Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fabulous Vintage Browns Photos

Posted By on Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 10:43 AM

The Cleveland Memory Project, one of the coolest and most useful archives of Cleveland photos, recently uploaded a new batch of Browns shots. And there are some great ones.

browns1.jpg

Caption: "The Cleveland Browns champs of the Eastern Division will have to wait until 12/26 to learn who they will play for NFL title. But taking no chances are Jim Kanicki (69) with sign 'Beat Baltimore' and Jim Houston (82) with 'Beat Green Bay', while Bill Glass (80) holds sign 'Jim Brown for President.' These defensive men watch the offense workout. UPI TELEPHOTO" — photo verso. The Browns would ultimately play the Green Bay Packers for the 1965 NFL Championship. The Packers won 23-12. "

browns2.jpg

Caption: "Referees going to man with microphone on field to tell fans to stop throwing snowballs or be penalized. Tommy Dowd (with hand in air) got hit by snowball. Penalty against Browns 15 yards." — photo verso. "3rd Qtr: Eagles' HB Ken Keller breaks through defensive line and goes 20 yards for TD that tied game at 14-14." — photo verso. "WEEK 10 - The Browns edge the Eagles, 17-14, on a 37-yard Lou Groza field goal with 29 seconds remaining. But the game becomes memorable because of a small, but vocal crowd (20,654) that pelts the officials with snowballs when no pass interference is called on a controversial final-quarter play. The assault continues despite pleas from coach Paul Brown to stop." — from Cleveland Browns: The Official Illustrated History by Ron Smith."

browns3.jpg

Caption: "The Cleveland Browns prepare for their first-ever team flight on October 11, 1946. Paul Brown innovated travel in professional sports as the Browns became the first pro team that flew to all road games. On this day, the Browns are heading to New York for a Saturday night contest against the Yankees. The Browns won an ugly 7-0 game on the strength of a late New York turnover" — from Cleveland Browns History by F.M. Henkel."

browns4.jpg

Caption: "LA Dons fullback Walt Clay huddles over the goal line in a 31-14 loss against the Browns as John Yonaker runs into the goal post attempting to make the tackle. The game was played on Thanksgiving Day 1948, in a week that saw the Browns play three road games in eight days. The Browns won the first game in New York against the Yankees, beat the Dons in the second, and nipped the 49ers in the third game on just two days of rest. The Browns became the only team in history to win three games in eight days" — from Cleveland Browns History by F.M. Henkel."

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Miami Homeless Totally Want Cleveland's LeBron Jerseys

Posted By on Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 9:40 AM

See, Patches will wear it.
  • See, Patches will wear it.

The plans of Break Up With LeBron to donate Clevelanders' unwanted LeBron jerseys to Miami-area homeless shelters hit a snag last week when politics got in the way of a good deed.

According to the Broward New Times:

"It's on hold right now," says Rita Clark of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless. "There's a lot of politics around this."

The Coalition had been in talks with the Cleveland do-gooders, but ran into some resistance here in South Florida. Apparently, a marketing plan based on the concept of, Here — take a bunch of stuff we hate! wasn't particularly appealing. Clark says she heard Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado was opposed to the donation plan.

"It seemed very well-intentioned, but it's not gonna happen right away," Clark says. "I'm trying to help them be better received here in Miami."

That left many in Miami shaking their heads. Really? Shirts are shirts, right? Who cares what the officials have to say. The homeless would totally take a free LeBron Cavs jersey and wear it, right?

Miami New Times decided to conduct an experiment to answer the question.

Here's what they found:

We happened to have an authentic wine-and-gold never-worn LeBron James Cavaliers jersey. We tore off the $59.99 price tag and headed to the area surrounding NE First Avenue in downtown — Miami's version of Skid Row, a few blocks from LeBron's new workplace, the American Airlines Arena.

The first shirtless bum we saw identified himself only as Patches. He's thusly nicknamed because of the green bandanna he wraps over his left eye, rendered sightless after a botched surgery. Originally from Cuba, Patches, who wears an ancient Pizza Hut baseball cap and keeps a twig between chapped lips, says he became homeless two years ago. He was stranded in Miami after cops dragged him from his former home in Houston to face time for an old robbery warrant.

Patches had heard of LeBron James — duh — but was unaware of the controversy surrounding the jerseys. "Shit, I'll wear anything," he remarked and happily donned the supposedly toxic jersey. As we drove away, he catwalked an imaginary runway in front of a homeless buddy, who looked envious.

So what was that about politics? The entire quest took Riptide all of five minutes.

See, they not only want it, they're proud to have it.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Indians Are Turning Progressive Field Into a Winter Sports Park?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 3:21 PM

That seems to be what's going to happen on November 26 according to a very general pic posted on their site.

Skiing? Skating? Sledding? Snowman-making?

Can I throw snowballs at Andy Marte?

Who the hell knows.

It could be their best on-the-field decision in the last ten years.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Your Cavs NBA Jam Roster: Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, and Anderson Varejao

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:15 AM

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The Cavs are boring and I was worried the video-game version of the Wine and Gold on the upcoming NBA Jam would be boring as well.

I was wrong.

Mark Price and Brad Daugherty are back, ladies and gentleman.

From ESPN:


Cleveland Cavaliers

Players: Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao

Legends: Mark Price and Brad Daugherty

Our advice to Cavs fans still reeling from The Decision: Sticking to the combo of Price and Daugherty — Cleveland's original twosome in the first arcade version of Jam in 1993 — just might beam you back to a happier time B.L. (Before LeBron). It's worth a try to escape, at least electronically, from the LeBron-less present.

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Felix Wright, the NFL's Uniform Inspector at Browns Stadium

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 8:41 AM

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Chad Ochocinco strode onto the field at Canton's Fawcett Stadium for this year's Hall of Fame Game wearing orange cleats. That was a no-no; the Bengals were slated to wear black shoes for the contest.

While it was one of the renegade wide receiver's tamer uniform shenanigans — more so than, say, the time he plastered a temporary "Ochocinco" nameplate on his uniform during his Chad Johnson days — it was a violation of the National Football League's dress code nonetheless. And it was Felix Wright's job to make it go away.

For 10 home dates a year, the 51-year-old former safety for the Browns serves as one of the NFL's 32 official uniform inspectors, emissaries employed at each stadium to maintain the sartorial sanity.

Wright has been the inspector at Browns games since 2001, but he also works the annual Hall of Fame Game, a preseason contest that marks the unofficial start of each season. He wandered over to talk to Ochocinco prior to kickoff last month and eventually managed to get him league approval for wearing the orange shoes just this one time. After all, the case to the league office went: He's only playing one series tonight.

Then Ochocinco emerged from the locker room just before kickoff with gold cleats on.

"They said I could wear these!" he insisted to Wright.

"No, you have you take those off. You were approved for the orange," Wright told him. "I was right there with you."

Wright's day begins two hours before kickoff, when he scrutinizes each team's pregame activities. "It's usually on the field before I can see it, but I have to police it," he says. "They know who I am. They know who all 32 [inspectors] are. Most guys will come over and ask 'Am I OK? Am I fine?'"

Those who aren't — untucked jerseys, socks exposed kneecaps, unauthorized shoes, etc. — are logged on a report by Wright. One copy of it goes to the NFL; another goes to a designated member on each team — usually an equipment or strength coach, who then goes over the list in the locker room before kickoff, reminding each player what Wright griped about.

If they emerge from the tunnel with all infractions corrected, Wright simply checks off their name. If not, the league seeks input from the inspector as to whether a fine is in order; most times, if the problem is remedied before the first whistle, the player escapes monetary punishment — the very threat of which is usually enough to persuade them to adjust the offending garments.

Wright back in his playing days.
  • Wright back in his playing days.

Wright then logs another report throughout the game, for which the stakes are considerably higher. During the preseason — when fans mostly aren't following the action on the field anyway — fines start at $5,000. The price goes up for the regular season, with exact dollar amounts depending on the severity and frequency.

"Most guys don't like getting fined," Wright says. "All it usually takes is one hit. What I tell guys is, don't look at me as the bad guy. I'm keeping money in your pocket. Ultimately I'm the guy that's going to help you not get fined."

Take Josh Cribbs, who for a couple of games last year took to wearing socks on his arm as though he were auditioning for an '80s rock band. Wright popped him with a write-up, the NFL levied a fine, and the offending hosiery disappeared.

Of course, some jocks just don't care. Feisty former Browns Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow share that distinction.

"Braylon and Kellen would come out and just say, 'I'll take the hit,'" Wright says. "Braylon wouldn't wear any socks. He'd have footies on, he would wear his shirt under his pads. I used to tell him, if you're going to give money away, give it to your mom. Don't give it back. Why would you want to give up $10,000 just because you don't have socks on?

"The guys up top are watching too," Wright adds. "It's not just me."

He isn't kidding. Everything — from jerseys being properly tucked in to height of socks to brand of shoes to the color of the chinstrap — is addressed under the league's rules and regulations. While Wright says he is not reprimanded or judged based on his performance, if he misses something, the NFL is bound to catch it. Whether an oversight leads to a later fine or an immediate phone call depends on the situation. If it's Monday Night Football, for instance, expect a call.

"It's easy to make fun of them — call them the fashion police or whatever, but the NFL has maintained a better look in terms of consistency in uniform than, say, Major League Baseball," says Paul Lukas, who covers the uniform beat (yes, there is such a thing) for espn.com and his blog, uniwatchblog.com.

"You can call it whatever you want. It comes from the same place as the control-freak aspects of the NFL, the corporate controls, but it's led to a better-looking product compared to some other leagues. You have to believe if the players had their way, they would wear anything."

But it's about more than just what the players are wearing; it's about brand management.

The NFL is uncannily adept at capitalizing on its popularity through sponsorship deals, contracts which allow companies like Reebok and Gatorade and Motorola to become the official and sole providers of services and have their logo splashed around the stadium. It's a lucrative business, one the NFL goes to great lengths to protect. Reebok's deal, for instance, paid $250 million over ten years.

That kind of coin buys you the efforts of henchmen to keep Nike logos off the field.

It was one of the first lessons Wright learned from his predecessors in the job, former Browns Gary Jeter and Eddie Johnson. "'You're here to protect the sponsorships of the NFL,' they'd say to me."

That means no Adidas, no Nike, no Powerade, no Lucent. And no Coke or Pepsi, products seemingly incongruous with high-level athletic pursuits, but which Wright often finds on the field anyway.

"It's wild that the stuff gets down there, but it gets down there," he says.

Wright's domain extends into the locker room too, where he sticks around two hours following the final whistle to monitor coaches and players on both teams appearing on camera during interviews. Same rules: No logos of competing companies. If it's not a sponsor, you're not wearing it, you're not holding it.

But if the players seem woefully uneducated when it comes to the rules, it might be because they don't receive much internal guidance. The coaches, Wright says, are often worse than the players when it comes to blowing off league policy.

As evidence, he recounts a recent episode of the HBO reality series Hard Knocks, which this year is chronicling the New York Jets. "I want to talk to you about the uniform rules," head coach Rex Ryan informs his team. "Wear your uniform."

"Then he broke the meeting," Wright says with a laugh. "He doesn't care."

He might not care now, but some of the Jets may, including Braylon Edwards, when New York visits Cleveland to play the Browns on November 14.

Wright will be there waiting, undoubtedly looking at Edwards' socks.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Miami Doesn't Want Clevelanders' Donated LeBron Jerseys

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 12:21 PM

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When the sparks of anger were flying fast and hot in the wake of LeBron's departure to South Beach, many a LeBron jersey in Cleveland went up in flames.

The cathartic process of torching the King's gear made some fans feel better, but others thought it was a tad wasteful to burn perfectly good clothing that someone could wear.

Break Up With LeBron was part of the latter group and did more than just encourage fans to donate their now useless James jerseys: They organized a collection drive for Clevelanders who wanted to dump their gear and promised to deliver the rags to homeless shelters in Miami.

The cause was covered by the AP, ESPN, and others.

Stung by the NBA superstar's decision to leave Cleveland and play for Miami, Cavaliers fans have been unloading their unwanted No. 23 jerseys, T-shirts and other clothing items bearing James' name at locations around the city. Organizers are shipping the discarded James gear to homeless shelters in South Florida.

"It's like any breakup," said Beau Miller, who began the campaign with three friends. "You want to give all your stuff back."

For the past week, Cleveland fans have been dropping off their LeBron-related items at Yours Truly Restaurants in Northeast Ohio. Miller said he and his friends wanted to turn a negative situation into a positive and that the response has been "extraordinary."

All good, right?

Not so fast.

Turns out Miami officials have concerns about the plan and have halted the donations.

As with most things, it's about politics.

The Broward/Palm Beach New Times reports:

"It's on hold right now," says Rita Clark of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless. "There's a lot of politics around this."

The Coalition had been in talks with the Cleveland do-gooders, but ran into some resistance here in South Florida. Apparently, a marketing plan based on the concept of, Here — take a bunch of stuff we hate! wasn't particularly appealing. Clark says she heard Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado was opposed to the donation plan.

"It seemed very well-intentioned, but it's not gonna happen right away," Clark says. "I'm trying to help them be better received here in Miami."

You would think Miami would be used to taking things from Cleveland, but I guess not.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bernie Kosar Definitely Maybe Hit a Cop's Motorcycle and Got a Ticket

Posted By on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Bernie, not in a car.
  • Bernie, not in a car.

Bernie, Bernie, oh yeah, how you can drive. No, no, no no no no.

Random YouTube searching turned up a video purporting to show Bernie Kosar pulled over by a Cleveland motorcycle cop after making an illegal U-turn and, allegedly, hitting a bike cop in the process. The title of the video, "Bernie hits a bike cop," seems to make that point at least.

Some public records searching shows that Bernie did in fact receive a ticket for an illegal U-turn in Cleveland on 8/15 and also drew a ticket for failure to control, which seems to back up the claim that he hit something, likely the cop's bike.

Anyway, here's the video, which is pretty boring except for the random heckling from the crowd like: "This is going on YouTube!" and "Aren't you happy you're white!"

Below, also enjoy a fine video of Bernie hawking Longaberger baskets, because that just never gets old.

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