The Ballad of Mad Dog, Chip and The Coach

Mike Junkin Cleveland Browns

A new era dawned in Eighty Five
Eight and eight and the playoffs once Art’s “son” arrived
A tough end to Eighty Six, 98 yards and a high kick to the side
Though the real loss came months prior when Don Rogers died
Still the gleam was revealed to the team, by the coach

They were suddenly without an offensive engineer
When Infante bolted to the land of cheese and beer
And though Accorsi was GM, decisions were made
By Art’s committee of men who’d be easily swayed
By the new supreme chief, the instiller of belief, the coach

But they were built to contend, the defense was defined
With barking like dogs, which the crowd got behind
Convinced that we could ride to a championship
With the linebacking crew of Clay, Johnson and Chip
From the bleachers, on up to the teacher, the coach

photo3Compared Chip to LT, did observers of the day
Offenses game planned to keep him at bay
But he avoided a spring program, sat the bench on third downs
The coach soured on Chip, wanted him out of town
The call was made, deference paid, to the coach

The Eighty Seven college draft soon drew near
The scouts liked Shane Conlan, it was increasingly clear
Another linebacker, out of Duke, saw his stock on the rise
And by draft day, the scouts couldn’t believe their eyes
Over the trade (despite plans they’d made) by the coach

Chip was dealt to the Chargers for the fifth overall pick
Shock was the reaction, universal and quick
A “mad dog in a meat market” was the new guy’s rep
A term given by a team scout, forever labeling the misstep
Of the man in charge—a mistake that loomed large, by the coach

Slow and unathletic for the NFL
Amid high expectations, perhaps he just needed to gel
He picked off a pass for a TD in Green Bay
Though he’d been in the wrong spot when he made the play
Admitted his boss (and made it feel like a loss), the coach

By Eighty Nine, Art no longer gave a flip
About Marty Ball and winning at a 62 percent clip
And after two years of injury, Mad Dog failed to stick
They sent him away for a fifth round pick
To Kansas City’s new Chief (in a recurring motif), the coach

  • Mike Bogucci

    Proofread. Or i am an idiot. I couldnt get past four sentences. Punctuation can be your friend.
    EDIT: I am INDEED an idiot. Sorry Greg. I didnt realize what you were doing. I SUCK! Aaaarrrggghhhh

  • Harv

    Ah, the perils of giving all the power in an org to one guy. What made passing up Conlan especially egregious was that the defense needed him badly. I met a guy who was a 4th string linebacker scrub behind Conlan at Penn State and told me such a great story about him – wish there was the format to repeat it here.

    I remember one season when Marty and one of his scouts were trumpeting the use of something called “the box,” which tried to measure a defensive lineman’s quickness in a confined area and was supposedly predictive of NFL success. One guy they brought in scored off the charts in the box and Marty was heartbroken when the Steelers drafted him first (Aaron somebody, I think). And of course the guy washed out quickly. Accorsi might have been average but at least had as many hits as misses and foresight to grab good USFL players as it collapsed made those ’80s playoff teams possible.

  • Greg Popelks

    Yeah, the USFL took Brian Sipe, but it yielded Mack, Minnie, Fike I think, m Johnson, McNeil, and Lindy Infante. Let me know if I’m missing anyone.

    And Bogucci my man- no self loathing allowed! Haha thanks for reading.

  • Harv

    you hit the main USFL guys. Greg. What’s amazing is that those guys were major cogs in every aspect of the strong ’80s teams, as if the Browns were given 5 extra first or second rounders and hit on every one of them: Mack the rb, Fike on the OL, Minniefield in the defensive secondary, Mike Johnson at lb and McNeil on ST. Every one was a pro bowler or borderline. Too bad that method for talent infusion is not repeatable. These days the Browns seem to have two first rounders every year and turn them into almost nada.

  • mgbode

    I somehow missed this one until today Greg. And, honestly, I am glad that I read it today. A perfect way to start off NFL Draft Day!

  • Greg Popelka

    Pretty telling that a 1st rd Browns draft pick in the late 80s is known as a type of ‘dog’, and it’s not spelled ‘dawg.’

  • mgbode

    80s marketing was way behind the marketers of today. There would be several versions of shirts and merchandise available for Junkin if it was today.

    (1) Mad Dawg Junkin (with Dawg Pound logo beneath the words, which are in the new font)
    (2) Dawg Pound (with Junkin’s number beneath the Dawg Pound logo)
    (3) Junk(in) Yard Dawg

    #3 would then double as a new section within the Dawg Pound that up-charges by $5 for the worst seats in that area because you are part of “Junkin’s Crew”