Cheers to Browns fans; jeers to Schaub jersey burners


Welcome to the Around The League End Around, a weekly look back at the world of the NFL. Dan Hanzus serves as your guide.

It was a good week for ...

1. Peyton Manning: Manning is a video game. The only thing that can stop him is The Lord Master And Commander Of Sector Nine -- civilian name, Papa John -- calling him back to the mothership.

2. Eugene Monroe: I would love to have been in on the phone call when Monroe's agent told his client that he had been traded from the Jaguars -- losers of 29 of their last 36 games and general pit of sadness and apathy -- to the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

3. Philip Rivers: If a Chargers fan lapsed into a coma in late August and woke up this morning, would he or she believe you when you explained Rivers was a legit MVP candidate?

It was a bad week for ...

1. Greg Schiano: Congrats, you successfully ran your quarterback out of town. It just cost you your locker room, the respect of the general public and any chance of retaining this head coaching job or getting another one in the near future!

2. Brian Hoyer: The scene in Cleveland on Thursday night: Pumped up home crowd, prime-time stage, Mike Mayock throwing praise all over the place, Browns playing for first place. Hoyer was one win away from being hailed as the next Bernie Kosar. Instead, he blew out his freaking knee. Ugh.

3. Matt Schaub: Will the Texans' grisly collapse against the Seahawks on Sunday ultimately be remembered as the beginning of the end of the Matt Schaub era in Houston? As far as devastating September losses, this one was near the top of the list.

What the What?

Almost incredibly, members of the Ravens are still talking about the Super Bowl blackout like it was some sort of grand conspiracy.

"I was like Vegas, parlor tricks, you know what I mean?" Terrell Suggs said this week, according to "I was like, ahh, Roger Goodell, he never stops, he always has something up his sleeve. He just couldn't let us have this one in a landslide, huh?"

Oh dear God just stop it. Just stop talking. YOU WON THE GAME.

"I thought (Goodell) had a hand in it," Suggs added. "Most definitely, he had a hand in it."

Suggs isn't the first Ravens player to accuse Goodell and the NFL of purposely causing a game stoppage so that the 49ers could re-group, seize momentum, then launch an unlikely second-half rally to steal the Super Bowl.

Seriously, read that sentence again. That is what Suggs thinks happened. The man lives in a prison of his own madness.

And while we're here ...

Stop trying to co-opt that song as your own. Only Jack White can. Good grief.

Tweet of the week

Um. Either Whitner has no grasp on the subject of evil and murderous tyrants of the 20th century, or he's simply failed to put this together. Obviously, the Niners' organization will step in and correct this honest mistake ...

Oh. Let's just move on.

The Art Of Football -- by Santonio Holmes

"Our offense is our offense. The Falcons' offense is theirs. We have a defense that plays against the opponent's offense. And vice versa."

Any questions?

Guest rant

Dave Dameshek is the affable everyman behind "The Dave Dameshek Football Program" and recurring features like "The Shek Report," "N'if'L" and "The Sports Car." Today, a proud Steelers fans ponders the possibility of an AFC North apocalypse.

This Browns thing is starting to get weird, right? I'm not just talking about the Tootsie Roll uniforms, either. They're all alone in first place, and it's October. Good chance they'll stay there into at least Week 6, what with the Pats at 2-2 Cincy and the 2-2 Ravens at Miami. Like I said: weird.

I chose this photo of Dave because I think he looks handsome in it.
I chose this photo of Dave because I think he looks handsome in it. (

Don't they realize winning games is exactly the opposite of what their own front office had in mind when they traded away Trent Richardson last month? They were supposed to bottom out, which would've guaranteed them a good shot at the student athlete of their choice in next year's NFL draft.

Of course, Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi wouldn't admit it now, not while they're up there on top of the AFC North. And I don't blame 'em. Cynics might say beating Jeff Tuel's Bills isn't worthy of the celebration in the stands, but beggars/Browns fans can't be choosers. This feel-good story is one ethnically insensitive stereotype at right tackle away from being pigskin's answer to "Major League". Makes sense, then, for it to happen in Cleveland.

But let's be clear: The organization assumed this team was gonna flop. Why else would anyone employ Billy Cundiff? Then again, they can prove me wrong by signing Josh Freeman today. Desperate times call for desperate measures? Or would it be carpe diem? Either way, the glass half-empty and half-full groups would probably both be all in on trying to do what it takes to win a very shaky AFC North.

From getting dumped by LeBron and Modell to the myriad of other names who burned the town -- Elway, Byner, Jordan, et al -- Cleveland deserves a winner already. It's almost enough to make me outright root for them ... except I'm from Pittsburgh and the Browns are now 2.5 games ahead of the Steelers. To reiterate, the Cleveland Browns are 2.5 games better than Pittsburgh, thanks largely to having the best defense in a division that includes the Steelers and Ravens. Told you things were weird.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go watch the Pittsburgh Pirates' playoff game.

Much thanks to Dave, a man true to his podcast form. I asked for 175 words, he gave me 350. That's value!

Hero of the Week: Rob Chudzinski

When the Browns traded Trent Richardson, no one would have been surprised if Cleveland cratered. After all, making your best offensive player disappear in return for a draft pick (in September no less!) is a recipe for a full-on tank job.

Instead, Chud kept the team believing, and now the Browns have won three straight. I don't know if it will last -- Brandon Weeden? Willis McGahee? -- but Cleveland has showed resolve.

Or as Jim Brown said in the locker room Thursday night: "You've got 'em zingin' now, baby."

Old guy slang is the best!

Villain(s) of the Week: Matt Schaub jersey burners

Thousands shared stories telling us why they love football in a contest to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. We chose 10 finalists. Now you choose the winners.

I understand this is intended to be cathartic. Or maybe it's just supposed to make you look cool on YouTube. But really, you just come off as a bunch of spoiled -- potentially drunk -- babies. Ask the Vikings if they'd take Matt Schaub. Or the Jaguars. Or the Browns. Or the Raiders. Or the Bucs. I could go on.

Things could be so much worse. Have we already forgotten David Carr? Put down the lighter fluid.

Read Option(al)

"The Dad-Rock Prometheus" -- Brian Phillips, Grantland

A thought: Loved this piece. Favorite line: "On the field, he's Genghis Khan as portrayed by your 11th-grade trigonometry teacher."

"Breaking down the Broncos' month of dominance" -- Marc Sessler,

A thought: Another Broncos-related write-up. This team and its quarterback are just fascinating to me right now.

Until next time ...

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