Bye, George


It’s a trick right out of television sweeps months — kill off a character, raise your ratings. Now the Cleveland Browns have joined in the fun. Word is trickling out of the team’s Berea headquarters that Browns general manager George Kokinis has been fired.

As sweeps month stunts go, it’s not exactly Dr. Romano being smashed to death by a helicopter on “E.R.” Heck, it’s not even the death of Maude Flanders on “The Simpsons.” It’s more in line with one of the redshirts on “Star Trek” dying during a trip to a hostile planet while Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy go unscathed. You know, some guy you’d never seen before on the show accompanies the stars on a mission and dies within five minutes of beaming down. If Eric Mangini, Derek Anderson, and Kokinis were all beamed to Soldier Field for the Bears game, you can bet Kokinis was wearing the red shirt.

Among those responsible for the Browns’ disastrous season, Kokinis deserves about as much blame as the practice-squad players. From the moment he was hired critics claimed that Mangini held all the power. Indeed, it seems that Mangini hand-picked Kokinis as his GM, then tied him up and threw him in a closet. Kokinis became the see-no GM, hear-no GM, speak-no GM. If anyone heard anything from him it was most likely in the form of a message inside a bottle that washed up on the beach at Edgewater Park.

78675-129981-jack-of-hearts_largeA few years ago, another Cleveland native, Brian Michael Bendis, shook up the classic Marvel Comics book “The Avengers” by killing off Ant-Man, Jack of Hearts, and Hawkeye. That’s right, Jack of Hearts was in The Avengers, the superhero group that also features Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. This isn’t exactly Cleveland Browns Disassembled.

Jack of Hearts? That’s who George Kokinis was. Just a guy. An expendable guy. A guy who could be killed off during sweeps month for dramatic effect, to get people to tune in, to make it seem like something was going on. He’s been thrown to the wolves.

For George Kokinis, the bye week really is the bye week. Unfortunately Captain Mangini, DA Spock, and Dr. Offensive Line will return in next week’s episode. Touchdowns probably won’t. And we’ll remember the George Kokinis era for, uh, er, ummmmmmmmmmmm, well, for wondering what the heck George Kokinis ever actually did.

Besides get killed off during sweeps month.


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