Call me old school in regards to how I feel about the live feed that Antonio Brown posted after a hard fought and well earned team victory in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. The TEAM was fresh off the field and in the sanctity of the locker room. It was before the media availability and before the normal routine of saying a team prayer and the head coach address to the team. NORMAL PROTOCOL.
Brown had other things on his mind.
From a purely personal standpoint, the video by Antonio Brown is quite entertaining and full of the type of energy that spawns virility.
From a team perspective it breaks a few basic rules.
- The sacredness of the locker room is something that should never be broken. It’s a place where some are not allowed and where events can happen that others only hear about. Team is family.
- Respect should be always given to the boss. Some of the players in the video were so busy not paying attention to what the HEAD COACH was saying, they never received the message regarding social media or never heard the comments regarding the Patriots.
- They never joined their teammates in the locker room after the game. It mattered not what everyone else was doing. It was all about the dough and the individual. Bad for the team!
- Believe it or not, this does serve as motivation to the team they are to face in the AFC Championship Game. It is said that they don’t need any more incentive because of the magnitude of the game. True, but when I was with the Redskins, we prepared to face the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. THE BILLS DEFENSIVE LINE COACH DECIDED TO INSULT THE HOGS ON A NATION STAGE. After we watched that tape the night before the game, you could hear a pin drop when we left that meeting. The game was won when Coach Gibbs played that clip as the last part of that meeting. Yes, the Patriots are motivated but rest assured Bill Belichick will have it on the board and it may be the last thing they watch in the final meeting before the game.
Tomlin will be wise enough and is a good enough coach to capture this and turn it around. I feel he will not only discipline Antonio Brown, but some of the others that were being a little condescending and disrespectful as well.
The battle is on. This will be focused on for a while. Antonio may come out and apologize for his actions or he may not. I would suggest he does so and I hope he grows to really appreciate the value of the lesson he is being taught by the Steelers and Tomlin.
Reason to Celebrate?
Victories are hard to come by in any sport. Anytime a team has crossed the threshold of winning, a different level of confidence is gained. It’s a minor miracle. In the NFL those victories are precious! Especially when you have lost 14 games in one season.
The Cleveland Browns won their first game in over a year. We were “Partying Like It was 1999.” (ok a Princeism) Hue Jackson said “Gameballs for everyone in the organization.” The celebration was on!
I wonder what will be painted on the game ball. “First victory of 2016 Browns” or “Whew! Off the snide 2016.”
I almost wanna say “Really?! We/the Browns are celebrating one win?! Well hell Yes! It was a hell of a long ride baby. You could see the relief come out of First Energy Stadium!
The loyal long suffering Browns fans endured this heartache with dignity. Even Dee and Jim Haslam showed their relief and excitement after the final kick was missed by the Chargers.
Yes, we loved the team and the game they played even after each of the losses while subconsciously trying to figure out, “What the hell is going on out there?!”(Lombardi)
While there is hope that all has been figured out and the staff, players and coaches have chosen the right rudder to right the ship, the reality is that it’s going to take more to get all rowers rowing the ship in the direction of winning.
It takes a hell of a lot to lose 14 straight. It takes a hell of a lot to win one. It’s going to take a hell of a lot more directional development and determination to be a true winner.
One win leads to two then leads to three. Celebrate each victory that is gained… They are precious. Continue to develop and expect winning while understanding the foundation that will manifest the future outcomes.
For The Love Of The Game
Will To Win
Crying incessantly in my way home after losing another game at Bonnor Park in Milledgeville Georgia. It’s another still but crisp evening and the stars are out while a traverse the grounds in the west end of my home town. Tears are streaming down my face because our team has lost another game. Why was I crying after a football game, you might ask? My answer would have been, “we lost.”
Early in my life, I hated losing! It never deterred me. I loved to play games. I hated losing. Why not just give up… Stop playing the games… Well, I never thought of quitting or to not play marbles, chess, tennis, shooting pool or any other sport. I played and played hard all the time. Sometimes, I would be playing and crying while I was playing because one of the bigger players had hurt me… Never stopped… Never gave in..: it was all part of the action.
Fast forward to Baldwin High school where I played basketball, ran track and played football. Yeah you guess it… We lost bunches and bunches of games. SHIGGADDEE! We lost homecoming most of the time.
Even though we were losing, we never stopped working at development… Those situations taught me how to continue to work to get better, to always do my best and how to never let the score or short term results dictate how I approached each play and each game.
The will can be broken in some because of the losses. It also cave strengthened if the right approach, perspective and awareness is given.
The Browns are 0-14… Wow!!! What an athletic wake up call the entire organization is going through.
Their collective will has to be really strong to endure the experiences.
For those that will continue with the team next year, the Never stopped… Never give in I mentioned earlier will manifest itself at a later time. Especially, if they are going home lamenting the losses.
When you love it… When you love yourself, Winning is not far away. It always finds it way to victories… Whether in real time or at a later point in the pursuit of success.
ROMO: After all, they were depending on you to bring them a championship – that’s what quarterbacks are supposed to do, that’s how we’re judged. But then here you are, sidelined without any real ability to help your teammates win on the field. That’s when you’re forced to come face to face with what’s happening. The realization of a NFL career being over…
RG3…His NFL career and the possibility of it being over has hopefully prompted a renewed or new perspective on playing the game. It did for Romo. RG3 is younger but has missed substantial time due to injury, just as Romo. He has to be concerned about the opportunities perhaps dwindling for him right before his and our eyes.
I wonder did he take some time to do some soul searching and come “face to face with what’s happening” like Tony Romo mentioned. My hope is that that time served to motivate him into being the player his talent warrants.
Does he really want to take the punishment it will take to play at a championship level? Has he had enough… I mean way down deep in his spirit..? Only he really knows.
Good soul searching and mind building can be gone through during the time an injury has been taken away the game from a player like RG3. It can be the motivation to rededicate or give into the inevitable end of a playing career and the beginning of another aspect of life.
Comparison of the thoughts between the two… Romo’s experience was a soul searching one… He developed in some ways, perhaps spiritually and or mentally… During his speech, you could feel his level of thought and perception.
Has this time on injuried reserve served as a realization and appreciation of a career been an awaking for RG3? What has been his emotinal struggle, if any? Has his spirit been touched in a way that really changes him? It will be shown in how he approaches his chosen craft.
The true winner’s mentality was shown in the speech that Romo gave. The winner’s mentality can be shown by RG3. Look for it in his next opportunity as a Browns QB.
ROMO: Lastly, I just want to leave you with something I’ve learned in this process. You know, I feel like we have two battles or two enemies going on: One with the man across from you, the second is with the man inside of you. I think once you control the one inside of you, the one across from you really doesn’t matter. I think that’s what we’re all trying to do.”
ROMO: “I’m not gonna allow this situation to negatively affect Dak or this football team by becoming a constant distraction. Ultimately it’s about the team – it’s what we’ve preached our entire lives.”
EB: The best way to deal with this situation, positively,…especially when the realization is that someone else…a younger player, is doing the job, is to teach the player that is playing. It helps by taking the emphaisis off of the situation you are in and focuses on something that builds the team. The teaching part also keeps the mind prepared for playing. Most of the time what looks final isn’t final, especially when the season is continuing.
The time for finality is for the off season. Decisions will be made in that regard then. Fears and thoughts that the career may be over may be stayed off for another season, but the end is coming. It’s a young man’s game. (Players that play for extended periods and are still good all feel this way). It’s tough to see someone else do what you feel and know you can do. But, there is a realization, as well, that it’s really best for the team.
ROMO:”I think Dak knows that I have his back, and I think I know that he has mine.”
EB: Having each others back started in the off season. Even when Romo realized how good Dak was and that he is motivation to me and a treat to be a starter in the league, they worked closely together. Romo helped coach him even then. It’s a natural and important trait to have when you got people and natural leaders on your team that are winners in every way.
ROMO: “To say the first half of the season has been emotional would be a huge understatement. Getting hurt when you feel like you have the best team you ever have was a soul-crushing moment for me. Then to learn it’s not three or four weeks but 10 is another blow. And through it all you have a tremendous amount of guilt about letting your teammates, fans and organization down.”
EB: Part of the guilt for me was I knew I could not do what I was expected to and use to doing. The coaches seemed like that couldn’t or wouldn’t talk to me. It felt strange. It was like if you can’t help me or be on the field, you have leposy. Perhaps that was part of the mind game they played or it could have been as Tony said. “The coaches have to keep coaching.”
When I became a coach, if a player of mine got hurt, I would always find him in the training room and spend some time with him. It was important to me to let them know they were more than a football player or piece of meat to me.
ROMO: After all, they were depending on you to bring them a championship – that’s what quarterbacks are supposed to do, that’s how we’re judged. But then here you are, sidelined without any real ability to help your teammates win on the field. That’s when you’re forced to come face to face with what’s happening.
EB: While facing that reality, the fire still burns. It’s tough to look at the guy playing “your” position without saying or thinking that I would have done better. That’s the driving force of a player. I’m the best for the position. Frustration, anger and fear all surface. I used that energy to my benefit by doing extra running, stairmaster and hill work. It became my motivation.
I also had to do some reflecting. How did I allow this situation to be manifested? What was my contribution to where I am today. It made me really look at my life of football. Check out the next sentence.
ROMO:”You’re sad and down and out, and you ask yourself, “Why did this have to happen?”
EB: ROMO HAD SOME TIME TO REALLY REFLECT. (Awesome Tool…is Reflection)
ROMO: “It’s not always easy to watch. I think anybody who’s been in this position understands that. But what is clear is that I was that kid once: stepping in, having to prove yourself – I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. It really is an incredible time in your life. If I remember one thing from back then, it’s the people that helped me along when I was young.”
EB: Part of the process of winning is having those that are all about the team. They pass on the knowledge to those that come behind them. They even pass it on when someone may be a threat to “their” job because it’s best for the team. It is, as I see it, a responsibility of each position. Winning is the most important.
ROMO: “For every high school kid out there or college player, there’s greatness in being the kind of teammate who truly wants to be part of the team. Everyone wants to be the reason they’re winning or losing. Every single one of us wants to be that person. But there are special moments that come from a shared commitment, to play a role while doing it together.”
EB: This a quality of a true winner. He is to be admired as we watch him walk this part of the journey out. There will be moments of selfishness without a doubt. He will continue to want to play and have half hearted happiness for Dak and the team but will also have a real life growth process and a moment he can teach from for a lifetime. “Perfection Sought, Progress Accepted”
ROMO: “I’ve figured that you in this process. It’s what separates sports from everything else. It’s why we love it, why we trust it, it’s why I still want to play and compete.”
Lastly, I just want to leave you with something I’ve learned in this process. You know, I feel like we have two battles or two enemies going on: One with the man across from you, the second is with the man inside of you. I think once you control the one inside of you, the one across from you really doesn’t matter. I think that’s what we’re all trying to do.”
EB: The ultimate winner does the winning inside then has the ability to teach others how to win.
What a gift to have and a gift not to be taken lightly.. The ability to guide and influence people. We are given this magnificent ability to build, heal and teach those through different mediums. Football happens to be the one I am availed.
I was listening to music in a club, but watching the way the DJ sent out the vibrations that controlled the crowd. I could feel the vibrations and watched as the crowd was driven into a frenzy. Then all of a sudden, the vibrations of the music slowed…the crow responded by moving slowly in their dance, all the while not conscience of the control they have relenquished to an outer source. Some dapped off of the floor chosing not to partake. Hmmm…
It made me think about concerts and sporting events that fill many stadiums around the world. A singer has the ability to use their voice, a band can use their music and an athlete can use his abilities on the field of play to draw different emotions out of the fans.
While at the club, I could visualize the many emotions that can be tapped into by being associated with the chosen method of getting inside to the inner being and really finding out about myself. It altered the way I saw clubs, concerts and sporting events because of the different levels of feelings and emotions that I experienced.
The crowd rises and falls with the energy associated with victories and losses on each play, each octave or each word uttered. A theater, a coliseum, a ballpark and even a classroom has the ability to have it’s energy affected by players, performers, teachers and leaders.
How does it feel to have that ability to influence or control the crowd or to have the ability to heal the crowd. That is really powerful!!! They move as you move. Every emotion is shared. They move with the rythym that is created within the performer.
Have courage and trust in the inner spirit or inner wo/man because doubt, fear and or uncertainty will surface. Believe that you have been gifted the understanding and mentality to benifit from the experience but more important, share the gift. Victory or a loss on a multitude of levels is on the line.
When we win on the inner man level, the most healing is available. Victory on and off the stage or field is available.
What a tremendous responsibility and honor to have. It’s a thrill to fight for and deliver healing to those that are receptive. We are constanly recieving the blame for losses and given adulation when success is attained. Both blame and adulation are healing agents.
My plight, my growth, my life and my spirit may be a great many things, but failure is not one. The trial by life and the trial by God is provided through the experiences. I must not be moved from where the Spirit places me. My happiness is not a necessity for me to live and be at peace.
Practice as much control over your decisions and experiences. Do it as much as you can. Nothing or noone is perfect. There may be some aspects of perfection that lie within each of us. Use the energies of life to control as much as you can while you realize that sometimes in our lives we will be controlled by other forces.
Reflection is an excellent tool. It can teach us how to handle individual situations in life. When we reflect, it gives us a chance to slow down life, look at the different pictures of the day, adjust the situations that need to be and be prepared for the cycle of life that brings around a similar situation in the future.
The Original Dawgs(ODs) weekend celebration started with a get together Friday night at Days Inn in Richfield with about 300 of enduring and loving Browns fans, plus about 15 members of the ODs and ended Sunday with pre-game rituals and half time introductions on the 86 Browns team.
Some of the Original Dawgs were on the field prior to the game. During the pre-game intro, of the current Browns team, I had a chance to slow down the process and observe. I watched as the players came through the line of drum players and the 1986 team.
The 86 team is a team full of guys that showed an understanding of what it takes to win in the NFL and as a Cleveland Browns player. Not just for one year, but over a time that included 5 years in a row of NFL play-offs.
I didn’t see a single player introduce themselves or pay homage to the Original Dawgs. This included any brief conversation with a head coach, Marty Schottenheimer who not only had a tremendous record as the Browns head coach, but went on to develop three other teams. I don’t know if we were spoken about during the week or was it any type of focused effort to make sure the now team member, rub shoulders with the former winners.
The ability to experience life, learn, grow then teach is available to all. It’s a continual process. That particular situation, in my opinion, could have been an time for short snippets to be shared with winners and those that truly ascribe to be winners.
I’m sure the most recent teams in the league, all want to win, but what I did’nt “observe”, maybe indication of real desire to win, a case where individuals want to exercise anonymity or a true lack of respect for those that have come before us. The characterics of a winner have to be trained then demanded.
Ok, some may say that just before the game is not the time to get involved with this type of growth. Perhaps that is true. If that is the case, should not there have been some type of arrangement set up for interaction.
Tapping into different levels of success is a way to learn success and how to be successful.
As I reflect on the Original Dawgs 86 reunion weekend, I can see how important the different levels of learning happened. Marty teaching and grooming us, each player receiving the info given to them and taking ownership of it and the challenges we made within the team because of competition, were ways we became winners.
I encourage all to take advantage of your shoulder rubbing with parents, teachers, coaches and winners that have come before you.
The weekend was a great affair for many reasons. They are the continued connection that we have with the Browns team, the loyal fans of the Browns and the special bond that we have as winners.
I found the enemy,it is within
Residing under my own skin
I must not yeild or get rattled
For me to win my internal Battle
They never lose hope. They never die. They always encourage their players. It can be football, basketball or baseball. It matters not to the fateful and loyal fans of Cleveland.
I had a connection to Cleveland/Believeland before I was summoned there by the game that I grew to and still love.
I was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 10th round of the 1984 NFL draft. It was actually the end of the 10th and almost the 11th round. I get the call after two long days of waiting by the phone, alone on the second floor of Belk Hall on ECU’s campus. There was no TV, radio or video games to pass the time. It was just me and the phone.
The first voice I heard was Art Modell. He welcomed me then handed the phone to Sam Rutigliano. He did the same. I had a good feeling when I spoke to both.
I can’t say I was excited, but I can say I was pleased to be drafted because I was assured of a signing bonus. I search the memory bank and find the first time I tasted Cleveland.
I was in mine and my oldest brother’s room at Granny’s house watching football. It so happened that the Browns were on. It stood out to me because the Pruitts made some plays. Greg broke off one of his tear away punt returns and Mike showed some quickness and power while getting a much needed first down. It felt like some type of indicator to me. It registered and as I normally did, went on outside to play some. Later in my life, I would end up on the same team, in the same meeting room and blocking for Mike. That moment at Granny’s house comes to mind.
When I got to Cleveland, I did not understand the type of history in sports I was surrounded by and walking into. However, I found out quickly what type of weather I was going to be dealing with. As I stepped off the plane, sleet and wind hit my ass in the face. I was also hit in the face with some of the grand history that weekend by the Browns. They had a meet and greet with some of the “Past Greats.” It was a pleasure to meet Lou Groza and others. The more you are around the Browns, the more you understand the tradition that exist. The more you are around, the more you understand the connection that the players and the fans have.
I started to get a feel for what that felt like myself. My family and I stayed around after the season. We learned that on some type of winter days it was everyman for him/herself. That meant I was getting out of the car and there was no waiting or opening doors. I’m gone and you get there as best you can. During those times we bought Cleveland Cav season tickets.
I recognized that we had become fans when after we left a game, in which they had lost, I felt like I had lost. Well dam! Why is that? It gave firsthand knowledge and understanding regarding how Cleveland fans felt after we lost a game. It’s we won or we lost. It’s real ownership and real kinship of and to the team.
The new ESPN 30 for 30 movie “Believeland” does a hell of a job connecting the grand history of the Cleveland culture while intertwining the grand history of Cleveland Sports. You see, they are one and the same. Some of the stories that I heard about Cleveland I totally disregarded. I disregarded them because I lived there and stayed there after the seasons were over. My oldest daughters started their early schooling there. We made Cleveland our home and found nothing lacking.
While I was living there, I knew that the city had a incredible energy about it. That energy I felt when attending some of the play-off games of the Indians. I felt it first hand when we were on our run of playoff appearances from 1985-88. During those times, I felt jolts of energy when I just went out to walk the neighborhood. It was so real, I decided during some of those times to not venture to the malls or go to stores. I would stay close to home. I learned to capture that energy and direct it into my practices, then ultimately into the games.
The connection with the fans and excitement associated with each team provided a fabulous vibration. It created a tremendous bond that transcends the passing of time and shows a devotion that is like no other.