While We’re Waiting.. Oh, Ozzie.


While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.


Kanicki dismantles Newsome’s support for Modell- “Ozzie: I was proud to be a member of the NFL Players Association. Art recognized the need for the players to form a membership, and negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement in league history when he was the first and only NFL president. (His fellow owners voted him to this prestigious position.)

Kanicki: Thanks for bringing this up. How did all of Art’s ‘bargaining’ work out for the players from the 50s, 60s, 70s? That pension ever get funded? Did players get any royalties from NFL Films? You played against Mike Webster, ever check his story? Were Modell and your NFLPA out front on the head injury thing? Not sure this is a path you want to travel, Oz.” [Kanicki]


“One niggling thought I can’t escape: as interesting/cool as Bauer’s willingness to throw a variety of pitches and tinker on the mound, might a more streamlined approach help him in the short-term? Throwing strikes remains a challenge for the young righty, both in the minor leagues and majors alike. It isn’t as if his stuff is marginal and he needs the smoke and mirrors to survive. Grab ball, huck over plate, profit. Seems simple enough to me, Trevor. Would junking some of the more finesse offerings allow Bauer to command the strike zone a little better?

Only Bauer knows for sure. A quick stroll down Speculation Lane might perhaps suggest that, during his time as a Diamondback, subtle nudges along this line caused some of the “friction” between Bauer and the decidedly old-school management team in Arizona. One thing I know for sure: it is my sincere hope that Trevor Bauer makes the Tribe out of Spring Training, as Geekin’ Out with his guy is my 2013 goal.” [Fairservice/Getting Blanked]


“The biggest thing the Browns can do to make this transition a success is to just stick to the plan. Much has been made about how Horton’s defense will “mirror” Pittsburgh’s defense (a notion that Horton shot down at his press conference by saying, “I’m not sure what Pittsburgh is. I know what we will be”) but the best way to mirror Pittsburgh is to adopt their philosophy: identify the type of players that fit your system and draft those players, no matter who the coach is.

The Steelers have been successful because Dick LeBeau is a good defensive coordinator, but also because they never deviate from their system. You see the same thing with Baltimore, which has had a solid defense despite going through numerous defensive coordinators because general manager Ozzie Newsome has been the one constant and has always stuck to the plan.

If Horton is successful, there’s a real chance that he will be gone in a year or two to be a head coach somewhere. So, really, the success and growth of the team fall on owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski; they must decide what they want the Browns to be on both sides of the ball and stick to their convictions when it comes to drafting or signing free agents. (And grooming someone on the current staff to eventually replace Horton wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.) That way, it doesn’t matter if they lose a coach along the way; it is the philosophy that is just as important as the coach.” [Moore/Red Right 88]


Grumble grumble- “The Browns claim eight football titles: Four from the old All-American Football Conference, and four pre-Super Bowl NFL titles. But the last one of those was in 1964. Since then, the Browns have nothing but a bottomless well of playoff agony. The Drive. The Fumble. Red Right 88. Minnesota and Buffalo are both 0-4 in Super Bowls, and that is its own kind of pain. But those teams were conference champions. They got to stand on the big stage, even if the lights were too bright. The Browns get one step from the top, then fall all the way back down the stairs.

The last five seasons for the Browns: 4-12, 5-11, 5-11, 4-12, 5-11. At least they’re consistent. In a season where rookie QBs lit up the league, the Browns’ rookie QB, Brandon Weeden, did not. Plus, he turns 30 next year. There are a few positives. Trent Richardson looks like a top-shelf running back. OT Joe Thomas is one of the best in the league. A couple of potential studs are out there on defense. They’re better than Jacksonville. And historically, they’re still better than Detroit. But sometimes the pain of losing is worse than the pain of never getting there.

Then again, if you want to talk about never getting there: The Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings have all won titles in the past 30 years. That lonely Browns championship from 1964 is the last one for any Cleveland team in a major sport. Which is another way of saying, when it comes to sports suffering, the winner is always Cleveland. Chances of a Super Bowl soon: Let’s just not talk about it, OK?” [Tomlinson/Sports on Earth]


“So, I work at the law firm that was founded in part by the two Cleveland attorneys, Josh Cohen and Ellen Kramer, who brought the case against Modell, and was able to dig up the casefile, the most interesting part of which for now being Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Modell et. al’s Motion for Summary Judgment. This document, as well as any, sets forth the pattern by which Modell lied to the people of Cleveland, and, like most summary judgment papers, cites a number of authenticated documentary exhibits, along with pages of sworn deposition testimony. This includes pages from Bill Belichick’s personal notebook, and testimony from the likes of Belichick, Modell and Al Lerner themselves.” [Pattakos/Cleveland Frowns]

  • mgbode

    Browns are worse, but any list that doesn’t include Bills fans as among the most suffering is immediately invalidated. The early-90’s alone keep them on that list until they win one (not only the 4 straight SB losses, but also their lifetime star player having his beloved public persona shattered).

  • Harv 21

    I agree with every word written by both Moore about the Browns and Pete about Modell.

    Re Modell’s move, the forgotten undercurrent to all those events was that Art was determined to leave the team to his son adopted David. He brought idiot, unqualified David into Browns management before they moved. And in the end Art couldn’t pass it down to David, even with the sweetheart deals from the move and new investors. There’s a pathetic and tragic aspect there, a father willing fall on the sword, but in the end both losing his good name and dropping the baton intended for his son.

  • boomhauertjs

    The end of Kanicki’s piece is the best (although it also just proves that most of Ohio is a bunch of frontrunners.)

  • porckchopexpress

    Well this time I am in lock step with Kanicki. That CBA was adopted in 1968, not 1668. For Modell to not have the foresight to include royalties from NFL films was absurd. I mean NFL Films was 4 years old and had a completely undefined role at the time, and wasn’t generating any profits. No matter, Modell HAD to know that 25 years later NFL Films would be a 100 million dollar business, I mean he was supposed to be the “TV Guru” right? I don’t know about you but entry level skill for my Guru is being able to accurately predict random events in the future. I mean there’s not even a word in that CBA about the billion dollars of profit set to come from the video game market that would emerge 30 years later.
    And player safety? Forget about it, Modell might as well have been Hitler, sending those players off with no adequate health care or benefits. With the mountains of evidence in 68 regarding brain trauma is silence on the issue is deafening. Think of all the advanced brain scanning they were doing in ’68, think of the thousands of former players that had been retired for 40 years that provided crucial long term subject research. Didn’t have a time machine Art? Pathetic excuse. I mean when you look at industries like the Steel, Rubber, and Auto industries who went bankrupt funding lucrative pension packages, you might say that Modell made a prudent decision, to not offer benefits to players when the league could not actually afford to pay them. You might say that, but I’m not going to, I’m going to choose any angle that paints the actions of this shortsighted, cold blooded former player murderer (because lets face it, by not knowing about the future side effects of CTE, Modell might as well have shoved a pillow over Mike Webster’s face himself), in a negative light.
    What really sickens me is that Modell negotiated with the players at all. This is just another way he fails to stack up to the great Paul Brown. Did you know that when the original Players Union formed Paul Brown attempted to black ball players who participated? Yeah Brown believed that players should be held in perpetuity by the team, like indentured servants used untill useless and then discarded.
    When we see Modell not giving the players protections, and not living up to Brown’s philosophy that the players deserved no protections we really see what a pathetic mass of Lake Erie foaming sea turds he was.

  • http://www.redright88.com/ Tom_RedRight88

    I agree with your agreeing with me. I was skeptical about the Horton 3-4 switch but you can envision a scenario where it will work.

    I admit I’m a bit of a soft sell on these things as I also thought Butch Davis had the team going in the right direction when the Browns made the playoffs, thought Romeo was going to make it happen, that Rob Ryan was actually a good defensive coordinator and Pat Shurmur would somehow figure things out.

    Turns out, maybe I’m not such a good judge of these things. But this time it’s going to work because Haslam and Banner said so!

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    ah.., i see you porkchop. always enjoy your posts because they usually jog my memory for a point i hadnt thought of before.

    so modell is a union-pioneer friend of the workingman but without clairvoyance and so the CBA negotiation is a reflection of his and the NFL’s altruism toward the players?

    and all this happened in 1968. what else was current in 1968? oh right, the AFL. bidding wars. free-market competition for player services.

    so let me ask the question of you and all: were the players better off with the right to sign with either of two teams holding their rights? or without that right and in a take-it-or-leave position with a govt sanctioned monopoly?

    [take your time.]

    right. thank you.

    and ozzie, take the NFLPA ‘union’ and its history and do some critical thinking. you too will see that modell’s CBA (in the pre-Curt Flood reserve clause era of sports) set the players back.

  • Harv 21

    what caught my eye from your piece was that the defense can’t be Horton-dependent, because he wants to be a HC and probably will be if he’s good here. So the obvious question is: do Haslam/Banner have what it takes to both choose, build and maintain a successful system? This is the opposite of the Randy model of lurching from system to system, from one supposed savior to the next, in desperate attempts to make the fans just leave him alone already.

    They have to be patient and shut out our screams that we’ve already been patient x 14 years. And they better be right, because a foolish consistency doesn’t win either.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The little fact that Kanicki and other Browns fans overlook is that it wasn’t the move that has cost them fans but rather the putrid play and horrible ownership and decisions made by that ownership since basically 1999.

  • mgbode

    the real question is if Modell was a major reason to get that ball rolling. if yes, then he deserves some credit however small that first step had been. not quite sure that was the case though. from what I have read, it was more he was put in position to negotiate it, not the one pushing for it.

    also, i agree with PC that not putting the royalties for NFL Films in that contract made sense as it was not known to be something to consider. however, he also had 30yrs after to champion that cause for the players and chose not to do so.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    losing three years of continuity and starting out with an expansion team accrues to modell no? is there any reason to think the 96 browns wouldn’t have drafted ogden and lewis if they’d stayed?

    i mean, the other side of your coin is: imagine what that map would look like with the 2000 SB win and being in the SB this year?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You can play the woulda coulda shoulda games all day with what may have happened had the team not moved. The first being would Belichick have been fired? Was Ozzie going to be the GM? Etc., etc, etc.

    Everything stems from the move granted but it’s been 13 years and this organization is as bad if not worse then it was way back in 1999. You can’t put all of the hirings/firings from GMs to head coaches to even another ownership change all on Modell. At least I can’t and won’t.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    you say ‘ ..it wasn’t the move that has cost them fans but rather the putrid play..’

    i think the move is/was major factor. both in losing fans and in creating the putrid play.

    agree to disagree.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The move has been the root NOW but you can’t go back to 1996 and tell me that had the team not moved they would have 1.Not fired Belichick; 2.Hired Ozzie as GM; 3.Drafted Ogden and Lewis and those are just the first three that come to mind right off the bat.

    The simple facts are the team moved Cleveland got a new team three years later and for one reason after another it’s been a complete debacle, thirteen years and counting.

    Personally I don’t think many things were handled correctly from the time Cleveland was granted an expansion/rebirth franchise whether it was the sale, the stadium or anything else.