Hoping The Ravens Get Crushed

When my team isn’t playing in the big game — which, given the Browns’ record of utter futility, means this rule applies to every one of the XLVII Super Bowls ever played — I usually root against one team, rather than for the other.  I pick the team that I despise the most and hope that they suffer a devastating, humiliating loss.  (I realize this makes me appear to be a small, highly negative person, but that’s probably an accurate depiction of my character, anyway.)

This year, the choice of which team to root against is easy.  I’m hoping that San Francisco beats the whey out of the Ravens.  I root against the Ravens because, on a grim, star-crossed day years ago, greed-addled Art Modell decided to follow the dollar signs and move the Browns franchise to Baltimore, thereby carving the beating hearts out of hundreds of thousands of loyal Browns fans.  With that fateful decision, the now-deceased Modell earned the opprobrium of all Browns fans for the rest of eternity.  I hope children born into the families of Browns fans for generations to come are taught to despise the sight and memory of Art Modell.

I also root against the Ravens because I abhor their carefully cultivated, bad boy image.  I loathe Ray Lewis and his histrionics, and it sickens me that he has the chance to end his career with a Super Bowl win — although the stories about his alleged use of deer antler velvet extract have taken some of the shine from Lewis’ time in the spotlight.  I hate the cheap shot tendencies of their defense and their showboating.  The Ravens are one of those teams that, in my book, epitomize just about everything that is wrong with professional sports these days.

I don’t care about the 49ers, or the match-up of the Harbaugh brothers, or any of the other story lines leading to today’s games.  Although I won’t be watching today’s game as a personal protest of the money-drenched, ugly culture of professional sports, I’ll be hoping the 49ers smash the Ravens and win the most lopsided Super Bowl in history.  I’ll be hoping that every 49ers fan shows up at the game wearing a full rack of deer antlers.  I’ll be hoping that Ray Lewis whiffs on countless tackles and gets stiff-armed to the turf a time or two.  I’ll be hoping that, at the end of the game, Ray Lewis and the rest of his thuggish Ravens teammates are shown on the bench, blubbering like babies at having been embarrassed in front of millions of TV viewers.

I need to give 49ers fans fair warning, however — the sports results I root for almost never happen.  This likely means that the Ravens will win tonight, and Ray Lewis will be the toast of sportsdom.  Ugh.

Another Putrid Exhibition

I read UJ’s post on the woeful Browns, and I am forced to agree with him that they stink, big time.  I realize that the NFL season is 16 games long and only two games are in the record books, but I am seeing nothing that indicates that the Browns will be anything other than awful this year.  So, it is likely to be another year of egregious failure and painful embarrassment for long-suffering Cleveland sports fans.

I must grudgingly admit that I could not even watch yesterday’s game to the end.  After seeing the offense sputter dismally in the first two series of the second half, I decided that life was too short and switched it off.  I’m glad I did.  The Broncos may be a defensive powerhouse on the order of the 1985 Chicago Bears — but somehow I doubt it.  I think the Browns are just bad.  Watching their futile, pitiful thrashing on offense is an affront to any knowledgeable football fan.

I don’t think the Browns defense is horrible, just not very good.  They put up a fight at first, then get worn down by being on the field two-thirds of every game.  The Browns offense, though, appears to be so terrible that it may rewrite the record books. Defensive coordinators must rub their hands in glee when the Browns show up on the schedule.  The Browns offense seems to run two first-down plays — an unsuccessful pass or a two-yard run.  Their second down play typically is a three-yard pass, and on third and five either Brady Quinn gets sacked or he completes a pass for a two-yard gain.  There is no big-play threat, no stretching the field vertically, and not even an effort to consistently throw to a receiver who is past the first down marker.  The offense struggles to get into field goal range; an offensive touchdown is a pipe dream.  It is maddeningly frustrating to watch them and wonder how a team that has spent millions of dollars on talent and coaching can be so stunningly inept.

Still, I can’t quit.  A fan has to be a fan.  I admit that there was a certain freedom when the despised Art Modell took the team to Baltimore and there was a football-free interregnum in Cleveland.  But when the Browns returned as an expansion team and Russell started following them, I was sucked back in like Al Pacino in Godfather III.  Now, I’m stuck watching disastrously bad football, with no end in sight.

I keep hoping that one year the cosmic tumblers will fall the right way and years of gut-wrenching losses will be rectified as the Browns surprise everyone, finally make it to the Super Bowl, and win the big game.  If you were to quit before that glorious day occurred it wouldn’t be quite so sweet to enjoy.  Of course, that theory presumes that the Browns someday will be a winning team again . . . .