Monday, September 18, 2006

Battle of Ohio; not much joy for real Bengals fans

Winning is one thing, proving superiority and getting bragging rights at the bar or water cooler for a few weeks is good. But, for us old time Bengals fans, beating the Browns just isnt what it used to be.

Not to mention the injuries some key players got in the game, the result is much like winning a fight with your brother or one of your buddies.

It's just not anywhere as good as beating 'Modell's Team' anymore. Because REAL Bengals fans consider themselves and the Bengals as Paul Brown's legacy to Ohio.
Browns fans for decades deluded themselves with their mighty legacy.. but it was only a matter of time until Art Modell did to them what he had done to Paul Brown in the early sixties. Some of them actually derided Brown as spiteful and trying to make a replica of the Browns.
For me it was HIGHLY satisfying when Modell scuttled off to Baltimore. While I commiserated with Browns fans who really understood the meaning of it, The emblems the name, the impact and identification is nothing without the WHOLE of the Browns Legacy and they were tainted as long as Modell had anything to do with the team.

Now that the Browns logo and mystique no longer has anything to do with Modell, the reason to despise Brown fans isnt there anymore; especially since they are suffering through what we did all those empty years that Mike Brown didnt understand what his Dad learned in the few years after he gave up the coaching role.
Which was you cant micromanage your team. See... you tout the accomplishments of the great man, but also see where he was lacking, and Mike didnt get it, until four years ago.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Browns dont have that problem with Lerner, but I think as a GM Randy is still learning. It'll come but they are going to have to get over the concept of bringing in 'local boys' as key team leaders.
I think Charlie Frye will be a good QB..but the Browns are going to have to learn to bring in people who dont know a damn thing about Cleveland and make them adopt the city, not the other way around.

Cincinnati, amazingly, has done that very well. All you have to do is look at the numbers of Bengals greats who'd never been there until they arrived at training camp, and live in and/or love the team and city long after they retire.
- - - - - - - - - - -- -- - - - - -
Which gets around to what it is to be a Bengals fan.... our pride of legacy is STILL centered around Paul Brown and the sense of community around the team. Which we old timers see as born in Cleveland.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Columbus @ Austin [R]

Ended up pretty much a Buckeye fan's dream..

Actually that subject title is an attempt at humor... but I think it points something out... that Columbus sure doesnt need the NFL, and .. probably.. despite some pride in past Cowboys' performances.. Austin -and more than half of Texas- doesnt either.

And.. though it is STILL early (these things take decades), the Buckeyes have illustrated that their new age has dawned. And the reason is Jim Tressel.

Despite Ol Woody's best attempts the Buckeyes never really made their rep past "Big Ten Powerhouse" category... yeah they won the odd 'Big Game' but in showcase national games' they were as likely to disappoint as to shine.

The Tressel Era is changing that. As a head coach, he seems to have a knack for getting in staff that knows how to build a team out of the best available resources, then get them prepared for the BIG GAME... something that Earle Bruce and John Cooper, looking back and thinking "What would Woody do?" could not.

Exammple: Tressel letting Troy Smith cut loose and continue to press on passing, while in the lead.
Woody, and Bruce/Cooper following him, would have gone to 'ball possession.. the old 'three yards and coud of dust'.

Here's something Ironic for you... I never liked Woody all that much.

Now those of you who KNOW Woody's mentality and his rep as a military historian might find that odd.. as I'm a balls-to-the-wall conservative.

Well, it aint so odd...
Tressel inspires and encourages each player to his best, Woody damn well ORDERED it. And took it personally when his player didnt live up to his standards. Yeah, Woody would have thundered "You let down the team, son!" but he REALLY meant, "You let ME down!"
Tressel's guys understand him to mean exactly that they're playing for the team.
Note Smith's aftergame comments; note the team singing in front of the band and fans' section after the game.

The ideal occurs when each person sees the benefit in going that extra bit to ensure success in his endeavors, but only those which benefit the group he's working with.

Now, ironically, it's my view that Woody would have known how to handle Maurice Clarett... while Tressel probably came back to Columbus from Tempe in '02 knowing that Clarett was going to be BIG trouble.

The difference; sometimes you have to cut them loose.

Something most who've followed Terrel Owen's career understand... unfortunately unlike Owens, we dont seem to be able to get the schmuck out of Columbus.

But he's reflecting less and less on Tressel and more and more on the likes of racist thug-apologists such as Jim Brown.

And such is the mentality, patience, and skill, of Jim Tressel.