When the Green Bay Packers drafted 6-foot-1, 337 pound defensive tackle B.J. Raji with the 9th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, their GM Ted Thompson said of the selection that, “the good Lord just didn’t make many people like this.” Two seasons later the Packers beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl with Raji anchoring the defense.

Last night in Chicago, the Browns used the 12th overall pick to select 6-foot-2, 340 pound defensive tackle Danny Shelton out of the University of Washington and everyone should be able to set aside disagreements about who or what made people to agree that he, she or it just didn’t make many like Shelton, either.

Case in point:

Shelton is the first person in known history to bear hug and lift the NFL Commissioner off the floor on draft night, setting a salutary tone for the next round of Players’ Association negotiations.

Who's the boss now, Roger?

He was the only player in college football last year who [click to continue…]

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Draft Day Prayer for Browns Fans

by Matt Borcas on April 30, 2015

Makers Mark Commemorative Tim Couch bottles up, everybody, it’s draft day! This year’s draft preview is again brought to you by Mentor’s own Matt Borcas, who writes about the NFL and other subjects of great historical import for ESPN’s Grantland, and who was more excited about Johnny Football last year than maybe only one other person. Enjoy, and hopefully we’ll see you tonight at Map Room.

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It was the best of times. The Browns had finally drafted their franchise savior, the electrifying quarterback out of Texas A&M, the only freshman ever to win the Heisman trophy, and the biggest celebrity in college football history. Everything was about to change. Season-ticket sales spiked. You probably even priced plane tickets to the next few years’ Super Bowl locations, but even if you didn’t, you have to admit: I was Aaron Goldhammer. You were Aaron Goldhammer. We were all Aaron Goldhammer.

OK, maybe Frowns wasn’t Goldhammer, but pretty much everyone else was, and as we all know, everything did change — except of course for the ultimate disappointment in the Browns’ on-field product. Anyway, TMZ headlines like “Johnny Manziel PARTYING WITH BIEBER … Cops Called”? That was new! Drake taking time out of his day to comment on the Browns’ latest massive quarterback controversy? Too bad we never got his take on Couch v. Holcomb or Anderson v. Frye.

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There was the money phone. There was the Vegas bathroom photo. There was the Little People of America demanding an apology from Marvin Lewis. And there was the  [click to continue…]

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To celebrate Earth Day, observed on April 22 every year worldwide, here’s a video posted at the Guardian of a newly built train in Japan that levitates on magnets and is designed to transport commuters at a speed of 500 kilometers (310 miles) per hour.

A similar train in the U.S. would get you from Cleveland to Chicago in about an hour. That would mean Cleveland to Akron in something like 5 minutes, Cleveland to Columbus in about 20, and Cleveland to Cincinnati in about 35 in case anyone ever wanted to go to the Deep South.

Think of how good it would be for the Cavs if it only took LeBron 5 minutes to get from home to work.

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Of course, in theory, there’s no reason we can’t have trains like this in the US. Practically, though, it’s a different story, and one that’s sad and inspiring at the same time.

[click to continue…]

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“Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.”Robertson Davies

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Three years ago it was Richardson and Weeden. Last year it was Gilbert and Manziel. This year the Browns have a pair of first-round picks yet again and whether the third time’s a charm or not we’ll still be back at Map Room next year to sip from that most reliable and refreshing fount of hope and goodwill: NFL draft day in Cleveland.

As for this year, it will be the fifth in a row that a group of your hardiest and most understanding friends gather in Map Room’s basement (1281 West 9th St., just north of Saint Clair in the Warehouse District), on Thursday April 30 for the Fifth Annual Cleveland Frowns NFL Draft Party.

The party will start at 6PM and will [click to continue…]

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There’s no place like home openers in Cleveland

by Cleveland Frowns on April 10, 2015

It’s opening day in Cleveland again, so it’s time for another round of conversations about the Major League Baseball club named the “Indians” and its redfaced logo Chief Wahoo, the only mainstream pro-sports logo in the Western world that caricaturizes a race of people.

On opening day in Cleveland last April, Wahoo and the “Indians” name became the subject of national attention thanks in part to a highly publicized encounter between protesters affiliated with the American Indian Movement (“AIM”), and lifelong Cleveland baseball fan Pedro Rodriguez, who had shown up to Progressive Field in redface and a headdress.

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Posted below is an 11-minute video from last year’s opening day scene, including the entire encounter between Rodriguez and the AIM protesters. If you don’t come away from it with a new appreciation of Cleveland baseball fan’s attachment to Wahoo and the “Indians” name, you might at least end up with [click to continue…]

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The Cleveland Browns are impervious to rebranding

by Cleveland Frowns on March 5, 2015

Last week the Browns made national headlines and put the local news cycle on freeze with a heavily promoted “rebranding” that turned out not to be a rebranding at all. For all the many ways this offseason has somehow again plunged the franchise to new depths of league-laughingstock status, the “rebranding” episode was actually glorious, and a much-needed reminder of how great it can be to be a Browns fan.

To review, the organization undertook what it announced as a two-year design process that resulted mainly in turning its primary logo from an orange football helmet to a slightly redder-orange football helmet.

RebrandedWhile national responses to the redesign ranged mostly from disappointment (“Completely underwhelming,” said the Washington Post’s Matt Bonesteel) to mockery, (“50 shades of orange!,” said pretty much everyone else) many locals were properly relieved.

Given owner Jimmy Haslam’s well-documented drive to squeeze every last penny out of his business ventures, humanity be damned, it was little surprise that he wanted to print up some newly branded merchandise to sell shortly upon taking control of the Browns in 2012. Yet, that anyone still identifies as a Browns fan at all after Art Modell’s theft of the franchise to Baltimore and the ensuing decade and a half of impossible failure on the field is proof enough that the Browns already had the strongest brand in the history of commerce.

That the logo would remain so much in tact after this clash of unstoppable force with immovable object is a testament to how great it can be when something original is allowed to stay that way.

The Browns are the only [click to continue…]

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Cardale Jones and America’s Greatest Storage Unit

January 14, 2015

The rapid rise of the self-storage industry in the U.S. is a mainly dire phenomenon; a function of unchecked consumerism, consumption and inequality. While a growing number of Americans suffer in increasingly worse economic conditions, those on the other side of the divide continue to accumulate more stuff than they know what to do with. What doesn’t […]

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Haslam’s tough talk on Manziel rings hollow

December 29, 2014

After yesterday’s 20-10 loss to the Ravens in which the Browns ensured their seventh consecutive losing season, owner Jimmy Haslam made a rare appearance in front of the TV cameras to send a message to certain of the team’s young players. “I think a player who can’t show up for meetings, can’t make practice, can’t […]

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Johnson Bademosi is a great Cleveland Brown

December 11, 2014

Yesterday, Browns defensive back and top special-teamer Johnson Bademosi published a statement at SI.com on his decision to wear a t-shirt marked with “I can’t breathe,” in protest of what he calls “police killings as a symptom of the systematic and historical devaluing of black lives.” It’s as much

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Things we know and things we don’t know about the Browns

December 8, 2014

The Hoyer/Manziel thing is so tough. Who’s to say how much better Hoyer would be playing without the Johnny Football Industrial Complex looming over his shoulder? Who knows how much pressure Mike Pettine is under from the front office or owner’s box, let alone from the voices in his own head due to the quarterback […]

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