Thoughts from a Sunday afternoon

Good Afternoon Sports Fans!

The Browns have a bye week this Sunday but the team is still making local and national headlines. It was reported earlier this week that Browns fans are going to peacefully protest on the November 16th Monday Night Football Game by….showing up late for the opening kickoff. Fans are planning on arriving late so that empty seats will be shown on national television during the opening kickoff of the Monday Night Football broadcast.

Whether or not this was supposed to make national news has still not been determined but it has caught the attention of local networks. During the NFL on Fox pregame show this morning, Mad TV and comedian Frank Caliendo joked that Browns fans would be missing “the only part of the game in which they are not losing” by skipping the opening kickoff. The kickoff boycott has also been discussed nationally on other outlets and has reached a larger audience then those living in Northeast Ohio.

Browns fans have every right to protest in this manner and they are not the first to utilize a peaceful protest. Years ago, angry and frustrated Baltimore Orioles fans walked out at 5:08 pm (five is the retired number for Brooks Robinson and eight is the retired number for Cal Ripken) for a game that had a 4 pm start as a way to protest poor management of the team. The Orioles still have struggled, however, the move caught similar national attention as the protest was mentioned and shown on ESPN’s Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight.

The Browns management should be embarrassed by this situation and the fact they have not really addressed the fans organizing the protest. Not responding leaves fans the impression that management does not care or does not feel the situation is important. In front of a Monday Night Football audience, empty seats will not be something that will easily be ignored.

While on the subject of the NFL, the league today is honoring troops and servicemen and women all over the world fighting to keep our country free and safe. The move is really touching and shows the NFL does care about our nation’s troops. The Fox NFL Pregame Show did their live show from Afghanistan in front of the troops located on that base. Everyone on the set was supportive of the troops and had kind words of encouragement. These people are indeed fighting to keep our country safe and should be supported.

Some of the other channels covering NFL football today have mentioned Pat Tillman’s name and story as well. For those of you unaware of the story, Pat Tillman was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals who gave up his NFL career to serve in the US Army. Tillman, who was in the prime of his career when he left, gave up the opportunity to earn more money in the NFL to serve his country. Tillman was killed by friendly fire but his courage lives on. The Cardinals have honored him in numerous ways and the Pro Football Hall of Fame often has his jersey out on display to remind those walking through of the courage he had to fight for our freedom.

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes and those risking their lives to fight for our country are among the heroes in my life. I couldn’t help but tear up at some of the kind words the Fox analysts were saying about the troops and their words of encouragement. Even the WalMart commercial that showed snow falling at the army base in Afghanistan was touching and reminded me of Manheim Steamroller’s “Silent Night: A Soldier’s Tribute.” For those of you who are unaware of the song, it is an instrumental piece that has a poem in which Santa visits a soldier fighting for our country on Christmas Eve. It is a touching piece and is worth a listen this holiday season.

Moving from the NFL to the high school gridiron, it was announced today that Solon and Mayfield will play each other next week at Parma’s Byers Field. Second and third round games in the Ohio High School Football Playoffs are played at a neutral site and Byers Field is an interesting place to watch a playoff game. The field is a little bit older, gets lots of use during the year and has hosted some classic contests in year’s past.

Even though Byers can hold many fans, the stadium does have odd parts to its design. For those involved in television production, taping a game there can be a nightmare because the lightpoles are directly in front of the stands (no joke). Some have mentioned the locker rooms could use a renovation and the steps in the stands are very steep and bigger then what you would expect. Anyone walking only a couple of rows up to their seat can get in their daily workout routine easily with how steep the steps are designed.

No matter what people think of Byers Field, it will be host to another classic battle between Mayfield and Solon. The Comets have defeated Mayfield numerous times in key situations over the years and the playoffs will be Mayfield’s chance to get even.

That’s it for now. God Bless the Troops.





~ by jeffrsabo on November 8, 2009.

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