Welcome to my world.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Browns: Song Parody - "Anything but Mine"

I've been feeling very melancholy lately. With the Browns playing the way they've been playing, well, who could blame me? And when I get into this kind of a "funk," I tend to listen to a ton of music.

I've been rolling some parody lyrics around in my head for a while and after today's game, I guess it's time to put them down on paper. I'm hoping this is just the first of many, since I have always had a fondness for song parody's.

Anyone who wants to actually take the time and put these little ditties to music, just credit me as lyricist and we're cool.

First up: Country Music Parody of Kenny Chesney's "Anything But Mine" from the perstpective of Jimmy Haslam III. Enjoy!


Walking along beneath the lights of that Terminal Tower,
Die-hard Browns fans making their way up to the lake,
You can hear the cries at the tailgate sites,
“Here we go Brownies,” fills the night,
Brown and Orange gear is everywhere in sight.

There's a cold front coming in, off of Lake Erie
Bringing wind and rain and snow to chill the fans
Kids are carrying handmade signs in their hands
Cause they hope to be on camera from their seats.

And in the morning I'm leaving, making my way up to Cleveland
Selling off my shares of Pittsburgh on the way
Cause I don't see how the Browns could ever be, anything but mine.

I’ve always dreamed of owning an NFL franchise
And I got just enough cash to buy the Browns.
Running all these Pilot, and Flying J truckstops
Helped me get to where I’ve always planned to be.

In the midst of the season, I got their approval
Now I laugh cause I know just what to do
Browns Fans there’s some changes coming to this team real soon
And Berea’s gonna have some open rooms!

But in the morning I'm leaving, making my way up to Cleveland
Cause the Browns need help to win the AFC
And I don't see how they could ever win, with anyone but me!


And in the morning I’m leaving, making my way up to Cleveland
Holmgren’s gone, and soon, Shurmur will be too
Cause I don’t see how they could ever win, with those Yahoos

You know I don’t see, how they’ll win the AFC, with anyone by me

Ooooooooooo... ooooooooooooooo...

Yes in the morning I’m leaving, taking over things in Cleveland
Bringing Banner in to help me reach my goal:
No, I won’t rest, until the Browns are best, Win the Super Bowl!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mondays in Cleveland

As I sit here watching a Thursday night pre-season Browns game, I find myself thinking that this is my last Sunday to get a guaranteed good night's sleep.... at least until January.  And Monday will just be a typical, boring, normal Monday with the "Work Week Blahs" to look forward to. 

But as the NFL Regular Season gets ready to start, I thought I should remind you of the "Emotional Guidelines for Browns Fans" for the next 17 Mondays. This is especially helpful for non-Browns fans that either live or work with someone who bleeds Brown and Orange. Forewarned is Forearmed.

You're welcome.

Browns Lose - Steelers Win - Ravens Win
Don't Even Look at Me Monday - Nothing worse than losing and having to listen to the Yinzers and BMorons talk about how awesome their teams are. And their coaches. And their whatever. You are likely to rip someones head off today, or commit a felony. Best to just avoid people, or call in sick.
Smack Talk Meter 0

Browns Lose - Steelers Lose - Ravens Lose
Bummer Monday - Well, we may have lost, but so did the Evil Duo. We take solace in their suckiness. It doesn't make things better for us, but at least the Yinzers and Baltimorons will leave us alone today. Although we will take pot shots at them (when they are not listening).
Smack Talk Meter  2

Browns on a Bye - Steelers Win - Ravens Win
Whatever Monday - Yeah, whatever.  While the toothless and hairy fans of the Evil Duo are celebrating around the water cooler (and yes, I mean the females), you just say "whatever." While there is no shame in a Bye week, you have nothing to say but "just wait until you play US!"
Smack Talk Meter  4

Browns on a Bye - Steelers Lose - Ravens Lose
Superiority Monday - Oh, your team lost? Man, you suck. You really really suck.  Giggle - Giggle. It's a good think we had the week off or you would have dropped in the division standings!
Smack Talk Meter  6

Browns Win - Steelers Win - Ravens Win
Gonna be a Good Monday - Even though we have to get back to the grindstone, sharing high-five's and talking about the great plays makes Monday easy to handle. The fact the the Evil Duo also won is troubling, but it doesn't stop us from enjoying our fleeting moment of glory.
Smack Talk Meter  8

Browns Win - Steelers Lose - Ravens Lose
BEST. MONDAY. EVER.  Let the Smack Talk Reign!
Smack Talk Meter  10+ (We must take our opportunities when we can!)

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Parallels are Staggering...

As draft day approaches, two things are clear:  The #1 and #2 players are obvious to everyone.  With the #4 pick, Cleveland fans are trying to decide what the team will do.  Will they make a move to trade up to #2?  Will they (gasp) trade down?  Will they just take the best player on the board at 4 and continue rebuilding a team that is in serious need of help?   Am I talking about the NFL or the NBA?

Yes, I'm talking about the upcoming NBA Draft, but really, it's eerily similar to what we as Cleveland fans went through leading up to the NBA draft.  The Browns tried to make a move up to the #2 spot to get RG3 but that failed.  In a last minute surprise to all fans, they traded up to #3 and got what may be the start of the future for the Browns in Trent Richardson.  Can we expect the same from the Cavaliers?

Anthony Davis will go #1.  Period.  Done Deal.  Start selling his New Orleans Hornets jerseys now. Next will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #2. Again, Done Deal. The question, however, is which team will take him? Can the Cavs move up? Do they want to?

Draft day deals, to my memory, are not as prevalent in the NBA as they are in the NFL. Of course, the NFL Draft marathon of 7 rounds over a 4 day period leads many teams to jockey for position and concern themselves with "value picks" and "diamonds in the rough."  In the NBA, however, there is less pomp and circumstance, and only 2 rounds. You just don't see a lot of movement like you do in the NFL.  But it could happen.

With the #2 pick, Charlotte, much like Washington in the NFL, is ripe for trade offers.  They need a ton of players and  you could argue that the Cavaliers (again, like the Browns in the NFL) have the most to offer for that #2.
We could give up the #4, #33, and #34 and I wouldn't bat an eye.  To get MKG? Are you kidding?  They can also package in players.  If they look to someone like Fab Melo or Jared Sullinger in the 2nd round, they could through Anderson Varegao (sniff whimper sniff) into the mix.  It's possible to get a deal done.  It could happen.

So as fans, the parallels are truly staggering to me.  It's like deja vu all over again and I can say from experience I'm pretty happy with how the Browns ended up once the NFL draft was over.  Let's hope we are all as happy with the Cavaliers once the NBA draft is completed.  As Cleveland Sports Fans, the hope and excitement for next year would be amazing if we had TWO teams in this town with players that they whole world would be watching. What's not to like?

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Cleveland Cavaliers - WrapUp

After six years of enjoying playoff basketball here in Cleveland with the Cavaliers, the past couple seasons have been, to say the least, rough. However. I do think some positive things came out of this season and Cavs fans should be very optimistic that we are close to not only making the playoffs, but being a dominant force in the league again. At least that's the way I feel about the Cavs - maybe after reading my reasons, you'll understand and be hopeful too!

2010-11 was an incredibly painful year of basketball for this city. After all the fun and success the Cavs had, life without whats-his-name proved to be even worse than we anticipated. 19-63. Wow. Whoda thunk it? And 26 games in a row? Yikes! Everyone I talked to was complaining and moaning about how bad the Cavs were and even the hope of at op lottery pick didn't lift their spirits. We took each loss personally and blamed he-who-shall-not-be-named for our pain.

Which brings us to the 2011 NBA Draft - the beginning of a new era in Basketball for Cleveland. We staked our future on Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and 2nd year Head Coach Byron Scott. And even though we finished the strike-shortened season a lowly 21-45, I think we're on the right path!

I learned 3 things this season that leave me feeling positive about the future. First, Byron Scott is rocking the job of Head Coach. He's got a talent for developing young players, specifically Point Guards, and that is evident in the way Kyrie Irving matured during the season. While even I complained about the limits he put on playing time for some of the guys, I'm willing to wait for the payoff. He commands the respect of his players and it is clear that he is the leader in the "huddle" during time-outs, etc. It's nice to see a coach that is in charge for a change. (No offense, Mike Brown.)

Second, I learned that Kyrie Irving is the Real Deal. This kid is special and everyone who watched him play last year could see it. He was NBA Rookie of the Month not once, not twice, (ha) but FOUR TIMES! He's the front-runner for Rookie of the Year. And, most importantly, he's a TEAM player. He has shown so much growth and a maturity on the court that I wasn't expecting. He's made a believer out of me - and many other Cavs fans.

Now, Tristan Thompson. Hm. That's a different situation. I knew he was a "project" when they drafted him. Byron Scott had his work cut out for him, getting TT up-to-snuff for the NBA game. Being the Big Bad Defender on the Block is great in college, but in the Big Leagues, you have to have an offensive presence as well. Even if it's at the foul line, you have to contribute to the scoring - and 55% ain't gonna cut it. Yes, he was improving in March and April and finished the year over 60% from the line, but we need more from him. I think the Cavs underestimated the amount of time it would take for his development. I think he'll be fine, but I also think it's going to be a couple more years before we are excited to have him on the team.

Finally, I learned that Anderson Varejao is going to be VERY HARD TO REPLACE. The popular opinion in town has always been that we need to trade Andy while his value is high. Well, regardless of his wrist injury, the one stat that grabs my attention is the fact that the Cavs closed out the season a dismal 11-30 without Andy on the court. It's obviously not his scoring ability that they missed - it was his energy. No one else stepped up and motivated these guys when he was out. I understand trade value, but frankly you can't replace everything else he brings to the party and (girlie crush aside) I would hate to see him go. Hopefully I'll never have to find out - at least not for a few more year. :)

So. Final stat of the year.... 21-45. I can theorize that in a full season, they were on pace to be 27-55. While that is still really bad, it's an improvement over last year (I know, little consolation there). And yet I never really looked at the wins/losses or worried about them this year. And most people I talked to had no clue what their record was. We were just talking about "Did you see Kyrie last night" and "man, what a great 4th quarter comeback." We understood the rebuilding process and bought into it - hook, line, and jump shot. And that's good enough for me!

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just the facts, ma'am: Cleveland Browns 2012 NFL Draft

Twitter Accounts for some of the Draftees

The 2012 NFL Draft is over, done, in the books.  Sigh.  Now after months of discussing who the Cleveland Browns should / would take, we are left to try our hands as talent evaluators and judge what they did.  I love a good debate as much as the next girl, but frankly, none of my questions are going to be answered until the team hits the field in August.

I'm sure you watched Round 1, but I'm also sure most of you passed on rounds 2-7. I will admit I slept for most of this afternoon, so researching their late round choices was something I needed to do anyway.  Below is just an overview of each player selected, some basic bio information and some college stats.  I shall endeavor to refrain from adding my personal thoughts (for now) on whether or not I liked the pick. I'm just putting them all in here to make it easier for people who want to see the list in one easy place.

Oh, and at the end I also added a few guys who didn't get drafted by the Browns.... some guys that either have local connections or that I just liked as college players and wondered where they landed.  Enjoy.

Round 1 Pick #3 (Trade UP with Minnesota Vikings)
RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
5'11" 224 lbs Birthday: July 10, 1991
Rushing stats:
2009 - 751 yards 8 TD rush 0 TD receiving
2010 - 700 yards 6 TD rush 3 TD receiving
2011 - 1679 yards 21 TD rush 4 TD receiving

Round 1 Pick #22 (Acquired in trade with Atlanta in 2011)
QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
6'4" 220 lbs Birthday: October 14, 1983
2009 - 15/24 for 248 yd 4 TD 1 INT - QB Rate 196
2010 - 342/511 for 4277 yd 34 TD 13 INT - QB Rate 154
2011 - 408/564 for 4727 yd 37 TD 13 INT - QB Rate 159

Round 2 Pick #37
OT Mitchell Schwartz, California
6'6" 318 lbs Birthday: June 8, 1989
Started all 51 games possible during his Cal career from 2008-11 to fall one start short of Syd'Quan Thompson's school record of 52, making the starts at either left tackle (35) or right tackle (16) ... earned first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Academic in his senior season ...

Round 3 Pick #87
DT John Hughes, Cincinnati 6'2" 309 lbs Birthday: April 27, 1988
Closed out the season with 51 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, a pair of quarterback hurries and a blocked kick ... played some of his best football during UC's championship and Liberty Bowl run, tallying 27 tackles and four sacks over the last five games of the season ...

Round 4 Pick #100
WR Travis Benjamin, Miami(FL)
5'10" 170 lbs Birthday: Shhhh It's a secret!
2008 - 293 yrds 3 TD
2009 - 501 yrds 4 TD
2010 - 743 yrds 3 TD
2011 - 609 yrds 3 TD Led team in Kick Return Yardage at 496 yrds

Round 4 Pick #120
LB James-Michael Johnson, Nevada
6'2" 240 lbs Birthday: August 20, 1989
2011: Honors candidate who should contend for Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Western Athletic Conference ... Has been named to the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award (nation's top defensive player) and the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) ... Has been named preseason All-WAC by a number of publications.

Round 5 Pick #160
OG Ryan Miller, Colorado
6'8" 295 lbs Birthday: July 6, 1989
He set the school record for the most career games started with 47 (48 including the 2007 Independence Bowl), breaking the old marks of 45 overall (ILB Jordon Dizon) and 44 by an offensive player (held by two players); he started the last 37 games of his career. He became just the ninth player out of almost 2,000 lettermen to earn five letters in a CU uniform, as he missed the last eight games of the 2008 season with a broken fibula, but still played in four contests and more than enough plays to letter

Round 6 Pick #204
LB Emmanuel Chinedum Acho, Texas 6'2" 245 lbs Birthday: November 10, 1990
Ended his career having played in 48 games, including 26 starts ... graduated in December, 2011 with a degree in sports management ... posted 278 tackles (159 solo), 41 TFL, eight sacks, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two INTs, 13 PBU and 26 pressures for his career ...

Round 6 Pick #205
DE Billy Winn, Boise State
6'4" 294 lbs Birthday: unknown
Round 7 Pick #245
CB Trevin Wade, Arizona
5'11" 192 lbs Birthday: August 1, 1989

Round 7 Pick #247
TE/FB Brad Smelley, Alabama
6'3" 229 lbs Birthday: unknown

And in other news.....
CB Chase Minnefield, Virginia, @ChaseMinnefield Son of Cleveland Brown Great Frank Minnefield, went undrafted but was signed afterwards by the Washington Redskins. Sigh

OT Mike Adams, THE Ohio State University - drafted by Pittsburgh Steelers Round 2, Pick #56. Another Sigh.

WR DeVier Posey, THE Ohio State University - drafted by Houston Texans Round 3, Pick #68.

RB Daniel "Boom" Herron, THE Ohio State University - drafted by Cincinnati Bengals Round 6, Pick #191.

WR Lavon Brazill, Ohio U - drafted by Indianapolis Colts Round 6, Pick #206.

WR Jordan White, Western Michigan @_JordanWhite - drafted by New York Jets Round 7, Pick #244
(He's from North Ridgeville, OH, and since I watched him play in High School, he gets to close out my list of "other guys.")

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Friday, April 27, 2012

An Open Letter to Colt McCoy

Dear Colt,

As I'm writing this today, I don't know what the future will bring for you. It's nearly impossible to tell what is in the mind of the Cleveland Browns front office personnel, so I don't know if you'll be given a shot to be our QB next year or if you will be traded to another team. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with the Class you've displayed during a difficult situation.

The Browns have had one of the worst offenses in the NFL over the past couple years. At time, it was difficult - even painful - to watch as a fan. I can only imagine how it was for those players actually on the field. The changes in schemes, head coach, strike-shortened off-season, etc., led up to a miserable 2011 season for all of us. There was a ton of talk about bringing RG3 to Cleveland, of a trade gone bad where we "lost" him to Washington, of concern over our QB situation. And yet you remained silent. You allowed matters that were out of your control to stay that way, to refuse comment, to "lay low." And really, there was nothing good you could say during that time to make things better. When Shurmur announce that you were our QB "for now," I was worried about your morale, but figured that you would just use it as motivation to get better this off-season.

I've always believed in your abilities. I remember the New Orleans and New England games of 2010, the pride I felt when we beat teams we shouldn't have been able to beat. The pride of being a Browns Fan. While I understand the people who don't have faith in you, I always felt it was difficult to truly evaluate your NFL skills without some weapons, some play-makers. The Hillis illness, injury, and over-all mismanagement by Shurmur, didn't help at all. For me, the jury is still out on whether or not you can lead my Browns to the playoffs.

Through it all, I kept my hope alive. I kept thinking that somehow, some way, the team would use Free Agency and the Draft to improve and that I would be able to enjoy football again. Well, as you know, free agency didn't bring the blockbuster deal I was hoping for. The draft started off to be very promising with the Browns going after Trent Richardson and telling the fans - as well as the rest of the league - that we were willing to go after a player who would make a difference for the next 5-8 years. The Browns would once again have a running game that would force our division rivals to take notice and set their defenses on their ears. TRich immediately makes our offense better, makes you a better and more effective quarterback. Hooray!

But none of that seems to matter now. With the pick of Brandon Weeden at #22, the Browns have clearly stated that they don't believe in you. I hoped that you would get the chance to compete with him in the off-season for the starting job, but I just don't have a good feeling that will happen.

So, whether you are traded or not, I hope that you light it up on the field this year. I hope you get the chance to really show what skills you possess on the field. And I want to thank you for the class you've shown during this past year. You've been a role model for other players. Sometimes, it's better to say nothing at all than to say things that will get you in trouble, both with the team and the fans. I wish you nothing but success in the future and hope that this doesn't prove to be yet another decision the Browns end up regretting.

Respectfully Submitted, Cleveland Kate

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cleveland Gladiators: Arena Football Season is here!

If you are like me, all this talk about the NFL draft and what is going to happen in the off-season isn't enough to quell my "Football Jones." That's where the Arena Football League comes in! It's really a great game to watch and the Cleveland Gladiators are getting ready to start a new season of action-packed fun!

One of the cool things I get to do as the host of "Cleveland K8 Talks Sports" on www.csfradio.com is cover the Gladiators. I'll be at all the home games and watching the away ones from the comfort of my very own "wo-MAN Cave." Yeah, I got one of those. I'll post pics sometime. (Preview: Anderson Varejao fat head on the wall!)

So, every Saturday morning from 10am to Noon, I'll recap the prior weeks game and look forward to the next. They have a new blog section where all of the show hosts are writing great stuff, and I'll be posting player profiles, game recaps, etc., throughout the Gladiators Season.

The first one is available now at . Check it out, and remember to check back each week for new stories. I'm sure that if you aren't already a Gladiators fan, you will be soon!

Respectfully Submitted,


Monday, February 27, 2012

It's "Trade Down" Time for the Browns...

Yeah. You heard me. It's "Trade Down" time. Since the end of the NFL season, and honestly all the way back to September, I've been hearing about Robert Griffin III and how the Cleveland Browns need to get him in the draft. He's the Quarterback of the Future. He's the man to turn this franchise around. And as much as I like Colt McCoy, I don't know how you pass up on someone as talented as RG3 when it's your turn to pick at #4. That would be crazy.

Enter the "Crazy Factor." All the talk now is about Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins. And how crazy he is. The St Louis Rams
are reportedly asking for the sun, moon, stars, AND your first born son to trade up to the #2 spot if you want to guarantee getting RG3. As much as I like RG3's potential, I'm not sure the Browns can give up that much to get him. Or that they could outbid the Redskins and Crazy Dan. So it's time for a new strategy.

We can apply basic business principles to this situation. I understand St Louis trying to get as much as they can for the #2 pick. However, they have to be careful they don't price themselves out of the market or they may be stuck keeping the pick. If they ask for too much, people (Washington) may go find a cheaper option elsewhere. That's when "Trading Down" time starts. And the Browns are in the perfect position to trade THEIR pick to Washington. Yeah, you heard me. I'm now willing to trade down.

I was firmly against trading down until today. I felt that whomever the Browns got at #4 would be a great asset to the team so why trade down? But every day brings new information and the ability for someone with a brain (like me) to rethink their stand. And I've rethought mine.

If we agree that Washington will do ANYTHING to get RG3 and that there isn't anything the Browns can do to get him, then it makes perfect sense to make a trade with Washington. We give them our #4 pick and get their #6 and #39 picks. It's a cheaper price than the one allegedly being demanded by St Louis, Washington still gets RG3, and we get another draft pick. Yes, we drop from #4 to #6 but it's not that dramatic a drop; basically, we get another 2nd round pick for moving down two notches.

No, we don't get RG3. But again, it looks like Washington is going to get him either way. Plus we screw up St Louis's draft. The Rams have a ton of holes to fill and are banking on getting two, three or more picks in exchange for just one. I won't go into the Browns QB situation without RG3 because this argument is solely based on the fact that there's no way we can get him. So it doesn't matter what we do with the #4 pick if he's not an option.

Sometimes you have to look at the reality of your situation and figure out "What's in it for me?" And this is the perfect time for the Browns to make a move. We've seen Heckert trade down in the past, with success, so I think it's possible. As fans, we just have to brace ourselves for the reality of this situation, find the positives, and embrace the future.

And maybe someday we fans will figure out "What's in it for US?"

Respectfully Submitted,


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Daughter's Rememberance: Caleb S. Neth

Today, February 9th 2012, my father's cremains were inurned with those of my mother at their church memorial garden in Norwalk, OH. This is the eulogy that I gave at his memorial service this morning.


We're here today to remember the life of Caleb Neth, my father. He was born in Pennsylvania on January 31st, 1934. He was the 3rd of six children, and has an identical twin brother named Phillip. There were 4 boys and 2 girls in the family and they were all very hard workers. Because they had to be. My grandfather was an alcoholic who couldn't take care of his family. Dad would tell us stories about living on someone else's farm where he and his brothers would milk cows and do chores around the farm in exchange for a place to live. Comedians today make jokes about these kinds of stories like walking to school in the snow with no shoes up hill (both ways) but when dad told them they were sadly true. He grew up during the depression and learned the value of hard work. This is something he taught to my brother, sister, and myself.

He graduated from Rostraver High School in 1952. He used his skill as a carpenter to work for the Admiral Home Company until he got his draft notice and entered the Army Reserves in 1956. He met and married Eleanor Crusan during this time. While mom stayed in Belle Vernon, PA, and helped look after my grandmother, dad became a member of the 101st Airborne. This was partly because of his love of airplanes, but mostly because if he completed 30 jumps each month he got an extra $50 in his pay that he could send home to her.

When he got out of the Army, he went to the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics to get his certification as an Airplane & Powerplant Mechanic and then went to work for United Air Lines. His first position with United was in San Francisco, CA, in 1963. He bought a brand new Corvair for around $2,500 and he and mom drove across country to start a new chapter in their lives. I still have that Corvair, and the original sales receipt. Someday I am hoping to get it back running and on the road but I think my husband Joe will end up doing most of that work.

Desmond Tutu once said "You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." I've also heard people say "You choose your friends but not your family." Mom and Dad chose wonderful people to be their friends over the years, and also managed to choose some of their own family. My brother, sister, and I are all adopted. We were chosen. That is what they always told us and I believed it. I told people all of the time that I was adopted because it was no big deal to me. Once, in 2nd grade, another kid at school was teasing me because he said "my real parents didn't want me." I can still remember telling him that "his parents were stuck with him and that mine got to go to a big room full of babies and pick out the one they wanted and they Chose Me." That was how special they made me feel.

As dad's career with United progressed, we moved around a lot. Whenever there was a layoff, dad would "Bid" into another airport and if there was an opening, we would move. We left San Francisco and went to Salt Lake City, then Los Angeles, then Cleveland in 1975. We stayed here the longest but in 1988 dad moved one more time to Virginia to work at Dulles International Airport. It was there that he earned a Mechanic of the Year award in 1989 and then retired in 1993. Upon retirement, they came back to Ohio and settled in Collins to be closer to my family since we lived in Wakeman and I had the only grand kids at that time.

Dad was very proud of his work on airplanes loved them all of his life. We had toy planes and did science fair projects on them. We would go to the airshow in Cleveland every year over Labor Day Weekend to see the Blue Angels and sell pineapples that had just been flown in from Hawaii. When family members would come to visit we would take them to the United hangar at the airport and look at the planes, climb in and check out the cockpit, fun stuff like that.

One of the things my favorite things is Football. I'm a rabid Cleveland Browns fan and I blame dad for that. We rooted for the 49ers when we lived in San Fran, and the Miami Dolphins in the late 70's when my mom's cousin Doug played for them. When I was a teenager, I thought following football would help me get closer to my dad and since we lived near Cleveland, I started following the Browns. Little did I know, he was really a Pittsburgh Steelers fan at heart. Over the years, we spent many Sundays watching football - me wearing brown and orange and dad wearing black and gold. Over the past few days, many people have said to me "I'm sorry for your loss." Sometimes, it would make me smile just a little bit - because that is what dad would say to me every time the Steelers beat up my Browns. He would pat me on the back, smile, and say "I'm sorry for your loss."

In 2007, after 51 years of marriage, mom died of cancer. And some part of my dad went with her. It's always hard as a child to view your parents
as real people who were once kids too, who grew up and fell in love, who had a life that didn't revolve around raising you. But my dad loved my mom more than I ever realized and he was just lost without her. He carried two pictures of mom in his shirt pocket every day, one was her senior picture from high school and one was taken just a few years ago. When we would go to the grocery store, or the pet store, or anywhere, he would show her picture to people and "This beautiful lady is waiting for me in heaven."

It wasn't long after mom died that I realized dad was in the early stages of Alzheimer's. The biggest issue he had was short term memory loss, which made it seem to him like mom died last week, not last year, or 4 years ago. His pain was always that close by. As the Alzheimer's got worse, he was unable to live on his own. I am blessed that I have a supportive family and when I moved him in with us last March they didn't put up much of a fight. I wasn't always easy have someone as strong-willed and stubborn as I am living in my house, but I'm glad that I was able to have him with us.

There have been good times these last few years. He's gotten to spend time with my niece Holly, who was under a year old when her Grammie Eleanor died. And last year he got his first great grandchild - Gabriel. Whenever Gabe was really fussy, you just had to take him to PapPap who would smile and make silly noises and get Gabe to smile too. He loved all of his grandchildren very much. I'm extra lucky in that my daughters got to spend the most time with him. When they were younger, they would call him on the phone and ask if they could come over and he always said yes. He would take them on rides in a wagon pulled by his tractor, or on a moped, or even crawling around on his back like he was a horse.

This past Saturday, I guess mom got tired of waiting and decided it was time for dad to join her. Which is really all he has wanted since the day she died. I truly believe that he is with her now, happy and at peace, in heaven. On behalf of my sister Tricia, my brother Rob, myself, and our families, thank you all for coming here today to remember Caleb Neth. You were his friends, members of the family he'd chosen, and we truly appreciate your being here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012 NFL Hall of Fame Class

Edit: Added at the end are the six enshrinees chosen from the final ballots.

Voting to decide on the Enshrinees for the 2012 NFL Hall of Fame Class concludes today. After struggling for a couple hours this morning to find out exactly who was on the final ballot, I realized there wasn't one good place to find out about the process and the nominees... so here you go.

Once a player or coach has been retired from the NFL for five years, they are HOF eligible. A "contributor" - owner, commissioner, TV Executive - can be nominated at any time.

The Board of Selectors has 44 members. It is made up of one representative for each of the 32 NFL teams, plus 1 from the Pro Football Writers Association, and 11 at-large delegates. The PFWA delegate serves a two-year term, while everyone else serves an open-ended term. Allegedly, these other delegates only lose their vote through resignation or retirement. I find this odd since the Cleveland Browns rep was removed from his job as beat reporter and someone else was given his vote this year. I'm not sure being moved from Browns beat reporter to NFL reporter qualifies as retirement, but nobody asked me.

Senior Committee:
Nine members of the Board of Selectors comprise the Senior Committee. It is their job to recommend two players from the "old days" to make sure that players who made this game what it is today but didn't appear on our TV screens every week are considered for enshrinement. I wish there were more.

The Board of Selectors are polled by mail, three times during the year (March, September, October) in order to whittle down the list of eligible persons to 25. Then they vote in November to shorten the list to 15 + 2 seniors. Finally, they vote the day before the Super Bowl for the final enshrinees list. There will be a minimum of 4, maximum of 7, enshirnees selected. The final number is based on each person receiving 80% or more of the votes. If less than 4 get 80%, they take top 4 vote getters. If more than 7 receive 80% of the votes, they take top 7. Simple, huh?

2012 Semi-finalists:
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cris Carter, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001
Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Curtis Martin, RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos
Bill Parcells, Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Willie Roaf, T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
Donnie Shell, S – 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
Steve Tasker, ST/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills
Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Ron Wolf, Contributor – 1963-1974, 1978-1990 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1975-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1990 New York Jets, 1991 -2001 Green Bay Packers
George Young, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

2012 Final Ballot of 15 + 2 Senior:
Jerome Bettis – Running Back
Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
Jack Butler* – Cornerback
Cris Carter – Wide Receiver
Dermontti Dawson – Center
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Chris Doleman – Defensive End/Linebacker
Kevin Greene – Linebacker/Defensive End
Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker
Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle
Curtis Martin – Running Back
Bill Parcells – Coach
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver
Willie Roaf – Tackle
Will Shields – Guard
Dick Stanfel* – Guard
Aeneas Williams – Cornerback/Safety

We won't know for a little while yet which of these worthy men will make it into the HOF this year, but I'll update this blog when announcements are made. If it were up to me, and since this is my blog I think it is (ha), I would vote for:
Chris Carter
Bill Parcells
Andre Reed
Dick Stanfel
Edward DeBartolo Jr

EDIT: Six enshrinees announced on Saturday, February 4th...
Curtis Martin, Cortez Kennedy, Chris Doleman, Willie Roaf, Dermontti Dawson, and senior Jack Butler.

Respectfully Submitted,


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's time for a BCS Playoff System

Well, I don't know about you, but the excitement of last nights BCS National Championship Game kept me on the edge of my seat and chewing my fingernails. Not. It was all I could do to stay awake. Don't get me wrong - I love a good defensive football game almost as much as I love an offensive shoot-out. However, as the game progressed, all I could envision was the great debates that would start today regarding who really is the #1 team in College football and how to fix the system in order to answer that question.

For me, it's easy: Playoffs. When this is mentioned to the NCAA, the BCS Bowl Committee, or various other's in "the know" they quickly point out all of the reasons why there can't be a playoff. But I call "Shenanigans!" I spent three hours this afternoon checking out this years bowl game schedule, the top 25 college rankings as of Week 15, and the champions for each conference and I worked out a very simple playoff bracket making use of the existing bowl game schedule. And if I do say so myself, I'm freaking brilliant. (Yeah, you're smiling)

I based my system on a 16 team playoff: 12 conference champions and four at-large teams. To pick the at-large teams, I simply looked at the top 25 and chose the four highest ranked teams that were NOT their conference champion. I also set up the brackets so that the at-large teams are on the same side as their conference champion because, frankly, I never want to see two teams from the same conference in the National Championship Game ever again. Ever. I mean it. Done.

The only real drawback is that the current system has 35 games which means 70 different teams. In using the existing bowl schedule, and a 16 team playoff, I had to eliminate a few teams and cut back to just 56. But really, isn't 56 teams playing in the bowl games good enough? Is team #57 going to call me and threaten to beat me up? I don't think so.

So: Here's my playoff bowl list. Let me know what you think!

First Round - left

12/17 R&L Carriers Bowl
WAC Champ Louisiana Tech

12/17 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
ACC Champ Clemson
Independents BYU

Winners 12/27 Little Caesars Bowl (winner to Semi-Final)

12/21 SD County Credit Union
Mountain West Boise State
At-Large #1 Alabama

12/20 Beef O'Brady's Bowl
Conference USA Southern Miss
At-Large #3 Arkansas

Winners 12/28 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (winner to Semi-Final)

Semi-Final 01/02 Gator Bowl
(winner plays for National Championship)

First Round - right

12/17 Glidan New Mexico Bowl
Big 12 Champ Oklahoma State
Sun Bel Champ Arksansas State

12/22 Maaco Bowl
Pac-12 Champ Oregon
MAC Champ Northern Illinois

Winners 12/27 Belk Bowl(winner to Semi-Final)

12/24 Sheraton Bowl
Big 10 Champ Wisconsin
At-Large #2 Stanford

12/26 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Big East Champ West Virginia
At-Large #4 Kansas State

Winners 12/28 Military Bowl (winner to Semi-Final)

Semi-Final 01/02 Rose Bowl
(and the chance for it to still be Pac12 vs B1G!)

01/09 Allstate BCS National Championship Game

Maybe we take the Gator/Rose options and alternate years with Fiesta/Sugar or something. I'm flexible. My point is simply this.... If I could figure this out in one afternoon, what the heck is stopping the BCS folks from doing the same thing?

Respecfully Submitted,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Help Wanted - Sheriff

"...there's a new sheriff in town. And his name is Reggie Hammond. So y'all be cool. Right on." - Eddie Murphy, 48 hrs

That is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies. With all the swagger he can muster, a young Eddie Murphy strolls through a red-neck cowboy bar looking for information. He uses the strength of his personality to take control of the situation and get the information he needs - plus he gets out alive! It's also what Cleveland sports fans are looking for: a new sheriff.

In all of the great old Westerns, there's a town in trouble, a Sheriff, and a group of bad guys/outlaws looking to oppress the people of the town in some fashion. And the Sheriff is the hero of the film, saving the townspeople from the outlaws and wearing a white hat and getting to kiss the prettiest girl in town. Sometimes the Sheriff has been in office for a while and knows it's his job to save the day. But my very most favorites were the ones where just a simple cowboy, going about his business, was forced into a situation where he suddenly became the Sheriff. Where he was thrust into the position of saving the whole town. And he does!

We've had Sheriff's in the past here in Cleveland. Men who stepped up and, with their personalities and athletic talents, took control of this city. They are still (mostly) regarded with awe and respect even though their careers are over. You know some of the names... Jim Brown. Bernie Kosar. Sandy Alomar. LeBron James. (Yes, I said LeBron. Before the fateful decision, he was a Sheriff in this town. The fact that he joined the other side and became an "outlaw" doesn't change what he was to this town and Cavalier fans.) Browns, Indians, Cavaliers. We've had Sheriff's come from each team during different periods of time and in different ways.

The question now is: Who will be our next Sheriff? Which team will supply us townsfolks with the hero to save the day and bring our sports pride back?

It doesn't have to be a player. For a while, I thought perhaps Mike Holmgren could take on that job. He came to town and filled Browns fans with the hope & faith that he could build a winning team here, that he could put together the Super Bowl Champion that we've all been dreaming about. This season not only left us with a dismal 4-12 record, it also left Browns fans with little faith and less hope. We didn't see the progress that we expected which makes the losing record that much harder to handle. And it makes it very difficult to believe that the Browns are on the path to success.

If you ask me (and since this is my blog let's assume that you did), the Cavaliers show the most promise of providing fans with the Sheriff that will give us hope, make us feel safe, give us something to look forward to in trying economic times. Byron Scott, as head coach, is ruling with an iron fist. He is in complete control of the Cavs and is showing that he has what it takes to develop this group of young players into a really great basketball team.

And then there's Kyrie Irving. In his first five games as a professional basketball player, this young man has already exhibited signs of leadership many veterans don't possess. Admittedly, he has a long way to go towards becoming a great ball player, but with the little bit I have seen so far, he has promise and poise. He has the opportunity to take control of this city and it's fans. He has the chance to be the Sheriff of this town, to save us all from the oppression of bad sports teams, and to get the girl. Or the ring. However you want to look at it.

Respectfully Submitted,