Four Penalty Surprise: Don't worry, it's all part of Romeo Crennel's secret plan


"Um, yes, I'd like to book a tee time. How's the Sunday after next look?"
We have four fouls on the offense: illegal formation, offense, No. 56. That penalty is declined. Holding, No. 90, that penalty is declined. Holding, No. 35, that penalty will be enforced, 10 yards from the end of the kick. We had an ineligible player downfield on the kick, that penalty is declined. -- Some Over-Achieving Referee There couldn’t be a more comical beginning to the 2007-2008 Cleveland Browns season if it were penned by The Onion. Except this wasn’t fiction, and it wasn’t meant to be funny. It was real – oh so painfully real – and quite the omen for the rest of the game. No, make that the season. But while no one in Cleveland is getting much of a chuckle out of the Browns' Four Penalty Medley, the rest of the country is, including the commentator who pointed out: “I can’t really evaluate the Steelers until they play a real football team.” Where are the Cleveland Fusion when you need them? But rest easy Cleveland. Yes, they got waxed, 34-7, by the third-best team in their division. And sure, Romeo Crennel is 10-23 as a head coach. But how can you not believe in Coach Romeo? He has a plan! “There’s a plan [regarding the ‘personnel situation’], but I’m not going to tell you,” he said (or basically said; my ears were bleeding) yesterday. Clearly he is much smarter than the rest of us, and wouldn’t want to befuddle us with too much information. He's also inspirational! “We have to concentrate on next week because the league is not going to cancel the game,”* he added. Doesn't this sound like a man eager to right the ship? Are these not the marching orders of a man who could inspire a band of men to risk life and limb for a game of football? Would, say, Bill Cower have the balls to use the media to secretly lobby the NFL to cancel the next week's game in order to save the team from total embarrassment? That’s what I thought. Romeo didn’t say it out loud, but you could hear the promise in his voice: “We will only get three penalties on one play next game.”** -- Vince Grzegorek *Is this an option? Someone should really look into this. ** "If we play, that is. But, seriously, someone put some calls out on that game-canceling idea. That sounds promising."


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