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Column on Browns Firing of Carthon/Bush's Firing of Rumsfeld

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by FantasyAlliance.cm, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. I wrote this a few days after the Nov. 5 elections

    Despite the 300 miles separating Cleveland and Washington, DC, the two cities aren’t so far apart. It’s not just their football teams, the Browns at 2-6 and the Redskins 3-5 as of this writing, but stubborn leaders who are much too loyal to their incompetent friends are leading both cities. President Bush’s Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld kept making bad judgments and not allowing for enough soldiers to take care of the insurgency while in office. Browns coach Romeo Crennel defended Maurice Carthon as offensive coordinator for the first half of the season despite his many blunders.
    Finally, Lerner overrode Crennel and fired him on October 23, and the Bush Administration was pressured to fire Rumsfeld after the Democrats’ victory in the 2006 midterm elections. These two situations were so similar, the names of the players can be replaced, and it would not be possible to tell the difference. In this situation, Lerner is Congress, and Crennel is President Bush (His conversational skills, ranging from “If it works, it’s a good play, if not, it’s a bad play,” to “More donuts, please,” fit the role just right.)
    Crennel starts a war on the battlefield of Cleveland Browns Stadium and orders a draft. He drafts people like Charlie Frye and Braylon Edwards to join a force of volunteer “soldiers” including the “true warrior” himself, General Kellen Winslow, Jr.
    The war isn’t going well, though. The losses pile up. In the first year alone, there were 10 losses. This year, there are already 5. Lerner begins to think that Crennel lied about the reasons for going to war. He doesn’t think the Browns have any weapons of mass destruction on offense due to its last place rank. He is also mad at Crennel’s Secretary of Offense, Maurice Carthon, for not providing the Browns with the necessary personnel to ward off the blitz. He keeps top playmaker Kellen Winslow off the field on third downs too often.
    Lerner says, “We need to change the course. We’re ranked last in offense. Kellen Winslow isn’t on the field enough. We must redeploy him.”
    Crennel counters, “We will not cut and run. We have to stay the course. Things can change in football, but I’m staying with Maurice for now.”
    Lerner defends himself, “We don’t want to cut and run. We just want to run. Last year, Reuben Droughns had 1,232 yards. You’ve only given him 13 carries a game so far.”
    Crennel responds, “We have been running enough. We let rookie fullback Lawrence Vickers run the ball all the time. We even give him the necessities to throw the ball. You just don’t support him, you anti-Clevelander! Support our troops! You must be a Steeler (terrorist)!”
    At this point, the press has been blasting Crennel pretty harshly for the Browns lack of success. After a loss to the Bengals, Kellen Winslow discloses a classified report to beat writer Tony Grossi saying, “Some of the coaches might just be holding us back a little bit. I don't mean to try to go behind their backs or whatever, but let's go. Let's air it out. Let's run the ball. Let's make plays. Let's be exciting. I think we're being a little too conservative right now, and we just need to unleash it.”
    The leak is published in the Plain Dealer, and Crennel furiously orders Winslow to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Then he realizes that Winslow is his best player and that he is also a “true warrior,” so he will help the Browns on the battlefield against good and evil or simply against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He instead settles for a brief meeting where he tells Winslow not to talk to the media anymore and to occupy his time instead by taking up the hobby of motorcycle riding.
    Eventually, the sad state of the Browns becomes too much for Lerner. The losses are pilling up and so are the margins. One of the coaches gets caught up in a sex scandal after email messages sent to the team’s fullback show “unprofessional” comments.
    Lerner feels the War on the Shore is a disaster and the many scandals, most notably Fullbackgate, coupled with excess spending and salary cap debt mean that changes need to be made. He gets rid of Maurice Carthon, and the Browns turn themselves around under the guidance of new coordinator Jeff Davidson who has them finish the season 31st in total offense.
  2. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Re: Column of Browns Firing of Carthon/Bush's Firing of Rumsfeld

    Oy vey.
  3. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Wow. Just ... wow.
  4. Not too good?
  5. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    FA -

    A couple of quick, general thoughts on this, without a line edit. As always, thanks for posting, and remember that anything I write here is in service of the broadest possible lesson for our posters and readers.

    First, and least important, Cleveland and Washington are nearly 400 miles apart. From city center to city center it's about 375. That's a big factual error to make in the first couple of words of an essay. As a reader, I'm now going to question everything else you cite/argue/mention in the piece.

    Facts are no less important in an essay than they are in a reported story. They may, in fact, be more important, because you're trying to persuade me of something. If I can't trust the writer to do a 30-second mileage search on Google maps, why would I value your opinion on the state of the NFL?

    As to your central premise here, I think you tried something that failed.

    While war and football are analagous in some ways, and can be metaphorically compatible in certain cases, they are in no way comparable. Football does not equal war. Ask the Winslow kid how far that comparison takes you. Or better still, ask a GI.

    The problem here is that while the two firings may be parallel in political or corporate terms of cause-and-effect, the reader is so overwhelmed by the inaptness of the military/athletic comparison, that they stop paying any attention to what you're trying to say about football.

    Strictly as a matter of craft, I'd say that while it's possible to write an essay like this, it is inadvisable, because it would take a terrific amount of rhetorical skill to make it work.

    Otherwise, you're left with a piece that unintentionally conflates failed football strategy with the deaths of 3,000 American service men and women.

    Thanks again for posting.
  6. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    There is something incredibly artful, and yet totally hilarious, about this spot-on takedown.
  7. HeadFirst

    HeadFirst Member

    I preferred The Good Doctor's three-word rebuttal, complete with ellipsis.
  8. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I realize this is like going back to Titanic and finding a loose screw in the restroom, but I did want to highlight this snippet:

    Eventually, the sad state of the Browns becomes too much for Lerner. The losses are pilling up and so are the margins. One of the coaches gets caught up in a sex scandal after email messages sent to the team’s fullback show “unprofessional” comments.

    In one paragraph, we get the understatement of the NFL's lifetime about the sad state of the Browns. This is followed up with "pilling" and a vague sentence about a sex scandal with no names mentioned. Priceless.
  9. I was reffering to Carthon's love of 6th round draft pick Lawrence Vickers who was 0-for-3 on third down conversions (including a sweep and a FB pass) during Carthon's season.
  10. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I'll leave the actual story to everyone else, but two little things I noticed.
    1. Your paragraphs are way too long. I know in newspapers we have to write shorter paragraphs because of columns, but even on the internet those look too long.
    2. You put the teams records in one of the early graphs and I am a big believer that those should always be in parentheses because it wastes space.
    example: The Washington Redskins (3-5) are much like George Bush because they suck, as is noticable in their losses to xxxx.

    Also, another pet peeve of mine is that records should never be in your lede. It makes it too clunky.
  11. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr .cn,

    All I can add: You're doin' a heckuva job, Fantasy.

    Personally, the Browns' offence sorta reminded me more of Katrina. But that's just me. I was always one of those Marv Levy = Robert MacNamara guys.

    I do have one question tho'. You noted that you wrote this after the election. Was it published?

    YHS, etc
  12. It was published. I just didn't get around to posting it until now because I hadn't checked the site again until a few weeks ago.
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