Will the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl this year?
Well, Butte-Silver Bow officials had better hope so.
Last week, Butte-Silver Bow commissioners brought to our attention that the county laid $30,000 worth of sod directly on top of gravel outside our new baseball stadium at Copper Mountain Park.
A bewildered Bill Anderson, the District 10 commissioner, had the lowly Browns on his mind when he surveyed the situation.
“The Cleveland Browns have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl this year than this grass living into next year,” Anderson told The Montana Standard.
Now, my friend Bill is no Ace Rothstein, but it does not take an expert gambling handicapper to tell you that the Browns winning the Super Bowl is pretty farfetched. Actually, it is darn near impossible considering the Browns won five or fewer games in eight of the last nine years.
Cleveland once again posted the worst record in the National Football League last season. The Browns won one game and lost 15.
Going worst to first in the NFL has been done before, so there is some hope for Public Works Director Dave Schultz, the man who should be sweating this sod situation the most.
In 1998, the St. Louis Rams went 4-12. The next year, they went 13-3 and won the Super Bowl when former grocery store stock boy quarterback Kurt Warner rose to fairytale fame by winning the NFL MVP.
No team has ever gone from 1-15 to Super Bowl champions in one season, though an optimist would point out that the 1992 Cowboys won the Super Bowl after going 1-15 three years earlier.
A pessimist, however, would tell you that the Browns have no Herschel Walker to trade away and no sucker to trade with like the Cowboys had.
The Browns spent their first pick of the April draft on Myles Garrett, a so-called can’t-miss defensive end from Texas A&M. Cleveland, by the way, is a graveyard for can’t-miss draft picks who missed badly.
The Browns added Michigan Safety Jabrill Peppers and Miami tight end David Njoku in the first round. They also picked up Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round.
That is a pretty good draft haul, but none of those draft picks have any grocery story experience listed on their résumés.
Vegas Insider has the Browns as a 250-to-1 longshot to win Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. Those are long odds, but it could be worse for Schultz’s magical sod. The San Francisco 49ers are 300-to-1 longshots, while the New York Jets find themselves in a 500-1to-1 hole.
When bookies make such large bets — like the one Schultz made placed on the sod with our hard-working tax dollars — they hedge their bet.
So it would not be a bad idea for the public works director with such a possible public goof hanging over his head to put $120 on the Browns to capture the Lombardi Trophy.
That would pay $30,000 needed for another round of sodding.
Actually, he should put down $180. If the sod dies, we’ll have to pull it up, put down (by Schultz’s estimate) $10,000 to $15,000 worth of soil, and then put another $30,000 in sod.
Whatever happened to the days when you could get dirt-cheap dirt?
Schultz told the paper that he is not a “sod expert,” as if we did not realize that when guys under his direction laid sod on gravel that appeared to have been packed down by a steamroller.
Even though anybody with a garden would have told him to lay the sod on soil, Schultz defended the county by pointing out that sod on gravel at the Skyline Park took root.
Sure, a Little Leaguer might get a hit once if he closes his eyes when he swings. That doesn’t mean you send the rest of the team to the plate blindfolded.
I did not get a look at the gravel at the Skyline Park before it was covered, but I saw what they put the sod on top of at Copper Mountain. The grass was put down as a last-minute touchup around Miners Field at 3 Legends Stadium before the Butte Muckers hosted the Southern District Tournament.
I literally stood there mouth agape as I watch grass being placed down on what looked like a parking lot. So when I saw Anderson’s comparison to the Browns winning the Super Bowl, frankly, I thought he was being overly optimistic.
A friend of mine is the superintendent at a golf course in a fairly big city. I shared with him the story in the paper, and be called laying sod over gravel “one of the dumber things I have seen.”
He quoted one of his favorite sayings of one of his formers bosses. “We don’t have enough money to do it right, but we have enough to do it twice?”
My friend added, “They should have just painted it (the gravel) green if that’s what they were going to do.”
Like Schultz, I am no expert when it comes to laying sod.
Four years ago, I did a ton of work in my yard to get it ready for a sodding project.
I did not put in a sprinkling system like I probably should have, and I apparently did not bring in enough good soil. It never occurred to me to pack down gravel.
Plus, I have a grass-killing female dog, and the yard isn’t all that big.
So, half my grass didn’t survive the winter. I tried fighting the decline of grass each year until I finally gave up on my dirt patch for good this year.
Instead of more sod, I’m going to try some different type of landscaping. I might even get artificial grass to make my yard look good.
The good news, though, is my mistakes with sod did not cost me or other taxpayers $30,000. The pallet of sod, which covers 500 square feet, cost about $500.
I can make that up with one $2 bet on the Browns.
— Bill Foley, who will also put pair of George Washingtons on the 49ers, Jets and 175-to-1 Bears, writes a column that appears Tuesday on ButteSports.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74