The Shek List: on Canton, Cleveland, Mars & Beyond

(Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

Back in Los Angeles after a swell (and sweltering) Hall of Fame weekend in Canton.  Always strikes me as ironic the two towns are separated by thousands of miles, because they’re essentially the same, exact place.  Give or take.

  • Cleveland’s sports talk shows were buzzing all weekend about changes new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam may or may not make. (For my thoughts on the Browns being owned by a self-proclaimed Steelers fan, read the last Shek List here:  Anecdotally, I can report more than half the people I heard are anxious to move on from the Mike Holmgren era – and I don’t get it.  Sure, I understand why the long-suffering Dawg Pound is akin to a flinching pooch who’s been kicked once too often, but it seems to me Holmgren & Co are assembling a nice team around high-pedigree guys like Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, and Trent Richardson, and (at least potentially) good youngsters like (newly-anointed starter) Brandon Weeden, Greg Little, Josh Gordon, Jabaal Sheard, and Phil Taylor.  In other words, why reboot now?  Your short-term problem isn’t the state of your organization.  It’s the quality of the three other organizations in your division.  And yeah, weird as it is to say, I’m including the Bengals in that trio.
  • More importantly, Browns, do not change your uniforms.
  • Being in the Rust Belt the last few days provided no shelter from all the latest Tebow & The Other Guy news.  Seems to me the debate about who’s a better quarterback isn’t just silly (Mark Sanchez may not be in the upper half of starting NFL QBs, but he’s better than Mr. Muscle), it avoids the bigger problem.  The real area of concern for the Jets should be who’s gonna catch Sanchez’s passes and Tebow’s wounded ducks.  Yes, Santonio Holmes is still one of the five best wide receivers in the AFC.  After him, though, the options are spare.  Dustin Keller, who annually disappears two weeks before Halloween?  Rookie Stephen Hill, who spent his college years doing little more than blocking in Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense?  Jeremy Kerley?  Chaz Schilens?!  Yikes.
  • Allow me to be the two-billionth human to marvel at Usain Bolt’s latest 100-meter blowout.  It’d be one thing if his margin of victory came against Vince Wilfork, John Kuhn, or Dave Dameshek… but he smoked the half-dozen or so other fastest people on the face of the earth.  It’s a question usually (and wrongly) associated with Wayne Gretzky, but when was the last time we saw any other athlete who’s that much better than his guys he’s going up against?  Have we ever seen it?
  • The good news for Bolt doesn’t stop at the Olympic gold medal: I hereby declare ‘Usain Bolt’ is the newest inductee of the Hall of Name, joining fellow sports legends with equally legendary names, like: Cassius Clay; Mickey Mantle; Johnny Unitas; Bronko Nagurski; Dick Butkus; and Mario Lemieux, which in French roughly – and fittingly – translates to “the best”).  Mazel tov, Bolt!  Your gold nametag is in the mail.
  • All jive aside, Bolt, when are you gonna give the NFL a shot?  You’re way bigger than Willie Gault, Ron Brown, or Ronaldo Nehemiah, and you couldn’t possibly be as big a pain in the butt as T.O., Randy Moss, and Chad 85.  For the love of Chaz Schilens, do the right thing, wouldya?
  • I ran into Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, who was in town to see Curtis Martin’s induction, as he came out of Hall of Fame’s bust room.  He was nice enough to yap with me for a few minutes about Tebow & The Other Guy, the media circus around said QBs, and the latest Santonio reclamation project (all of which you can hear on Episode #83 of ‘The Dave Dameshek Football Program:  Even if you’re a diehard Pats fans, you gotta admit it’s cool Tannenbaum not only showed up to support one of his guys, but actually took a spin around the Hall.
  • Are natives of Canton, Ohio, known as ‘Cantonese’?  And if not, why not?  Furthermore, is there a good place to get Cantonese food in Canton?  If there isn’t, it’s a shame.
  • Yes, I asked Mike Tannenbaum these questions.  Sadly, he provided zero insight.
  • Terrell Owens joining the Seahawks oughta be terrific.  Not for the Seahawks, obviously, but for the rest of us.  Wonder if he’ll be able to pull off the hat trick of blaming all three quarterbacks for not getting him the ball.  (I bet he can.)
  • No offense to Colin Farrell or anyone else who worked on the new ‘Total Recall’, but I consider the movie’s critical and popular failure to be moral justice delivered by the Gods of Stuff That Was Already Good.  Enough with these remakes of perfect films.  Should someone take a crack at rewriting ‘The Great Gatsby’?  Rebuilding a Frank Lloyd Wright house?  Repainting the Mona Lisa?  (Come to think of it, scratch that last one.  I don’t really get what’s so great about this Mona girl.  She shoulda been named Plain Jane.  I’m not saying she’s downright homely, but she sure ain’t foxy, either.  I give her a 6.5 at best.)
  • Uh-oh, I think I just opened a can of worms in my dumb brain.  Now I have to go back and rate every woman in every famous painting ever.
  • And by the way, we no longer need fictional accounts of what it’s like on Mars.  The real thing is much cooler (  Seriously.  Bolt, Phelps, and the new Hall of Famers all deserve to be celebrated… but can we get a gold medal or gold jacket or gold something for the (presumably unathletic) people at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California?
  • The Uniform Monitor’s key takeaway from Canton: Pitt needs to go to the helmets like the one under the glass in Curtis Martin’s display (  And I don’t mean in two or three years.  Get some spray paint and some decals before this season’s kickoff, Panthers.
  • Fact: There’s a Chinese Olympian named Dong Dong who won a gold medal in trampolining, which raises the question: just exactly who in crap decided trampolining was a sport?
  • Now that we’ve landed on Mars, it won’t be very long ’til Commish Goodell explores the possibility of putting a team up there.  How ’bout we put T.O., Moss, and Chad 85 on the next rocket to the Red Planet to get things started?

Be a dear and drop me a line in the comments section down below or on Twitter @Dameshek.  Even though I’m sure I’m right, I’m also sure you’re sure I’m wrong.  Lemme know about.  Much obliged…

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