Something strange is happening in Cleveland. I don't mean the scandals in seemingly every level (and every office) in government, because sadly that's what passes for normal. Nor am I referring to the weather, though up until yesterday my back yard hadn't seen more than a light coating of snow. No, I'm talking about our beloved Browns, and their (GASP) winning streak. Three blissful weeks in a row; bloodlust of diehards sated... for now.
I won't deny that matchups against the Chiefs and Raiders weren't clashes of titans (in the ancient, not Nashville sense), but as the saying goes, 'a win is a win'. Before falling into an avalanche of cliches (e.g. 'playing good football', 'team effort', 'any given Sunday', yadda yadda yadda), I'll move along.
Where will our hearty Brownie brethren be 12 months from now? Will Mike Holmgren miracle-work the organization into prime-time players? Will the Mang- (-enius or -ina, depending on your view) still be giving emotionless monotone press conferences in Berea? Will any of our eleven, yes eleven, draft picks be immediate impact players a la Adrian Peterson? Will any of this translate into a competitive and dare I say it, playoff contention level season?
Or will it be more of the same - more rebuilding, more controversy, more disappointment? Being a pessimistically inclined optimist (move to Cleveland, you'll get it), I look at the Bengals clinching the Division this year as evidence that crazier things have happened, and if anybody has a shot, why not us? Lawrence Vickers, David Bowens, Matt Roth and Josh Cribbs have bolstered my spirits, and though I'm still not sold on either of our (allegedly) incredibly talented quarterbacks, they seem to have shown improvement over early in the year. Our receiving corps are growing into their own shoes, with Mohamed Massoquoi showing flashes of something between competence and brilliance, and have I mentioned Evan Moore? I mean, who is this guy and how did he become Joe Jurevicious reincarnated... in three weeks? And don't even get me started on Jerome Harrison; it's like when a baby first learns to walk: at first tentative, wobbly steps, then BAM, it's off to the races.
Anyway, before I tangentially wander into boring (or fascinating) minutiae, I'll get to the point. Either way, a year from now we'll all still be heating up leftover turkey sandwiches, recovering from holiday party hangovers and scraping the ice from our windshields in the mornings. The real question is, will we be lit up inside thinking about the possibility of contending, of actually holding a Browns Party with friends and family, of the absolute best thing to get us through the frigid gray of January, WINS? I may be caught up in post-victory euphoria, and granted my undying support for the team probably precludes me from any impartial analysis, but why not?
God willing, I'll be around in 12 months, and God willing, so will our shot at the postseason. As they say, 'on any given Sunday'...