Playoffs are Underway!

The NBA regular season ended on April 10th. The playoffs began a few days later on the 13th. The regular season is always full of ups and downs for every team. Obviously, there are plenty of teams that are rebuilding and had no shot but one team that did not make the playoffs was the Lakers. Why is this significant? This is his first time since 2005 that LeBron’s team is not in the playoffs. Has it hurt the tv ratings? Of course it has, they are down 14%. Even though LeBron is not in the playoffs the show must go on. I wanted to take a look at the first round match ups that have completed and the current second round series. I also want to take a look at what teams are actual contenders. Can anyone knock off the defending champs?

In the Eastern Conference, the number one seed Bucks took on the Pistons and swept the series. The two seed Raptors played the Magic and lost the opening game but got back on track and won the next 4 to advance. The three seed Sixers took on the Nets and won in 5 games. The final first round series in the East was the Pacers vs. the Celtics. The Celtics did not live up to expectations in the regular season but they showed up and swept the Pacers. In the Western Conference, the Warriors had a little trouble with the Clippers winning in six games. The Nuggets beat the Spurs in a seven game series. The Trailblazers knocked out the Thunder in 5 games. In the final series the Rockets beat the Jazz in 5 games setting the stage for a rematch with the Warriors.

Usually the second round brings much better competition. Only 8 teams remain and all 8 are quality teams. In the West, the Warriors have their hands full with the Rockets, but they are up 2-0 in the series, yet it is far from over. Hopefully the series outshines all of the complaining the players have done about the referees. The other series features the Trailblazers and Nuggets. The series is tied at 1 game a piece. Both of these teams are very good and will be able to showcase their skills in primetime. The Eastern Conference features the Bucks and Celtics with the series tied at 1 game a piece. The other series is a match-up of the Sixers and Raptors. The Sixers hold the slight lead at two games to one.

Picking a winner out of the remaining teams is very difficult. I actually believe that all 8 teams could make a run and contend for the championship. However, betting against the defending champs is always a bad idea in my book. Until the Warriors are beaten, I can’t pick against them. Good luck to all of the fans that have a team still in the fight. Watching meaningful playoff games sure beats sitting around waiting for the Zion Sweepstakes!

—Victor Mandalawi

2019 Men’s NCAA Tourney

The men’s NCAA Tourney is usually referred to as March Madness. The tournament is played out in 63 games over the span of a couple of weeks, not including the play-in games. The tournament venues are spread throughout the country with ultimately 4 regional sites determining the Final Four participants. I personally think it is a fabulous tournament that offers so much entertainment value. I wanted to take a look at the 4 regions and any upsets that might have occurred in each. I would also like to review the Final Four and Championship Game. Lastly, I wanted to highlight some of the best games in the tournament.

The West Region was led by #1 seed Gonzaga followed by Michigan, Texas Tech, and Florida State. Some would argue that this was the weakest of all regions on paper. The 4 top teams advanced to the sweet sixteen with Gonzaga beating Florida State and Texas Tech beating up Michigan. Texas Tech was able to knock off the one seed Zags and advance to the Final Four. In the Midwest region, the top four seeds were North Carolina, Kentucky, Houston, and Kansas. That bracket seemed to have plenty of firepower, but it was the number five seed Auburn Tigers knocking off Kansas, UNC, and Kentucky to advance to the Final Four. They could officially be called Giant Killers! The East Region was chalk led by Duke, Michigan State, LSU, and Virginia Tech. The Spartans were able to win out and advance to the Final Four. The South Region was represented by Virginia, Tennessee, Purdue, and Kansas State. The first round supplied two major upsets with Kansas St and Wisconsin losing but in the end the #1 seed Cavaliers advanced to the Final Four.

As always there were fantastic, edge of your seat type games in the tournament as well as great individual performances. JA Morant was able to play 2 showcase games and prove he belongs in the discussion as one of the best players in College. Carsen Edwards from Purdue was also able to show that he belongs. He played like a man possessed and almost carried Purdue to the Final Four. Duke was able to squeak by UCF in the second round and was then able to barely sneak by Virginia Tech in the third round. They were finally knocked off by Michigan State in another nail biter, losing by a point. Purdue also played in two of the best games of the tourney by beating Tennessee and losing to Virginia. Virginia was involved in three unbelievable games by beating Purdue, Auburn, and Texas Tech in consecutive games.

The Final Four featured Michigan State playing Texas Tech and Virginia playing Auburn. As mentioned earlier, Virginia was able to knock off Auburn in a fantastic game. While Texas Tech handled Michigan State in another entertaining game. In the finals Virginia was able to beat Texas Tech in an OT thriller. It was a little over a year after being the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed. I am sure the loss helped propel this team in many ways.

At the end of every tournament you can always look back and find the winning team’s defining moment, but Virginia had three of them. There might not have been as many crazy upsets in the early rounds as usual, but the quality of the games were great. Every region had games that were nail biters, with many of the final games being outstanding to view. I enjoyed this tournament as much as any in recent memory, hopefully next year provides much of the same. I will leave you with the ever popular, “One Shining Moment“.

—Victor Mandalawi

Opening Day 2019!

If you are living in a cave or you are captivated by March Madness, you may not have noticed that baseball has started. Technically, the season started a couple of weeks ago when the Mariners and A’s opened the season in Japan. However, yesterday was opening day for the remaining 28 teams. Opening day could mean nothing to you but I happen to love the day. Obviously, it marks the beginning of the season but it has other meanings to me. It usually marks the beginning of spring and the thought of warmer weather. The weather brings greener grass and blooming flowers and plants. After the dreary winter months, a little life is always welcome. Baseball is a very long season and many things can happen throughout a season, so let’s take a look at some predictions from the professionals and myself! Who will win it all? What players will be in the running for MVP and Cy Young?

The American League looks a lot like it did last year. It is very top heavy with teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros. Those three teams might be the best in baseball. When you look at the expert predictions for the AL East, the Red Sox and Yankees will certainly be selected as the division winners. The AL Central is a very weak division, but the Indians have enough pitching to get through into the playoffs. The Astros should win the AL West again with relative ease. Some of the other teams that could make a run at the playoffs are the Rays, Angels, and Twins.

The National League is wide open. You could argue that two teams in each division could win with some divisions having three teams with a legitimate shot at winning. The NL East should be decided between the Nationals and Phillies. The NL Central figures to be a three team race between the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals. However, the Reds made quite a few significant moves in the offseason to possibly make a push. The Dodgers and Rockies will most likely be the class of the NL West. A few other teams like the Padres, Mets, and Braves could possibly make a push for a wildcard slot.

Baseball has always relied on numbers and statistics to tell a story of how the season plays out. It is changing a little with analytics and advanced metrics becoming popular, but numbers still drive the game. Players that produce large numbers usually end up being in an MVP, Cy Young, or Rookie of the Year race. Check out some of these predictions by the professionals to see what players could win the awards! There are so many great players and pitchers, selecting winners for these categories is almost impossible. Don’t forget that they are selected by sportswriters who could possibly have an agenda and the votes are not always sound.

Picking a winner is a very difficult thing to do. You have a 1/30 shot and you can eliminate at least 10 to 15 teams that have no chance of winning, so your odds will go up. The playoff games can be decided by one player getting red hot and predicting that is impossible. I would like to think the Yankees will be in hot pursuit of title number 28 and the grass is getting greener so life is good!

— Victor Mandalawi

Spring Break!

What do you think of when the calendar turns to March? There are plenty of things to turn your attention to. You can think about March Madness, Major League Baseball getting underway, possibly the weather in your area improving, or just being able to get outside and work in your yard. One of my favorite things to think about this time of year is Spring Break. Spring Break is usually associated with vacations to a warm weather or beach destination. That does not always have to be the case. I wanted to take a look at all of the types of vacations that can be taken. You can choose warm weather, cold weather, a combination of both(?), or just go sight seeing.

Let’s start with warm weather vacations. There are plenty of destinations within the US or Caribbean that you can visit. Your preference of vacation will determine your location. If you like to sit at a pool or a beach and relax, you will need to visit Florida or a tourist location in the Caribbean. Destinations like Miami, Cancun, Punta Cana, and Jamaica are all very popular this time of year. If you are into entertainment and a family friendly destination then Orlando, Florida is a highly popular location. You can visit DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, or Sea World. However, theme parks are not the only attraction for families. You can visit the Kennedy Space Center or spend the day at Cocoa Beach.

Warm weather destinations are not the only place to visit. You can visit plenty of cold weather locations. Here is a great article that offers plenty of advice and locations around the country. If skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ice-fishing are your type of entertainment then you should buck the warm weather trend and enjoy yourself. What if I told you there was a place that you could enjoy a warm waterpark one day and go skiing the next day? That place would be Wisconsin Dells. A family could certainly find plenty to do in a location like that!

What if you wanted to see the sights? You could visit virtually any city you wanted. You could visit New York City and head to Times Square, Ellis Island, The Empire State Building, or view the 9/11 Memorial. You could also go to our Nation’s Capital, Washington DC. There are so many places to visit and sights to see that you could certainly fill up a week. You can also visit the Smithsonian. It is the largest museum in the world and you could probably spend days here alone. What about visiting our National Parks? There are plenty throughout the country and they have plenty of variety.

As you can see there are quite a few options for taking a vacation during spring break. I did not even mention taking a cruise or viewing MLB spring training games in Florida or Arizona. There are options for all types of people. You can go skiing, swimming, and sight seeing. Spring Break can also carry a type of symbolism for people. It usually means that Winter is coming to an end and spring is around the corner. If you are heading somewhere this month or just watching the calendar waiting for warmer weather, please have fun!

—Victor Mandalawi

All-Star Weekend!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the state of the NBA here. This week I want to write specifically about the All-Star game. It has always been one of my favorite events. I can remember as a child recording the games and re-watching them a few times. I may be wrong, but I do not think the game is as competitive as it used to be. There is very little defense that is played. Even though that has changed it is still very entertaining to watch the best players in the World show off their talent. Even though the game is fun to watch, it is the rest of the weekend’s events that make All-Star weekend great. On Friday, the Celebrity game and Rising Stars game are played. On Saturday we will get to see a skills challenge, 3 pt contest, and the ever popular dunk contest. The game will follow on Sunday. The format is different because the teams were drafted and are no longer East vs. West.

The first event of the weekend is the Celebrity game. You can watch last year’s game here. Quavo was the MVP of the game last year and will be looking to repeat the accomplishment again this year. Some of the contestants will be the retired football player Steve Smith, performing artist JB Smoove, along with retired professionals Jay Williams and Ray Allen. The Rising Stars game will follow the celeb game. The format is Team USA vs. Team World. Both rosters are stacked with tons of young talent from across the globe. In looking at the rosters, I would like to think that Team USA has the edge, but nothing is a given in competition.

The first event on Saturday will be the Skills Challenge. It will feature plenty of talent with a couple of All-Stars and a few rookie of the month winners. Almost all of the players are young, except the veteran Mike Conley. Let’s hope the old guy can hold off the youngsters, it would be a win for all of us that are aging. The 3pt contest is the next event. This should be great to watch because we have the defending champion Devin Booker, retiring all time great player Dirk, and the Curry brothers. Here is a great video showing some of the all time great performances in the shootout. Hopefully this year’s event can produce a moment like this from Larry Legend! The final event of the evening is the slam dunk contest. The contest seemed to be losing steam over the years, but the contest in 2016 featuring Gordon and Lavine really brought it back to life. I really hope that the momentum carries forward. I would love to see the contest be as popular as it was when I was younger. The best contest was quite possibly this one, but there are plenty to choose from.

The all star game will take place on Sunday and the format is just a little different than years past. The game will feature Team LeBron vs Team Giannis. They were allowed to draft their teams based on getting the most votes. Obviously, the teams are loaded with talent. Picking a winner is almost impossible. I would imagine that no defense will be played until the 4th quarter and only if the game is tightly contested. Do not be surprised if the home town player, Kemba Walker, wins the MVP award.

Even though the players do not play as hard during the game and the format has changed, the game is still very entertaining. In my opinion, the game is only a small part of the all-star weekend. I believe that all of the other contests help make up a great weekend of entertainment. I hope you will have a chance to sit down with your family and friends and enjoy a little of the action.

—Victor Mandalawi

State of the NBA

This is usually a great time during the season to start paying attention to the game. Most teams have played around 50 games, so we have a pretty good idea if a team in contention or not. You are able to weed out the pretenders at this point. Also, the all-star game and trade deadline both fall within the next couple of weeks. Even the fans of teams that are in the tank have something to look forward to because there are potential stars emerging from the college game. I wanted to take a look a closer look at who the favorites for the championship may be. I also wanted to discuss any potential trades that could shake up the landscape of the league and what college players are being coveted by the teams in the lottery.

Let’s start with the teams that are in the tank! Those teams are the Bulls, Cavs, Knicks, and Suns. Those are the 4 teams that will probably end the season with the best shot at the number one pick. There are usually a few “can’t miss” prospects every year and this year is no different. The Duke Blue Devils have two on their team, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. ESPN offers a great look here at the top prospects. Many pundits are very high on Williamson because of his combination of size, strength, and athleticism. He would certainly help put fans in the seats.

A few days ago Anthony Davis created shockwaves throughout the league by saying he would not re-sign with the Pelicans. That will cause the Pelicans to trade him so they can recoup some assets before he departs for nothing. He is a top 5 talent in the game and every team in the league would love to have him. You would think he has no say in where he should end up but that is not the case. He can not veto trades, but he can say that he will not re-sign with any team that trades for him. That will cause teams to not waste assets hoping to land him. When this move happens, it will cause major dominoes to fall. Another massive deal that has already happened was the Porzingis trade. The Knicks unloaded a few players and gained a few future picks and some decent players. The main thing they gained was cap space with the thought of targeting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. The deadline is over a week away, I am sure there will be a few more moves.

Who will win it all this year? Is it too early to make a selection? Anyone can make a prediction, but I personally do not think it will matter because the Warriors will win it all again. The Warriors have not played as well this year as they have in the past, but they are getting hot now and hold the best record in the Western Conference. They will end up with home court advantage and that should be enough to get them into the Finals. The Eastern Conference is not so clear cut in my mind. The Raptors, Sixers, Bucks, and Celtics all seem to have a legitimate shot at advancing to the finals. I think the Celtics have the most talent and they should advance. That would give us a Celtics and Warriors title matchup!

As mentioned previously, if you are fan of the NBA this is a great time to really start focusing. There has been one massive trade with the possibility of more to come. The All-Star game is around the corner and it will display the awesome talent in the league. The season is more than halfway over and teams will be looking to find their groove and start playing their best basketball heading into the playoffs. Good luck to the rest of the league but I believe the Warriors are the cream of the crop!

—Victor Mandalawi

2019 Resolutions

Every year as January begins people make resolutions for the coming year. I can only assume you have heard the term “New Year’s Resolutions”. A resolution can be anything you want to change in the coming year. You can make resolutions about your weight, health, quitting smoking, exercising, financial restraint, using your cellphone less when around people, and reading more. As you can see the amount of resolutions are endless. I want to discuss a few of the more popular resolutions that would rank near the top of the list every year. In my opinion they would be diet, exercise, and trying to quit smoking.

I want to start with arguably one of the most popular, smoking. According to the CDC, roughly 15% of adults smoke cigarettes. That number is the lowest since tracking began, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease in the country. The CDC claims that 68% of smokers want to quit. So if you made this resolution, you are not alone! There are plenty of ways to quit, selecting a method will depend on what you think will fit your needs most. You can start by setting goals to slowly eliminate cigarettes from your day. You can pinpoint your triggers. Try to eliminate the triggers from your life, thus eliminating the cigarette associated with the trigger. Another helpful way to quit smoking would be to replace the habit with something else. Instead of lighting up, pop a piece of gum or a mint. You can also try nicotine replacement. There are plenty of products available on the market to help you with this. You can get a patch, an inhaler, or an e-cigarette. You can also seek professional care. Reach out to your doctor for advice or possible medicine that could be available to assist you. Lastly, it is probably the most difficult, but you can go “cold turkey“.

Every January, gyms and fitness centers are at their busiest. This is because exercise is another wildly popular resolution. Historically, the month of January sees the most new membership signings. That is not a coincidence, it is specifically based on resolutions for the new year. Unfortunately, 80% of those new members stop coming by the second week of February. That is a pretty staggering number of people that make it only a month. I am not sure a month is a long enough opportunity for it to make a difference in your life. Stick it out a little longer if you want to see results!

Another extremely popular resolution is to lose weight through a diet. What will the popular diets of 2019 be? The trendiest seems to be the Keto diet. The keto diet requires a person to eat a very low carb diet. You will have to cut out sugars and bread. Doing this causes your body to burn stored fat for fuel. The process is called ketosis, thus the diet name. Another diet that is popular would be the Paleo diet. The diet is supposed to consist of items eaten by our ancient ancestors from the Paleolithic era. Would we be able to eat a Mammoth? Intermittent fasting is another popular diet trend. The basics of the diet call for you to eat very light for 2-3 days a week and the other days you are allowed to eat whatever you want. The oldest and truest diet is to just eat in moderation. Feel free to eat whatever you want, just watch your portions!

I think resolutions are great ideas. They are the same thing as setting goals. In my opinion, setting short term and long term goals can be very helpful on the road to success. No matter what your resolution is, you have to really want to achieve the goal or you may not. If you are dieting and do not like meat, it probably would not be a great idea to do a keto or paleo diet. On the other hand, if you are a big meat eater those diets might actually work for you. In the end, you need to set attainable goals that fit your lifestyle. Did you have any resolutions this year? If so, I wish all the best on your road!

—Victor Mandalawi

2018 In Review

Just in case you have been living in a cave or jungle without a calendar, this is a reminder that 2018 is officially over. Usually, a year seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. However, when you actually sit down and take a look at the events of the year it can really sharpen your focus. Within the United States alone there are countless news stories and events that have shaped the year. Your location within our country will most likely change your views and memories of news events. I wanted to take a look at some of the biggest weather events and sports stories that have shaped our year.

Every year and season the weather plays a huge factor on our lives. Our country has very diverse weather conditions and disasters seem to strike every year. If you live in the Northeast you most likely remember the barrage of Nor’easters throughout late winter. If you live in California you may remember the record setting heat and drought throughout the year. You would also remember the wildfires that devastated life and property. How could anyone not remember the absolute devastation caused by Hurricane Florence? If you lived anywhere in the southeast it is very likely you or someone you know was effected by this event. The hurricane itself was terrible, but the inland flooding was just as catastrophic. Hurricane Micheal was another devastating event for the southeast and more specifically the Florida Panhandle. Michael was very powerful and it set many records. Hurricanes and records being associated is not a good thing!

In the world of sports you can bet there were plenty of newsworthy events and not all of them are good. The Eagles won the Super Bowl and Alabama won the National Championship in football. In college basketball Villanova won the men’s title and Notre Dame won the women’s title in thrilling fashion. The Warriors won the NBA finals for the 3rd time in 4 years. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the world was introduced to Big Al in the Little League World Series. Did you know he hits dingers? The Washington Capitals were able to break through and finally win the Stanley Cup. Early in the year the 2018 Winter Olympics took place in South Korea. Tiger Woods not only returned to golf, but he returned to golf in a big way. He won the Tour Championship and his walk down the 18th fairway was surreal to say the least. In a despicable story, the sports world was rocked with the Larry Nassar scandal. It has altered many lives to date and will continue to for some time. Hopefully, changes can be made so this can’t happen again.

I discussed two topics and barely grazed over them at that. However, just mentioning those sports and weather stories brought back some memories from throughout the year. You begin to remember more stories that have occurred throughout the year and you realize that 365 days can sure pack a punch. It seems to be a blur, but when you really dig in the volume appears. Hopefully you had a great 2018 and I can only wish that 2019 will be even better!

Holiday Movies

Every year as the Holidays approach, television stations flood the air with Holiday themed programming.  It could be a risky decision as not everyone wants to watch Holiday shows for a month straight.  However, I think there are plenty of people that do want to watch this type of programming.  For many, it is a great way to spend time with family and friends.  It can also help people get into the “Holiday Spirit”.  Many movies have been made that are Holiday themed. I wanted to take a look at some of the most popular movies from over the years. Which movies are considered the best Holiday Movies? Does the movie need to have a Holiday scene? Does it need to be about presents?  I think this can be a very vague topic because the Holidays could have such a drastically different meaning for people.  Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Some would say it is because the events of the movie fall during a work Christmas party.  I am going to take a look at the more traditional types of movies that focus on a Holiday theme.

My personal favorite types of Christmas movies are real similar.  I would imagine it is because of my age and what seemed to be shown when I was an impressionable child.  I am very fond of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  As you can see I am into the traditional animated films that many other people enjoy.  Just because I like them does not make them the best.  

The 1940’s has a very large amount of classic Christmas themed movies that have withstood the test of time. When you look at lists of the greatest  Christmas movies of all time like this one and this one they are flooded with movies from the 40’s.  The top 5 movies of all time are from the 40’s according to Rotten Tomatoes.  I am sure there is a reason for this, but I am not a film historian and it is not that important to me to figure out why.  I can say that I have seen Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Both of these are very fine films and I usually catch pieces of each every year around this time.  

Here are a few more films that are extremely popular this time of year.  A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Elf, and The Santa Clause seem to dominate the landscape and for good reason.  They are good, clean, family friendly movies that appeal to a wide audience.  You can not forget about The Polar Express.  That movie has gone on to have great success in more areas than one.  Every year small railroads around the country use The Polar Express as a theme.  It has become quite popular and in many cases you have to buy your seats months in advance.  Here is one of the places for the themed ride.  As you can see they have turned the movie into a marketing machine by selling all kinds of merchandise based around the movie.

Another group of movies that have quite the following are Christmas comedies.  My personal favorites are Scrooged, Bad Santa, and Christmas Vacation.  These movies are not necessarily family oriented because of adult material throughout.  However, when watching them as an adult, they are much funnier than I previously thought upon my initial viewing.  I think that everyone has different taste in movies.  I also think that the selection of Holiday movies is so great that people can find whatever they are into.  The best part about watching the movies is the company you are watching them with. Cherish your family and friends and I hope you have a Happy Holidays! 

Browns Win!

Normally, I would not really get too worked up over a football game in week three.  Especially when the winning team is not your favorite team.  However, the losing football team is my favorite so I was watching the game closely.  I wanted to briefly touch on the game from the Jets side, but mainly wanted to discuss the Browns getting a win for the first time in a long time.  We can also talk about the Browns having a rookie quarterback that came in and led them to a win. What does the future hold for these two teams?

The Jets won their first game of the year in convincing style, they lost their second game in a tough battle, and they just lost their third game to the Browns.  In fairness, this was a tough game for the Jets.  They were expected to travel into a hostile environment on a short week and win with a rookie quarterback.  That was a task that proved to be too tough for Sam Darnold!  Sam Darnold seems to be the type of quarterback that will end up making a difference for his team.  The question is, when will the Jets be good again?  Let’s check back in a few years.

As mentioned before, the Browns got their first victory in 635 days last night.  That’s right, 635 days!  That is a long time between wins, but the Browns fanbase was able to make up for the lack of wins with a great celebration.  Bud Light had a genius promotion by placing locked refrigerators around the city.  The premise was that when the Browns finally got a win, the refrigerators would be opened and the fans would get a free beer.

The Browns started the season by taking the Steelers into overtime and eventually tying them in a tough game.  In the second game at New Orleans, the Browns were in control until very late when Drew Brees led the Saints to a late win.  The Browns had plenty of chances to win, but suffered a few special teams issues that eventually cost them the game.  The Browns were thoroughly outplayed in the first half of the game against the Jets.  However, their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor was pulled with a concussion.  This meant that their number 1 pick and Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, was called into duty.  He led the Browns right down the field for a field goal.  Things continued to be bright for Mayfield as he led the Browns on 3 more scoring drives with the final one around the 2 minute mark being enough to win the game.  It looks like Mayfield will end up being named the starter next week.  I think Mayfield has enough talent to stay on the field the rest of the season and that should help the Browns get a few more wins this season.

Baker Mayfield seems to be a real talent and he may end up leading the Browns out of the gutter.  However, I believe this year’s version of the Browns is different.  They have plenty more talent and certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.  They would have earned a couple of wins this year even without Mayfield at QB.  They could be sitting at 3-0 if they would have made a few kicks in other games.  Is it out of the question that the Browns end up in the playoffs this year?  Can you imagine that story, winless last year and in the playoffs the next?  I know I will be watching, how about you?

—Victor Mandalawi