OBSERVATIONS: Paul Brown Was Pro Football’s ‘Innovator’

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, congratulating the Cincinnati Reds for signing two functional relief pitchers, Emilio Pagan and Nick Martinez. Do they have Trevor Bauer’s phone number?

—THE INNOVATIVE MAN: As a pre-teen in the late 1940s, I tuned into WAKR radio in Akron on Sunday afternoons to listen to Cleveland Browns football. . .the Original Browns in the old All—America Conference, a rival to the NFL.

At other times, I was listening on mom and dad’s upright floor model Philco radio to Walter Winchell, Edward R. Murrow, The Green Hornet, The Shadow, George Burns & Gracie Allen and, yes, Amos & Andy.

The Browns played the Los Angeles Dons, the Miami Seahawks, the Chicago Rockets, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Buffalo Bisons and others.

The league lasted four years and the Browns won all four championships with a 47-4-3 record. The NFL absorbed the Browns, Los Angeles, San Francisco and 
Baltimore in 1950

As an ‘We’ll Teach You a Lesson,’ the NFL scheduled the Browns against the 1949 NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles for their first game. Cleveland had the last giggle. The Browns beat the Eagles, 35-10, and won the NFL title with a 10-2 record.

What I didn’t realize at the time was the monumental influence of Paul Brown. He founded the Browns and the team was named after him. And he founded the Cincinnati Bengals and Paul Brown Stadium was his namesake.

Brown integrated pro football in the All-America Conference with fullback Marion Motley and lineman Bill Willis.

Brown invented the helmet face mask, he was the first to hand out playbooks to the players, the first to send in all the plays with alternating messenger guards, the first to use film to scout opponents, the first to use radio transmitters in his quarterback’s helmet.

Said Jim Brown, the best running back in football history (In my opinion and many others), “When you saw a Paul Brown team, it would be Paul Brown, the creator. There’d be something always new.”

—QUOTE: Comedian Steven Wright also was an innovator: “I invented the cordless extension cord.”

—750 MORE HITS FOR PETE?: Tony Gwynn finished with a career batting average of .338 and Pete Rose, the Hit King, finished with a career average of .303.

For Rose to match Gywnn, he would have to go 750 for 750 to raise his career average to .338.

That’s no knock on Peter Edward Rose, just a pointer on how good Gwynn was. Heck, if Rose added 750 hits that would give him 5,003 for his career. Let’s see somebody match that. . .and nobody is going to match his 4,256.

—QUOTE: From Steven Wright on statistics: “Seven percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.” (Neither Gwynn nor Rose had to make up a single stat and they all are amazing.)

—THE HIT MAN: Kareem Jackson should carry a sign draped around his shoulder pads: “Caution. Contact May Be Hazardous To Your Health.”

The 14-year veteran safety for the Denver Broncos is a devout head-hunter. So far this season he has been suspended twice for six games, ejected in two other games, been callled for four illegal hits and fined $89,670.

He travelled to New York this week to ask NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, “Why is everybody always picking on me?”

—QUOTE: Maybe Kareem Jackson should take Steven Wright’s advice: “When I was in school the teachers told me practice makes perfect. Then they told me nobody’s perfect, so I stopped practicing.”

—QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why are baseball players looking for work called free agents? They certainly don’t sign for free.

—WRIGHT IS RIGHT: Steven Wright says you can’t have everything, even if you are a baseball free agent and sign for $350 million: “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

—OK, PAY UP: For those who want Ohio State football coach Ryan Day fired immediately, be prepared to wipe out your savings and checking account to help the school pay for it.

If Ohio State fired Day today, his parting gift would cost $46.22 million. Yep, that’s what OSU would have to pay him to empty his office.

And in an attempt to grab publicity, the minor league Kalamazoo Growlers minor league baseball team formally offered Day a job as its third base coach.

That’s obviously a takeaway from when Day was named Ohio State coach and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said, “By getting that job, Day was born on third base.”

“We think Ryan was born for the third base position.” said Growlers Owner Brian
Colopy. “We will do whatever it takes to get Ryan to Kalamazoo.”

See? It worked. Colopy got his three minutes of ‘fame.’

—QUOTE: From Steven Wright: “If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricins can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, modells deposed and dry cleaners depressed?” (And can football coaches be passed over?)

—HOME SWEET MANSION: Does Shohei Ohtani really need a $500 million contract?

He reportedly lives in a 21,000-square foot mansion with 18 bathrooms, an outdoor waterfall and parking for 50 vehicles.

My guess is that half those parking spots are occupied by his own vehicles. And 18 bathrooms? Maybe he needs all that money for toilet paper.

—QUOTE: From Steven Wright: “The other night I was lying in bed, looking up at the stars and I wondered, ‘Where the hell is my roof?’” (Maybe Wright can sleep in one of Shohei Ohtani’s 18 bathrooms.)

—QUICK EXITS, STAGE RIGHT: New Michigan State football coach Jonathan Smith has to wonder, “Was it something I said?”

No sooner had he transferred his gear from Oregon State to his new job in East Lansing than he learened that the three top quarterbacks last season announced their intentions to enter the transfer portal.

Within 24 hours, Katin Holser, Noah Kim and Sam Leavitt said they weren’t staying. Kim was the Spartans starter the first half of the season and Holser started the second half. And Leavitt is a highly respected freshman.

Mel Tucker was 2-0 when he was fired for sexual indiscretions and the Spartans went 2-8 the rest of the way.

—CALLING ALL QBs: If Joe Flacco starts for the Cleveland Browns Sunday and beats the Los Angeles Rams, the Browns will have accomplished something unprecedented in NFL history.

He will be the fourth different quarterback to start a game and win in the same season. So far Deshaun Watson, PJ Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson have started and won games.

The Browns are accepting applications for a quarterback to start the week after Sunday.

—QUOTE: From (none other) than Steven Wright: “The candle shop burned down last week. Everybody stood around and sang Happy Birthday.”

And happy birthday to all of you celebrating today.

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