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Jeff Rich

HumbleThis is one installment in a team effort by The Cleveland Fan, highlighting the top local sports figures by jersey number. Please weigh in with your thoughts, in the Boards. As David Letterman would say, “For entertainment purposes only; please, no wagering.”

Paul Brown was a man that seemed to always know what he wanted, but better yet, he found ways to get those things.  "Nobody touches Graham", his offensive lineman would chant as they broke the huddle, and it wasn't often that they did, en route to Championships in their first five seasons of existence.  Weldon "Hum" Humble wasn't there for all of them, but played a significant role in three of them.

You'll have to forgive the native of San Antonio for not helping the Browns in 1946; he was at Rice University for the second time, leading the Owls to an 8-2 season that ended with a victory over Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.  The Orange Bowl is played in Florida, and that just happened to be where the namesake of the Cleveland Browns was on vacation at the time.


Adam Burke

00BobrovskyThe NHL is rapidly approaching the final month of its condensed regular season and the April 3 trade deadline is already less than a week away. The Western Conference standings are ridiculously tight, while the Eastern Conference playoff picture looks quite a bit clearer. Every team in the Western Conference enters play on Thursday night with either 15 or 16 games to play, so the race for the postseason is on.

One of the most exciting parts of the NHL season is the trade deadline, but this season could be a lot different. Two of the biggest trade chips, Brendan Morrow and Jarome Iginla, have already been traded and both have been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the Western Conference, the #9-#14 seeds are within six points of the eighth seed, the final playoff slot in the conference. In the Eastern Conference, the #9-12 teams are within five points of a playoff spot.

The issue for the teams on the outside looking in is that it’s nearly impossible to jump over teams with so many overtime games and every game being played within the conference. Of the 243 games that have been played in the Western Conference through March 27, over 27 percent of them have gone to overtime, which means both teams get at least one point in the standings. With more than one out of every four games going to overtime, and the teams bunched together in the standings, a lot of teams still have a chance at the playoffs, but the road to get there is full of obstacles.


Jesse Lamovsky

Sadly, we live in a degraded age of college basketball. The first weekend of the 2013 NCAA Tournament has been proof enough, with arenas around the country reverberating with the harsh sound of shots banging off backboards and clanging off rims. It’s been competitive but it’s also been ugly. When a 13th seed (LaSalle) can make three field goals and shoot under 20 percent in the second half and still win a game, you know it’s ugly.


Jeff Rich

Big BoyEventually, there is a point where we are all just numb.  We don’t bother getting upset about the disappointments at First Energy Stadium, the post-All-Star-break collapses, or the ridicule from ESPN.  That’s easy; keep the bar low, really make an effort to learn from history, and either have thick skin or avoid the 4-letter network.  However, every now and then, we allow hope to enter the equation and forget all of the other stuff.  That’s when hope crushes our dream because we had a little faith.  Why do we do it to ourselves?  Shouldn’t we expect it, to be alert to the looming devastation at all times?

It was a long time ago, but I remember being on this boat.  We were too old to be considered kids, but certainly lacked the experience and maturity to be sharing nautical adventures with this crowd.  It was my best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s friend’s boat, but it didn’t take too much beer and other stuff to make us all into old pals; at some point we were told where to find the most morally compromised women, on the west side, after the bars close.

In a completely coincidental chain of events, I find myself employed at this random 24-hour eatery, which we will call the “Big Boy at 130th and Brookpark”, just to give it a name.  This place featured people from all walks of life, especially on the late night shift; you had felons, gays, thieves, male entertainers, and Grateful Dead roadies, and that was just the staff.  When you brought the customers into the conversation, you were talking about the ladies that took their clothes off inside some of those infamous Brookpark Road establishments, and many who wore little outside of those buildings, on the street.  Trust me when I say that I’m using the term “ladies” very loosely.

It was relatively short-lived, a couple of months, probably less, but the experience did a lot more in the way of teaching me life lessons than it did for my tax-bracket status, given that it was a $2.13 an hour (plus tips) type of occupation.  However, it prepared me to be prepared for anything; that’s a fairly simple task after smiling and staring at a “lady’s” Adam’s apple as if I were looking her/it in the eye while asking if she wanted her special sauce on the side.  Now, I’ve seen plenty since, but the different people have never seemed all that different to me after that job.


Jonathan Knight

a ncaa courtUnless you’re a douchebag malcontent who dislikes things like oxygen, cookies, or the moon, you’ll agree that the NCAA basketball tournament is a good thing.

Actually, that’s an hysterical understatement.

In the jagged landscape of American sport, the NCAA tournament is as close to perfection as possible - far closer to utopia than we probably deserve. Nothing else comes anywhere close.

Since the expansion to the 64-team field in 1985, it entered a cul-de-sac of divinity the new pope can only pray for. Easy to watch, easy to follow, delivering quality and quantity simultaneously.

We could sit here all day citing off the wondrousness that is March Madness (and just might if we’re not careful), but just in the interest of fairness - and to appease any of those douchebag malcontents who often feel disenfranchised this time of year - let us pause for a moment to ponder the toddler-sized handful of ways in which the NCAA tournament is flawed.

To be precise, the only four specific things that are universally disliked about this otherwise wonderful experience:


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