Any longtime listener to this show would know a few things by now.
First is how sorry I am that you've tolerated my abuse over the years, though light-hearted it sometimes may be.
And second is the steadfast belief I maintain that consistency matters. Or to put it another way, anything worth doing is worth maximum effort.
Don't half-ass it.
Thus, the Cleveland Browns are beginning, once again, to tread on some very hallowed ground.
The potential of the imperfectly perfect season is again a very real thing.
The Browns are 0 and 11 coming into this weekend's tussle on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers.
And while it would be easy to focus on the very real story lines surrounding playoff teams, late-season showdowns with potential postseason implications, as well as the drama surrounding a certain quarterback in New York City (we'll get back to that trainwreck in a bit here), it has to be carefully monitored what's happening in the city of Cleveland.
We've been here before, my friends. Not even a year ago, we were close to seeing the beauty of zero. It was there for the taking, it was so close you could almost smell the toxicity of sadness which can only emanate from an empty shell in the win column.
But it was taken from us, in week 16. These same Cleveland Browns were just two games from completing the imperfectly perfect season. We planned for it, yearned for it... we'd made celebratory streamers for crying out loud.
And then the Chargers happened.
Week 16 of the season: 20-17 Cleveland over the (then) San Diego Chargers. You can understand why no one really cared at that point about the team's decision to head a few miles north up the 5 Freeway to a soccer stadium in Los Angeles County.
Thus, you can understand my state of nervousness surrounding this weekend's clash. Not the Chargers. Not again. They can't possibly do this to the Browns twice in less than one calendar year. Could they?
Plans are once again being made for a parade in the streets of Cleveland. Browns fan Chris McNeil has already filed paperwork with city officials to hold a parade around FirstEnergy Stadium on January 6 should the team live up to their true potential and finish what they started.
But this requires some extra motivation... not by the Chargers, mind you, who have delusions in their minds about possibly being in the playoffs despite a rocky 0 and 4 start to the season, aided only by the current wretchedness of the Kansas City Chiefs. But motivation needs to be the key for the Browns.
You see, no one would really be all that surprised to see the Chargers piss away this opportunity. We've come to expect mediocrity from them.
Losing every single game though?
That requires effort. That requires a genuine sense of knowing your place and wanting to be a part of something bigger than just a meaningless round number in the win column.
It requires dedication, a commitment and a perseverance that is unseen in almost every other sport.
So I'm asking you Browns fans, again to not let us down.
The sports world needs you to embrace the zero. Don't look at a winless season as a scourge on the city. Trust me, I've visited that place, there are far worse things in Cleveland. This would only make things, if only for a moment, a bit brighter.
The dream is alive. Again.
Herm Edwards to Arizona State?
An open letter to whatever deity is out there in control of these things.
Please, please, please, let this be a reality.
I don't ask for much. In fact, I'd be willing to sacrifice a few requests that I've had in the past in order for this to actually be a real thing.
Because as much as I don't believe for a moment that Edwards is suddenly going to turn around a Sun Devils program mired in its own little quagmire, I do long for a "Coach" rant worthy of the title.
I present to you, "Finances".... You're welcome.
The Melancholy and Infinite Eli Sadness
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, also known as "Dead Man Walking" in some circles, doubled down yesterday when asked about the team's decision to start Geno Smith this weekend when the Giants face the Oakland Raiders.
"When you're going through a situation like this, this isn't my first time going through it... there's going to be emotions involved. There's going to be outrage and you have to stick to your decision and do what you feel is best for the organization," McAdoo said.
Team owner John Mara didn't come to McAdoo's defense this week, questioning the way the decision and quite possibly the news of the decision was handled.
Other NFL players expressed their outrage as well, including Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who called the move to bench Manning in favor of Geno Smith, in a word, "pathetic".
That's a pretty harsh statement, considering the irony of it all is that Rivers was part of the 2004 draft-day trade between the Chargers and Giants that landed Manning in New York. Both quarterbacks have become icons, with Manning winning two Super Bowls for the Giants while Rivers has maintained a strong fanbase for the organization and is considered by many to be one of the best quarterbacks of this generation.
So yeah, this story isn't going away anytime soon.
What will be going away at some point will be Manning. Where he goes, once all of this is said and done, remains unknown.
Things Overheard Before Drinking Poison (The TOBDP)
"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. I am rejecting your verdict with contempt."