Thursday, November 30, 2006

What's Tony Grossi Up To?

If you read Tony Grossi's article in this morning's Plain Dealer, you'll find a relatively straightforward portrayal of the turmoil surrounding the Browns and Coach Romeo Crennel. That story comes with a relatively tame headline as well--"Drama, questions build with Edwards, Crennel." About the only thing noteworthy in the story is Grossi's continuation of the Cleveland print media's tradition of damning Crennel with faint praise ("To his credit, Crennel...maintained his composure and class, as usual, during another day of uncomfortable interrogation about his job status.").

However, The Plain Dealer is pushing the "Crennel is on his way out" story line a lot harder on the Internet. The headline on the front page of its website this morning features a photo of Romeo Crennel along with the headline "Days Numbered?" (Update: not anymore. You'll have to trust me on this one.) It links not to Tony Grossi's article in this morning's paper, but to his podcast from yesterday morning. You should definitely listen to that podcast, because it is pretty explosive. In it, Grossi says a number of things, including:

  • One of the biggest reasons he thinks Crennel is on the way out is that WTAM, the radio mouthpiece of the Browns, is starting to talk about his ouster. I think Tony Grossi is the first guy in the media to openly acknowledge what fans have long known--WTAM and its hosts are little more than spokespeople for the Cleveland Browns' front office.
  • Grossi insists that Jim Tressel is interested in the Browns job (something I personally can't imagine to be true), and is definitely "on the radar screen."
  • Business issues are factoring into the coaching decision. Grossi says there were suite cancellations after Sunday's fiasco, and that the Browns feel a need to bring in a coach of Tressel's stature in order to regain the support of the fans and the business community.
  • Crennel has to win at least three of the last five games in order to keep his job.
Why the PD is softpeddling this in the print edition, while pushing Grossi's views so hard online? Perhaps the answer lies in the stormy relationship that Grossi's had with the team's ownership in the past. There's a lot of history between Grossi and the Browns, and when it comes to a story like this one, his approach to reporting it may reflect a self-preservation strategy born out of a healthy distrust of the team's front office.

As everybody knows, nobody managed to get under Art Modell's skin quite like Tony Grossi did. If I recall correctly, the last time that Grossi was ahead of the curve on a coaching change, it involved Bud Carson. Grossi reported just prior to the Browns v. Broncos regular season game in 1990 that Carson's job was on the line. The Browns, and Modell in particular, went nuts, alleging that Grossi never checked his facts with them before running the story. I think that Grossi ended up being removed from the Browns beat for a while as a result of that mess.

The Browns beat the Broncos that week, and Bud lived on, only to be fired a few weeks later, just as Grossi said he would be.

I've always had a sneaking suspicion that Grossi was set up by the Browns back then, and I'm sure that left him with a lingering distrust of the team's front office. Given the fact that this version of the front office has already shown a penchant for intrigue (e.g., the Collins coup and the Carthon resigfiring), that distrust is probably well placed. So, Grossi's different approaches to this story in print and online may be pretty shrewd -- he gets the real story out online, relies on idiots like me to write crap like this pointing you in the direction of his podcast, and covers his butt with the powers that be by softpeddling it in print.


Anonymous said...

The only thing missing here is Deepthroat...

Hornless Rhino said...

Wait until I tell you who really killed JFK.

Anonymous said...

Mary Kay Cabot's behind the whole things. Those jealous women.

Erik said...

I think Grossi has been on the Browns beat for too long. He's starting to write like he believes his articles are influencing the outcomes of things. That's a bad line to cross if you're a journalist.

He started going from objective observer to participant when the Browns left. It hasn't gotten any better in the past 11 years.

If it were up to me, I'd remove Grossi and Cabot from the Browns beat and get some new blood in there.

Anonymous said...

Ah, great minds think alike. I just posted about pretty much the same subject, and then in checking around I see you have simliar suspiscions/questions. I should have read yours before I posted.

Personally, I have a hard time stomaching Grossi's podcasts. But I listen occasionally, just to see what he's up to.

I appreciate the history. I didn't know alot of that background.

Erik- I think that the PD is working on getting some new blood in there. Lately I've seen some stories by unfamiliar names. Not alot, as Grossi and Cabot are still 95% of the stories, with Shaw and Livinston jumping in for the pile-on.

Anonymous said...

Bud Shaw pretty much threw Crennel under the bus a few days ago.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Grossi hasn't written with rose-colored glasses at all most of this season, even while many others were fawning over the "improving" Browns.

Don't know if there's much more to it than Grossi probably being sickened by watching this crap year in and year out. But it's fun to speculate.

Chris McVetta said...

I'm just tired or Crennel being treated like a cuddly "Care Bear" with his, aw shucks, we could probably do better approach.

I think it's time for Randy Lerner to open up his checkbook (again) - and get Charlie Weis here, into Cleveland, and the NFL.

Bring in Brady Quinn and make it a package deal!

And if The Hornless Rhino disagrees with me, then let him chomp me on the foot and drag me underwater like some disgruntled Shamu at Sea World.

(Hey, not that I'm comparing The Hornless Rhino to a killer whale or anything ...God knows, I could use a few sets with the Suzanne Somers "ab cruncher" on QVC me self!!!)

I'm just saying!

Anonymous said...

No Brady Quinn please. I will not be subjected to another rookie QB with no o-line and running game. Not again.

I want him and those "his sister is married to AJ Hawk" stories as far away from the Browns as possible.

Offensive linemen or Adrian Peterson.

Chris McVetta said...


I understand where you're coming from, but I still have to disagree.

I think that The Raiders passing on Matt Leinart is going to haunt them for years to come.

So, unless another Drew Brees is on the free agent horizon, you must take a franchise quarterback if one is sitting there.

The Bengals drafted numerous top round quarterback busts ...but they finally got it right with Carson Palmer (Could you imagine if they passed on HIM ...for an offensive lineman???).

Other than that, I'm with you on taking a franchise running back, as well, with a high draft pick ...and fix the offensive line any other way you can.

But, I have to confess, I'm with you again on Quinn's sister and her bizarre "love triangle" ...that was way over the top.

Anonymous said...

but the Raiders already had Robert Gallery (supposedly a franchise tackle) and they went after Aaron Brooks (mistakenly) figuring they could be fine. They at least had a veteran QB and used picks on linemen before.

The Browns keep neglecting the line, year after year and sign older, average free agents (Terry Pluto freaked out about Joe Andruzzi for the simple fact that the Browns signed a guard to play guard. Think about that for a second).

If somehow they get the number 1 pick, I'd trade down for as many picks as possible (this year and next). The Browns will have no o-line and no running game, throwing a rookie QB back there won't accomplish much.

Also, I'm not that sold on Quinn in the first place. Now, if they want to trade down and take a linemen AND Troy Smith... I'd be down for that

Hornless Rhino said...


I've been called a lot worse than Shamu. Come to think of it, being called a hornless rhino is probably worse than being called Shamu.

I'm a Fighting Irish fan like you, but I'm with Ben when it comes to drafting Brady Quinn. Sure, nobody throws the ball against service academies or North Carolina like Quinn, but not only hasn't he won a national title, he hasn't beaten USC or even won a bowl game for that matter.

And boy, am I ever tired of losing to USC...

The bottom line is that Quinn has posted incredible numbers, just not when it mattered most. There are all sorts of reasons why that might not be his fault, but there's enough there to make me pretty leery of the latest product from the Notre Dame hype machine.

I'd prefer to take my chances on a tackle, and let somebody else spring for Quinn's new Bentley.

Chris McVetta said...

Well, you guys have spoken... so I guess time will tell.

Regardless, it doesn't look like The Browns will be in the position to draft Quinn at this point.

I'd still go for drafting a quality running back, for what it's worth (not much?).

At least, NOW, we won't have to worry about that "Sharon Reed and Laura Quinn go shopping for shoes" on the next "19 Crackhead News" segment...

And, as Hornless Rhinos go, you write pretty well ...Hornless Rhino guy!