The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Big Dawgs to Pound


Romeo's team will finally emerge from its Shakespearean tragedy otherwise known as the last quarter of a century - and then some. Your father's Cleveland Browns lived with the torture of watching The Fumble and John Elway's unbearable smile as he crushed the potential stories of glory you could share with the generations to come.Your older brother lived with Pittsburgh. 1994, the 11-5 Browns finally going to ride Leroy Hoard to the promised land, only to have the Steelers give more bad news to the bad news Browns. It's tough to win when Yancey Thigpen is scoring touchdowns on you.

Now your turn, when Art Modell attacks your soul like the dragon from Wink Martindale's Tic Tac Toe, your franchise disappears, returns, endures multiple double-digit losing seasons and suddenly your big time and best known celebrity fan starts playing Plinko to ease the pain.

Nobody cares about your misery, certainly not the Steelers. They've never cared about Cleveland. They actually hate the fact they've lost to their division rivals twice this decade. That's right, the Browns have beaten the Steelers two times going back to the start of the 2000 season. That includes the 2002 Wild Card game when the Browns died in the 4th quarter in Pittsburgh.

But wait, Browns fans, there's a different Act being scripted. Act III, Scene I, Big Dawg will rise again.

The emergence of Derek Anderson behind his Big Dawg Joe Thomas and the speed of Braylon Edwards and newly acquired Donte Stallworth will finally break through their Steel Curtain. Points will be scored, beer will be consumed. If points are not scored, beer will still be consumed.

No tiebreaker will prevent the Browns from pounding their way into the playoffs in '08. Cleveland has emerged as an offensive force. Their schedule is demanding - but the Browns open at home against Dallas, and naturally, the Steelers. The Dawg Pound will be hooting and hollering. Woof Woof Woof. If Cleveland can find a way to protect home field and start 2-0, they may very well find themselves in a unique position of playing from ahead in the standings. Hey, every year is different. The Browns time has come to dethrone the Steelers. There has been no mention of Baltimore and Cincinnati until now, because there is no need to. It's the Browns division this season.

In fact, it may just be the Year of the Dawg. Woof.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  September 2, 2008; 9:34 AM ET  | Category:  Baltimore Ravens , Cincinnati Bengals , Cleveland Browns , Emil Steiner , Fans , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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After watching the Browns in the pre-season I expect them to go 6 and 10 this year. They wont surprise anyone this time around.

Posted by: DW | September 2, 2008 10:56 AM

If Act III Scene I is "Big Dawg will rise again," then Act III Scene II is "Anderson's Lingering concussion starts QB controversy, Brady Quinn emerges, plays terribly, is benched for an ailing Anderson, who stinks it up and forces Quinn back in while Braylon Edwards complains about QB inconsistency and Jamal Lewis misses eight games with a hammy." Act IV is "Romeo must die."

Posted by: CDCarter | September 2, 2008 1:51 PM

The laws of dark horses:
- there is always dark horse
- very few correctly guess the dark horse in advance
- the preseason dark horse candidate never materializes as the dark horse. They always disappointment.

Cleveland, I think, will be the dark horse candidate that disappoints.

Posted by: Not the Browns | September 2, 2008 7:39 PM

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