Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Not every column is going to be good

With the Indianapolis Colts’ 26-17 loss to San Diego on Sunday, history keeps the number of pro football teams to finish with a perfect record at two.

That’s right, two. While the 1972 Miami Dolphins finally got to enjoy their yearly champagne toast, history has forgotten the 1948 Cleveland Browns.

While the Browns were in the AAFC and not in the NFL, they did beat the Baltimore Colts (and Y.A. Tittle), the San Francisco 49ers twice each and the Buffalo Bills three times en route to a perfect 15-0 record. It was the Browns’ third of four AAFC titles. Making the feat even more impressive was that the Browns won three road games in just eight days. The legitimacy of those teams would later be upheld when the Browns won the NFL title in their first season in the league in 1950.

If there ever were a season to be remembered in Cleveland, it would be 1948. That year was the last time, the Indians won the World Series. Also forgotten in the folklore of Cleveland sports is that Barons won the AHL championship that season. The Barons did not lose any of their final 27 regular season games. before winning the Calder Cup.

Three championships in one season for one city is something that has never happened anywhere else ever. Kind of makes the last 57 years a little more bearable, huh.

Cavalier musings: The three-pointer is a blessing and a curse. Shooting them well can sometimes create a false sense of security, which is what I believe happened in the second half of the Cavaliers’ win over Miami on Saturday. When they are falling like that, it is great. But you can’t rely just on threes to win. Miami came storming back when the Cavs started standing around watching jumpers. LeBron stepped up and put the team on his back, but that is not a formula for winning either. The Cavs are at their best when LeBron scores less than 30 points. Why is that? It is because the key to this team is running the offense through Larry Hughes.

I know that sounds like heresy, but this is a slashing team. This is a team built to run, which is why NBA teams want the Cavs to play a half-court game. NBA coaches see no problem with LeBron scoring 50 points, if it takes Hughes and Z out of the flow of the offense. It is great LeBron has expanded his game, but the Cavs are a better team when either he or Hughes is driving to the basket.

At least the Cavs are fun to watch, but rookie head coach Mike Brown has more to worry about than getting the players to commit to playing defense. While the slogan, defense wins championships is true, you still have to have an offense that is more than just one player. LeBron is a very unselfish player, and he is not even 21 years old yet. But it took a coach of the stature of Phil Jackson to let Michael be Michael. The jury is still out on Brown and whether he has the presence to coach a talent like LeBron.

Tribe musings: It says a lot when the minor league free agent signings of Danny Graves and Steve Karsay get me more excited than a 9-7 Browns win. Of course, they would have been much better pick-ups four years ago, but you have to credit Indians GM Mark Shapiro for these low risk investments. I know I said not to panic until spring training opens, but White Sox seem to keep getting better every week. And the Tigers, Royals and Twins have all improved this winter. Shapiro’s hands may be tied, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. All I want for Christmas is a power hitter.