013, the AFC North enters the season as possibly the toughest overall division in the NFL. The division boasts the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the all-time Super Bowl leaders and a popular Super Bowl sleeper pick in 2013. Oh, they also have the Cleveland Browns, who are young and improving, but still waiting for a true breakout season. So can 2013 be the year they start to contend for the playoffs?

Whenever a team is forced to start a rookie quarterback and running back, they are in for a somewhat long season. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson did a pretty good job in 2012, but they did not have enough help to get them anywhere. With a year under their belt, things could be better for them, with Richardson particularly being seen as someone who can do a job for your team in fantasy football 2013.

After an off-season full of changes at the management and coaching level, the team seems to be quickly adjusting to the new way of doing things. They also have a young core that continues to grow, thanks to quite a few high draft picks in a row. New head coach Rob Chudzinski, along with his coordinators Norv Turner and Ray Horton, hope that their changes in the offseason and during camp will result in a few more wins.

While the Browns will be better, so will the rest of the division. Cincinnati made several improvements to their team, especially offensively, that should put them in the playoff and Super Bowl discussion. Baltimore, even if they have a true Super Bowl hangover, will still be solid, while Pittsburgh is, well, Pittsburgh. Despite an 8-8 season a year ago, the Steelers have had the Browns’ number for quite a few years now, so that will be a tough match-up.

While the other three teams in the division seem to have their quarterback for the foreseeable future, the Browns are still unsure about Weeden. At times, he looked good as a rookie. Other times, he looked like a guy who has already peaked. His play will probably end up determining whether or not the Browns can get into that 8-10 win range, or if another last place finish is in their future.

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  • Published: Jul 10th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Cleveland Browns are cursed!

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.


  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 20th, 2012
  • Category: Football, NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on I present proof that the world will not end tomorrow.

I present proof that the world will not end tomorrow.

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Looking at Ford Field the night of Super Bowl XL

Looking at Ford Field the night of Super Bowl XL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I present proof that the world will not end tomorrow.


Those of us that have survived the Browns debacle since 1999 will not find relief by the world ending tomorrow.  No, that is not going to happen.


We are going to suffer more and more until our best hope for the future, new owner Jimmy Haslam finds the right coach to take us out of the desert and into the promise land.  The hope is that Haslam will not screw up like the two previous owners have and bring in someone like Shurmur that is totally unprepared for the job of HC.


Having followed the team since 1955 I can tell you exactly when the world will end.  A Super Bowl is in our future.  The Browns will find a way to get the firepower to have an offense to match the D and will win the AFC Championship someday.


The world will then end one the day before the Browns first Super Bowl appearance.


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/.

He edits .  

Mike Holmgren’s legacy has been hurt by his job in Cleveland

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Mike Holmgren’s Legacy

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21:  Cleveland Browns ...

NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren speaks briefly with San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner while attending the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt HotelÊon March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it’s annual owners meeting in New Orleans. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

When he went to Seattle he insisted on being both the GM and head coach.  In 2002 he was relieved of those powers.

On Dec. 20, 2009 prior to Mike Holmgren being named team president, I wrote an article entitled Is Holmgren the answer to the Browns problems?  I started the article this way:

Discussions of the Cleveland football guru position have reminded me of the movie “Joe and the Volcano.” The boss of a very young Tom Hanks is on the phone discussing a potential hire.

“I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” I have exactly the same question about Mike Holmgren as the “football guru” of the Browns or any other team for that matter.

I went on to outline the draft picks that GM Holmgren made and how in 2002 he was relieved of his GM duties.  While there were indications that Holmgren might be able to do the GM job for the Seahawks, there were more reasons to relieve him of those duties.

His legacy in Cleveland will be based on the decisions he has made here as well as the results or lack of results that have been produced by those decisions.  The record of 10-28 under Holmgren is a black mark without question.  But beyond the record, there have been decisions that will impact the Browns and Holmgren’s legacy for years.

Team president is a very different position from that of GM.  A review of Holmgren’s primary decisions is necessary to see if he should be the second to go or not.

  1. The      first major decision by Holmgren was to give Eric Mangini one more year as      head coach.  It is possible that      Holmgren had already decided that Pat Shurmur was to be the HC of the      future.  But at the time Shurmur had      been the OC for the Rams for one less that successful season.  I have to wonder if Holmgren kept      Mangini to let Shurmur strengthen his resume?

I am sure that it was just a coincidence that Shurmur was represented by Bob Lamonte, same agent that Holmgren uses.  No matter what was the basis of the decision, Mangini failed and was fired at the end of the year.  The year was wasted and the team was worse off after than before.

  1. Holmgren      hired Tom Heckert as GM.  In my      opinion the grade for this decision is incomplete.  I have mixed feelings about Heckert and      will describe them in detail in a future post.
  1. The      next critical decision was the hire of Pat Shurmur as head coach.  I have already written about my view of      that decision.  In my opinion this      choice was a disaster.  It also      points out a major failing of Holmgren.

Hiring a young coach to lead the team is not necessarily bad.  However, Shurmur had very little experience at the job of OC and no previous head coaching background.  Given that, I expected Holmgren to spend a lot of time mentoring his young choice.  The lack of development exhibited by Shurmur was frightening.  If there was mentoring going on, it was not effective.  If not, Holmgren was not earning the millions the team was paying him.

  1. The      decision to allow Shurmur to be OC and head coach was a disaster from the      first snap.  It was a poor choice      because anyone new to head coaching in the NFL would be overwhelmed.  When Shurmur was appointed both as HC      and OC, he hid behind the OC function to the detriment of the HC position.
  2. The      next decision was the naming of the defensive coordinator Dick      Jauron.  He is the bright spot of      the coaching staff.  He has proven      his ability to hide weaknesses in the defense and overall has done very      well with the players he was given.
  3. The      next decision was the remainder of the coaching staff.  While some of these picks like Ray      Rhodes were fine, others have been disasters.  This group included weak points WR coach      Mike Wilson and special teams coach Chris Tabor.

By far the most damaging part of Holmgren’s Cleveland legacy is the total lack of urgency to win by him and his entire regime.  He seemed to care less about the long suffering Browns fans.  He also was willing to take full advantage of a disinterested owner.  In my opinion Holmgren stole the millions of dollars that he was paid by not doing his job.

I have been an opponent of any Hall of Fame consideration for former Browns owner Art Modell because of the theft of the Browns to Baltimore.  Because of the decisions Holmgren made, I will campaign against his election to the Hall as well.

That’s what I think.  Tell us 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/.

He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST on or http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21.  You can catch any interviews you missed on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.


Brent Sobleski: Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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Brent Sobleski

Tonight NNR begins at 5PM EDT : Brent Sobleski of ESPN

Brent Sobleski of ESPN and Draftinsider.net joins us to begin our weekly College football review by conference.  We start this week with an overview of the top colleges.

Tony Williams Giants and Knicks beat writer for Metro New York Paper joins us to preview week 2 of the preseason and project the top NFL teams in 2012.

Lou Diamond of LouieDiamond.com joins us to talk point spreads on the early games and the odds of the NFL teams going to the Super Bowl.

Zack Pumerantz and Jake Silver of JZ Sports Inc. join us to talk about the NFL.

Monty McMahon, editor for totalpackers.com joins us to preview the Browns Packers game.

NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.  Pss the Green arrow at 6 for NNR.

The archive of the show is available the following day at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

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 and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/. 

  • Author:
  • Published: May 19th, 2012
  • Category: Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Betting For The 2012-13 NFL Season Begins

Betting For The 2012-13 NFL Season Begins

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A photo of the Logo of the National Football L...

A photo of the Logo of the National Football League (NFL) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The upcoming National Football League (NFL) appears to be gearing up with intensity. Odds on the 2012-13 conference winners, Super Bowl champion and other match-ups are already being offered by several online Sports-books.

Super Bowl 2012-13 Favorites

The Green Bay Packers have been listed as favorites for Super Bowl champions by several sports betting sites including 888Sports, William Hill and bet365 and their odds range from 6/1 to 11/2. Odds of 7/1 are being offered by Hill on the Patriots, 10/1 on the Texans , 14/1 on the Eagles and 49ers. The other betting sites are pretty much in line with these numbers.

888Sports has odds of 18/1 on the 2012-13 winners, the Giants, while Hill and bet365 have odds of 20/1 hinting that the Giants may not repeat their victory. Therefore, this season offers a great chance to bet on an unlikely winner.

Betting on Conference and Other Matches

The three top online sports books show odds in favor of the Packers for the NFC Conference and the Patriots for the AFC Conference. Their Week 1 placements and spreads show some possible big games between the Cowboys and Giants, 49ers and Packers and Steelers and Broncos.

Several player season specials already have odds offered by 888Sports. For Rookie of the Year, they are looking at Andrew Luck at 3/1, both Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson at 5/1 along with fifteen other top players.

NFL Fever in Vegas

While the NFL teams are still in pre-season preparation, the sports-book operator for the Palms, Cosmopolitan, Hard Rock, Tropicana, M Resort, Palazzo and the Venetian casinos in Las Vegas, Cantor Gaming, has already released spreads on the regular season games up to Week 16.

The online sports betting sites and the Vegas sports-books have already published the Week 1 odds and the bettors are deciding which predictions to go with for the hope of placing big future bets on the various NFL games.

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