The DEFEND Cleveland Show

The Most Wonderful Time of Year


December football is magical in Cleveland.  Empty orange seats outnumber fans.  A sense of hopelessness oozes from the stadium.  The crowd in attendance makes almost no noise with mitten muffled claps.  At least a dozen guys will attempt to get on TV by being dressed like Santa Claus, all of them smelling like cigarettes, urine, and stale beer.  The sparse fan base is there primarily with grim resignation of seeing the season through.  Having been hustled out of their season ticket money yet again, they want to feel as if they received at least some value; hence they sit in sub-Arctic conditions with their faces pointed into gale force winds.  It’s more “endurance test” than “enjoyment”.  It’s sort of like ice fishing, but instead of going home with fresh fish, fans go home with a dodgy hot dog churning in their bellies.

Comfortably ensconced in my living room with a roaring fire, it’s still a waste of time to watch the Browns, but at least I didn’t run the risk of losing a foot to frostbite like the fools down at the Stadium.  As the game is essentially a TV show just like Grey’s Anatomy, or Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I must once again express disappointment that my favorite character Brandon Weeden doesn’t get any screen time.  Without Weeden this TV show loses so much drama and sense of wondrous possibility.  Campbell only throws behind players, he just doesn’t have the sense of drama to attempt a shovel pass.  It takes a lot of the fun out of it for me.

I think that because of Weeden only being shown in his poncho, I was able to really concentrate elsewhere.  Did anyone else notice how “the Browns great defense” appears to be unable to stop anyone?  I realize how “good” the defense is because each week the Network Talking Heads tell me this is so.  It usually happens in the first five minutes of the broadcast, just after they say how great the fans are in Cleveland.  I think this week it happened in between showing some doughy broad holding a “Believeland” sign and the awkward Brian Billick recapping his visit to the Christmas Story house.  Why did it seem like Billick had no idea what the Christmas Story movie was in the first place?  Was it because in that picture of him holding the BB gun box by the leg lamp his expression looks like an Iranian hostage photo?

Brian Billick Christmas Story

As the game unfolded, it did appear that the defense was “great” after scoring on a couple of Jay Cutler interceptions.  This helped mask the fact that the Bears continually drove the ball at will.  After Cutler stopped throwing interceptions, of itself a miracle for Bears fans, they started piling up the points.  I know the Browns defense is great.  Brian Billick told me, although the people that had him at gunpoint at the Christmas Story house may have forced him to say this obvious lie.  I say this because shouldn’t a “great” defense make the other team punt the ball?  Do the Bears even have a punter? I think it is fairly important for a defense to stop the other team when the game is on the line.  The Browns haven’t made a stop when they needed one since the November 3rd Baltimore game, which is coincidentally their last win.

The Browns were clearly handicapped this week by having two 5-9 cornerbacks try to cover two 6-5 receivers.  I do find it odd that the NFL has not realized that since all the receivers are 6-5, it would be a good idea to get guys that are 6-5 to cover them on defense.  Yet, it appears every team has short fast little guys playing cornerback.  One of those short fast little guys almost sacked Cutler on a blitz late in the fourth quarter before bouncing off the much bigger man like he was a child. Still, he got there pretty fast though.  That’s something.

I think I realized that the Browns defense might not have been as great as Brian Billick said it was when Michael Bush took 37 minutes to lumber down the field for a backbreaking touchdown.  It could be that Michael Bush is faster than he appears, but it seemed like that run took forever.  I bet even he was wondering why he hadn’t been pulled down from behind.  The bottom line is that despite whatever stats the announcing team uses in their pre-game story, I know that this defense hasn’t been able to make a big stop late.  I also know that if the opponent gets in the Red Zone, they almost always score a touchdown.  These are not the hallmarks of a good defense.  This is not the 85 Bears defense.  Hell, this isn’t the 2013 Bears defense.

The team has now lost 8 of their last 9.  They somehow seem to suck less than many of the previous 4-12 Browns teams, but in two weeks they will probably be 4-12 just like they always finish.  4-12 is still 4-12.  They suck.  Each year is an almost exact replay of the previous year.  Now the last home game is in the books.  The rubber dog masks have been put back in the closet.  The orange Browns themed RVs have been parked in their sad little spots at their monthly lots.  With the 2013 season now trudging to a close, we can now focus on what Browns fans have traditionally done since 1999.  It’s time to speculate on how they will bungle the draft.  Maybe they need a tall cornerback?

Go Browns.
-Greg Miller
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Listen to last Monday’s “The Defend Cleveland Show” in its entirety by clicking here.

The DC Show with host Mike James airs live every Monday morning from 9am-11:30am on WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland, and streams world wide here.

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Posted by on Dec 16 2013. Filed under Featured, Greg Miller on Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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