Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Don’t sweat the small stuff, Plain Dealer

The NFL held its annual Pro Bowl this past Sunday, a game that means nothing, really. At most it’s a ceremony to acknowledge the players who had exceptional seasons. At worst it’s a sloppy scrimmage (especially when you consider the four or so days the “teams” have to learn their plays and each other). It might as well be a flag football game.

Given the above, hometown fans and media should respond accordingly. Namely, watch it only if you’ve got absolutely nothing else to do, and place no meaning on anything that transpires.

With that in mind, I was surprised to see the negative reportage in the Cleveland Plain Dealer two days ago.

Browns quarterback Derek Anderson (left) commanded the AFC squad for most of the second half. He had a bad game, but judging by Tony Grossi’s column you’d think this was reason enough to cut him in the off-season.

Read Mary Kay Cabot’s column Browns lack Hawaiian punch, and you might wonder whether the six Browns Pro Bowlers had played poorly enough to embarrass the city.

These two writers need to get a grip. Can’t we just enjoy the fact that six Browns went to the Pro Bowl? Six! Prior to this season Jamir Miller was the only expansion-era Brown to win a trip to Honolulu. That’s one player in nine seasons, people!

While it was disappointing to see the Browns miss the playoffs (though we Browns fans knew it was coming), I was amazed they finished with a 10-6 record. Prior to this year, they’d won 10 or more games only five times since 1978, when the NFL went to a 16-game season. And they’d had just one winning season since rejoining the league in 1999.

One year ago these writers would surely have agreed that just having a winning season would be great. Now, having gotten a small taste of sweet success, Cleveland’s sportswriters are ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Based largely on how guys performed in what should be a game of two-hand touch with a five-alligator rush.

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