by Dan Menningen

On recent episode of The Chris Fillar Show (Sundays 8-11 am), Chris and I stumbled onto an interesting observation.

The story of the Cleveland Browns is very similar to Game of Thrones, even down to the characters.

A football team in real life that is universally panned has a direct coloration George R.R. Martin’s novels turned TV show that universally acclaimed. Sounds absolutely absurd, right? Well, lets venture down King’s Road (or Lou Groza Boulevard)  and I will prove it along the way.

First, special thanks to Chris Fillar for the help with this list and to the folks on Twitter who tossed in suggestions. Second, and possibly most important,


If you are not caught through season seven, episode five, of Game of Thrones, stop reading this, buy a giant bag of popcorn, a case of your favorite energy drink and get to work. There are 65 hours of unbelievable television ahead of you and compared to that, this column can wait. Trust me, I know this column can wait, I wrote it.

Mike Holmgren is Robert Baratheon

Lets get the obvious out of the way, both are rather portly fellows, but the similarities go deeper than that. Robert led a rebellion to rid Westeros of the Mad King and was known through out the Seven Kingdoms as a fierce warrior. When he won the war and he sat upon the Iron Throne, he realized that he wanted nothing to do with ruling. All he wanted to do was fight, hunt, eat and drink.

Mike Holmgren made three Super Bowls, won one and was considered one of the best coaches in NFL history. When he retired from coaching, he took a boat load of money to be the president of the Browns. When he got there, he realized that he didn’t want to oversea everything. He wanted nothing to do with the day to day operations of an NFL franchise. He just wanted to drive around the Browns facility on his golf cart in his Hawaiian shirts, give jobs to his buddies and joy ride around town on his motorcycles.

Both were also tossed off the Iron Throne.

Chris Tabor is Lord Varys

How does this happen? Lord Varys has lasted through five changes in leadership as the Master of Whispers on the King’s/Queen’s small council. Chris Tabor has made through four coaching changes and four front office changes as the Browns special teams coach.

You don’t make it through that many changes in leadership unless you are really good at your job, or you know something. Varys both knows things, and is there for good at his job. Tabor is definitely good at his job, and in an organization that goes through more coaches than Walder Frey goes through wives, he must know something.

Johnny Manzel is Joffery Baratheon

I wish I was smart enough to come up with this one. Well done Rob. Both loved nothing more than telling people they were a big deal, but when it boiled down to it, they did not want to put the work in. They were both giant distractions and did nothing to further the realm. By the end, everybody hated them. Do you blame Olenna Tyrell for ending the madness? Speaking of Olenna Tyrell…

Dee Haslem is Olenna Tyrell

Shout out to Chris Fillar for this one. Both are wise and extremely cunning. Both seem to run everything from the inside and no one truly knows how much influence they have on their particular realms. They seem to find themselves in the middle of all major decisions. Olenna was in the middle of the assassination of Joffery, so that the more stable Tommen Baratheon could take the throne and marry her granddaughter, Margery Tyrell. Dee definitely had her hand in the moves made by her husband, Jimmy Haslem, we just have no idea how much she was involved.

Bernie Kosar is Bran Stark 

The Three-Eyed Raven can see all from a distance. He can see the past and he can see what the future beholds before we all can. Bernie sits in his restaurant and watches as the Browns make wrong move after wrong move. He will even try to tell them what the real problem is, they just never seem to listen or if they do it is too late. Bran tries to tell everyone what the future holds, the real question is will anyone listen?

Yeah, the broken body part is true as well Adam.

Paul Depodesta is Samwell Tarly

Where is Paul? Does anyone know where he is? Anyone?

All we know is that he works for the Browns and he will occasionally appear to talk with the media and then he disappears again. All he does is send spreadsheets and research findings to aid the Browns in player selection. Sam is doing the same thing for Jon Snow.

He is at the Citadel reading and researching the history of the realm enroute to becoming a maester, and when he finds something that could help Jon take down the white walkers, he sends a raven.

Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown, Barkevious Mingo and all the other failed first round picks are the Sand Snakes

Book readers tell me that the Sand Snakes and Dorne in general get a bad wrap in the TV show. That in the books, the Sand Snakes are these legendary killers that use all kinds of different poisons to kill their enemies. and are extremely intimidating. Here is what I know,

College Football Watchers are A Song of Ice and Fire Book Readers

They both watch the game/show and tell you how the book/college is different and how these characters/players would be better if they were put in better positions to succeed. Guess what? They weren’t, and now they are washed out of the league, just like how the Sand Snakes were washed out of the show and both are a major disappointment.

If there was something there, Benihoff and Weiss would have crafted time for me to see it on the show. Same with the failed picks, if there was something there, Belicheck would have shown me by now.

Deshone Kizer is Jon Snow


The entire lead up to the draft we were told that Mitch Trubisky was the quarterback that should be taken with the first pick in the draft. He was the local kid with a lot of intangibles that people seemed to like. There was a lot of Pat Mahommes buzz, a lot of Deshawn Watson buzz, but right under our nose was Deshone Kizer.

The kid from Toledo, who got a bad rap from his coach at Notre Dame, with a rocket arm and great mobility that is just starting to shine. Jon Snow was the character that hung around in the background as Nedd Stark, Robb Stark, Sansa Stark-Lannister-Bolton-Stark got all the attention. He went to Castle Black where the Head of The Night’s Watch gave him a bad rap. He has all the potential to be great and we are now starting to see that blossom, even if he isn’t the first, second or even third choice to rule.

Hue Jackson is Daenerys Targaryen

Dany grew up across the Narrow Sea in exile. She used her time to build an army, free the slaves, gain the trust of the Dothraki and rule the city of Meereen. She made some mistakes along the way, but she learned from them and is wiser and more fit to rule now.

Hue Jackson learned across the Mississippi River at various colleges in California before he came to the NFL. He was the head coach in Oakland for a season before being fired and really cut his chops as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinniti Bengals. He made mistakes as well, but he has learned from those and now has built an army, that with the right strategy, and some time to grow could be something special. They both have something else in their arsenal

Myles Garrett is Drogon

One word is said, and that word means impending doom for all who oppose. Also, 10 points to whoever can Photoshop Hue’s head on Dany and Myles Garrett’s head on Drogon.

If you have any other comparisons, you can send them to me on twitter @thesportsfeller  or via email Just please don’t send them on Sunday nights from 9-10 pm because Game of Thones is on.

Remember, winter is coming and the north remembers…


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