Sunday, December 16, 2007

a comedy snow bowl

Local broadcasts of "news", here, are very poor. The station with the worst broadcast has a two and half hour programme in the late afternoon, that extends to the early evening. Today would they have a weekday would be their dream. There is a home game for the Browns football team in a snowy and windy mess. They often have two weather people, a heliocopter (grounded in this weather) and on location reporters to tell what anyone who looks out the window can see. They cover the football team with fawning obsequiousness. So, conveniently, there is very little news to report on in the remainder of time, not allotted for advertisements, free or paid and mindless chat. When they cover news, it is a mix of fires, automobile collisions and occasional murders and petty and sometime violent larceny only balanced by some minor human interest or health story.

The football team is owned by the son of a credit card magnate. A government financed gift of a new stadium was given his father, and this summer there was a several million dollar plumbing problem that no one has paid for. Boondoggles to benefit the rich, in what is at certain points of time measured as the poorest city in the United States, is the rule here. Entrepreneurs that are the gem of the free market propaganda are the recipients of welfare largesse and receive their bounty without dissent.

I looked forward to watch this game within the comforts of home. The game was forecast to be played in silly weather and it was. In such a game talent and ability are neutralized by the physical environment. Luck decides the game more than most. Sustained organized drives of the ball will not happen. Interesting kicking will be highlighted. The central players are place kickers and punters. The score will be baseball like and a shutout is possible. I would like to see a 4 to 3 or a 5 to 4 score. I look forward to an enjoyable, sloppy, slapstick comedy.

The game is not to be the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field heroics, temperatures are in the wet, heavy, snow range. No markings are visible on the field. I expect a game of kicks, fumbles and foibles; of men falling on each other and falling alone. What can one expect when the ball will be invisible, cloaked behind swirling snow and fall dead to the ground if not nudged by bodies and squirted from hands.

The local hullabaloo boosts and boasts like babbits. The truth is that Cleveland benefited from an easy schedule playing some of the weakest teams in the NFL and did not beat all of them and beat no strong teams. Today they're playing a wounded Buffalo as a home game. Mathematical statistics give the home team a field goal advantage. In this sort of weather offensive statistics will be often anemic, and a field goal could be the entire score.

The game was played, surprisingly, without turnovers. All the scoring came in the first half. Phil Dawson made a 35 yard and, near the end of the second quarter a marvelous, 48 yard field goal -- spectacular under the conditions. It was a very low kick hitting the stanchion, immediately behind the crossbar, dead center within a hand span: 8 - 0.

Buffalo went for a pass on fourth down and eleven on the 23, instead of a field goal in the first quarter, and were in no proximity to the goal line until the last minute of the game. Buffalo put up two points, for Cleveland, on a punting attempt that sailed over the punter, who then kicked the ball, from the end zone, directly into the stands, in perhaps, the most memorable play of the game. After the subsequent free kick and penalty, the referee had difficulty in finding the spot to place the ball and that was the game.

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