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Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Cleveland fans' choice: Johnny Manziel over Jim Brown


This is my favorite sports story ever. As noted by  Awful Announcing, the website Cleveland.com -- essentially the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a fine newsgathering operation -- sought to stage an online version of March Madness by having a bracket contest involving Cleveland-area players .

(Writes Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises: "This isn't greatest athlete or favorite athletes." So what is it? Best singing voice? But I digress.)

In the Browns bracket, the No. 16 seed was Johnny Manziel. He was pitted against the No. 1 seed. In NCAA tournament history, no No. 1 seed has been felled by a No. 16. In the annals of Cleveland.com, a monumental upset just occurred.

With 68.22 percent of the vote, Johnny Football -- who's no longer a Brown -- toppled the No. 1 seed, who's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (The actual vote was 7,508 to 3,498, making this, percentage-wise, a bigger landslide than LBJ over Goldwater.) This might have been a case of some wise acres having an internet giggle (LOL!), but that wouldn't explain Bob Feller, LeBron James and Archie Griffin -- the No. 1 seeds in the Indians, Cavaliers and Buckeyes brackets -- winning their Round 1 matchups with 96.49, 83.37 and 94.57 percent of the vote, respectively.

Could this have been a newfangled example of advanced analytics trumping old-line numbers, a Trout-over-Miggy thing? Not exactly. We present the NFL stats of Browns seeds No. 16 and No. 1.

Manziel: 14 games; 147 completions in 258 attempts; 1,675 yards passing; 259 yards rushing; seven touchdown passes; one rushing touchdown; seven interceptions.

The No. 1 seed: 118 games; 12,312 yards rushing and 2,499 receiving; 126 touchdowns scored; three touchdown passes (on 12 career attempts).

As faithful correspondent Wayne Brown of Tuskegee, Ala., noted: "That's like voting Nick (Swaggy P) Young over Magic, Kareem or Jerry West as Greatest Laker Ever." (Actually, it's worse. Swaggy P has shown he can play a bit. Manziel has shown he can get himself cut.)

Maybe we're being too hard on the 7,508 discerning voters who supported Johnny ex-Football. Maybe they're young. Maybe they never saw the No. 1 seed play. Maybe they have no access to YouTube. (Though apparently they've access to Cleveland.com.) Maybe they forgot the NFL championship the No. 1 seed helped the city claim. (But doesn't everyone up there know 1964 as the year of Cleveland's most recent pro title?)

Or maybe they just forgot who the No. 1 seed was, which is understandable. The No. 1 seed wore No. 32 for the Cleveland Browns. His name is Jim Brown.


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.