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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,