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the nail in the coffin | A Cleveland sports podcast

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Episode 167 – A crash course on new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski with The Athletic’s Arif Hasan

The Browns introduced Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach on Tuesday. To learn more about the Browns’ latest hire, the guys tracked down Arif Hasan, a writer for The Athletic in Minnesota who has covered the Vikings since 2011. Hasan discusses Stefanski’s rise through the Vikings organization and how he is viewed in Minnesota, how his personality, skillset and philosophies translate into a head coaching position, and how much he will be willing to adapt to the roster he will be taking...


Episode 166 – Should old acquaintance be forgot: Browns close 2019 by cleaning house (again)

This Browns season was supposed to be different. It wasn’t, and the aftermath isn’t either: Jimmy Haslam is cleaning house and hitting the reset button once again. Head coach Freddie Kitchens was sent out the door on Sunday night, and GM John Dorsey followed on Tuesday afternoon. The guys look back on yet another year that went off the rails and take stock of the state of the franchise, from OBJ to Baker Mayfield to the Haslams, as another reboot begins. Plus: An Ohio State-Clemson game...


Episode 165 – ESPN vs. Fox Sports is college football’s hottest rivalry this year

College football’s biggest rivalry this season isn’t between any of the sport’s most familiar, storied programs. It’s ESPN, home of the College Football Playoff and proprietor of the long-running “GameDay” kickoff show, vs. Fox Sports, the irreverent upstart riding a wave of SEC fatigue and a suddenly hot pregame show of its own. Awful Announcing editor-in-chief Ben Koo, who recently wrote an in-depth analysis of the TV turf war, joins The Nail to discuss how Fox Sports has leveraged the...


Episode 164 – Climbing the mountain: Ohio State looms over rival, Browns trying to overtake theirs

Is The Game still THE game? Heading into its tilt with Michigan, Ohio State has reclaimed the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings and is steamrolling its way toward a playoff berth. The Wolverines and Coach Jim Harbaugh are still just trying to figure out how to break through for a win in this series. The guys discuss the stakes for the Buckeyes on Saturday (and whether a loss would even kill their playoff chances), the state of Michigan football under Harbaugh, and whether...


Episode 163 – On the dominant Buckeyes, ‘Maddening’ Browns, and surprisingly fun Cavs

It’s an old school edition of the Nail as the guys go around the horn on the Buckeyes, Browns and Cavs, no guests needed. First, with Ohio State rolling and star defensive lineman Chase Young set to return next week, Travis makes the case that this is the most complete Ohio State team in a generation. Plus: the biggest remaining threat on the Bucks’ schedule, way-too-early talk of an OSU-LSU national championship game, and why we’ve had so many big day games in college football this...


Episode 162 – New attractions and familiar faces: Cavs continue roster rebuild in remodeled home

It’s the start of year five for The Nail and the 50th season of Cavaliers basketball. The Cavs tipped off this week in Orlando, and their first game at the newly minted Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is set for Saturday night. The guys welcome back longtime friend of the show Mark Meszoros to shift into basketball mode, starting with first impressions of rookie guard Darius Garland and new head coach John Beilein. Plus: Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman survived early stumbles and played better over...


Episode 161 – Boomshakalaka! Journalist Reyan Ali on his new book “NBA Jam” and retro gaming’s resurgence

You remember the dunks and the signature calls. Now learn how one of the most beloved arcade games of all time came together. Columbus-based journalist Reyan Ali joins The Nail to discuss his new book, appropriately titled “NBA Jam,” which chronicles the billion-dollar blockbuster basketball game and the happenings in the arcade industry that helped make it happen. Ali shares stories from his interviews with NBA Jam’s creators, its legendary announcer, and former NBA players Shaquille O’Neal...


Episode 160 – Jeff Boals on coming home to coach the Ohio men’s basketball team

A quarter-century after helping to lead the Ohio men’s basketball team to an NCAA tournament appearance and a Preseason NIT championship as a team captain, Jeff Boals is back in Athens to guide the program as its new head coach. Boals joins The Nail to talk about returning to Southeast Ohio to take his dream job, getting students and fans excited about Ohio basketball, and going through a change in athletic directors shortly after being hired. Plus, Boals explains what he learned as an...


Episode 159 – Buckeyes, Browns and the biggest week for wrestling with Ben Axelrod

Ohio State continued to fire on all cylinders on Saturday night at Nebraska, and the Browns followed suit in a victory Sunday in Baltimore. Ben Axelrod of WKYC is back on The Nail to dive into what has been a seamless transition for the Buckeyes from Urban Meyer leading the program to Ryan Day at the helm and Justin Fields carrying the torch as OSU’s next great QB. Then, the guys discuss the Browns’ dominating win, videos of Jim Donovan calling big plays becoming a social media sensation,...


Episode 158 – Remembering Fred McLeod and trying to forget Week 1 for the Browns

It was a tough day in Cleveland as news broke that Fred McLeod, the popular, long-time Cavs play-by-play announcer, died suddenly Monday night. Will Gibson, who wrote a wonderful tribute to McLeod for WFNY, joins the show to reflect on how he won over Cavs fans with hard work, authenticity and a welcoming demeanor, and, along with broadcast partner Austin Carr, made games more fun to watch—whether he was crying tears of joy when the Cavs won the 2016 NBA championship or keeping things light...


Episode 157 – The best (yes, really!) Browns moments of the past 20 years

Call it a fool's errand or even a suicide mission, but with the Browns about to kick off their most highly anticipated season in years, the guys this week are going for the power of positivity and looking back on their favorite Browns moments from the past two decades. Sure, we've seen a lot—*a LOT*—of bad football since the franchise was relaunched in 1999. But along the way, we also got Phil Dawson bouncing a field goal off the stanchion in a victory at Baltimore, bear hugs with stadium...


Episode 156 – 13 months later, Stipe Miocic finally gets his rematch

Stipe Miocic has waited over a year since losing the UFC heavyweight title to Daniel Cormier for his rematch. On Saturday night in Anaheim at UFC 241, he finally gets the fight he—and the MMA world—have been waiting for. News-Herald sports editor Mark Podolski, who covered Miocic’s loss to Cormier last July and has been in contact with the former champion this week, joins the show to discuss whether Miocic made the right decision to wait out Cormier instead of accepting another opponent, the...


Episode 155 – Ready for launch: Browns begin training camp, Bauer plays long toss

The Browns have launched into training camp. The Indians have launched themselves back squarely into contention in the AL Central days before the trade deadline. And on Sunday, an unhappy Trevor Bauer launched a ball over the center field wall. The guys discuss Bauer’s afternoon in Kansas City and the state of the Tribe heading into the deadline. Plus: Browns training camp talk, how we lose context in video highlights on Twitter, and the countdown to the release of this year’s Madden...


Episode 154 – Pro Football HOF ready to shine on enshrinement weekend

In less than three weeks, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton will welcome its Class of 2019 during its enshrinement weekend. Brock Richards, Pro Football Hall of Fame vice president of sales and marketing, joins the show to discuss the year-round work that goes into getting ready for the Hall’s big showcase, and he previews all of the events that will be happening around the main ceremonies. Plus: A look at the ongoing construction and development in and around the HOF, the creation of...


Episode 153 – Uncorking the second half of the Indians’ season

After a successful week of hosting All-Star festivities, it’s back to business for the Indians, who open up the second half of the season with a big series against AL Central-leading Minnesota. Jim Ingraham, a long-time Tribe beat writer and current sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and Medina Gazette, joins the show to recap the Indians’ weird first half, discuss the emergence of All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber and rookie outfielder Oscar Mercado, as well as the surprising...


Episode 152 – Cleveland sports biz headlines with Kevin Kleps

Kevin Kleps of Crain’s Cleveland Business is back on the show to run through the sports biz items making news in Northeast Ohio. The guys discuss a pair of big events coming to town: the MLB All-Star Game (and all of its related activities) this weekend, followed by the NFL Draft in 2021 (actual stage location to be determined). Plus: The Browns scaling back their crowd sizes at training camp to create a better fan experience, the future of their local media deals, and the financial...


Episode 151 – Picks & possibilities: A Cavs/NBA Draft preview

The Cavs enter the NBA Draft on Thursday night armed with the 5th and 26th picks in the first round, as well as a whole lot of options. Evan Dammarell, who covers the team for Forbes and Fear the Sword, joins the show to discuss the players in the mix for the Wine & Gold, odds of the Cavs trading either (or both) of their picks, and the unique (and very tradeable) contract of JR Smith. Plus: Big happenings around the league, such as the trade that will send Anthony Davis to the Lakers, that...


Episode 150 – What the sale of STO and FSO means for Cleveland sports fans

No matter how they’re doing in the standings or at the gate, the Indians and Cavs have proven to be a winner year after year in the local TV ratings department. So, when news about the channels that air their games breaks, it’s a big deal. Earlier this month, Sinclair Broadcast Group reached a deal to acquire 21 regional sports networks, including Fox Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio. What will that ultimately mean for Northeast Ohioans when they turn on their TVs at 7 p.m. each night to...


Episode 149 – Catching up on the Cavs, John Beilein and the NBA’s self-inflicted lottery problems

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for the Cavs with the hiring of a new head coach and the lottery securing their position in next month’s NBA draft. Jeff Nomina joins the show to discuss the Cavs getting the fifth pick in the draft, whether the league did more harm than good with its overhaul of the lottery odds, and who the Wine and Gold might target in the draft. Plus, the out-of-nowhere hiring of John Beilein as head coach, his track record of developing players, embracing advanced...


Episode 148 – Finding seats on the Columbus Blue Jackets bandwagon

Don’t look now, but Blue Jackets playoff games have become appointment viewing for sports fans from Columbus to Cleveland and beyond. The guys jump on the bandwagon to talk about the thrills of playoff hockey, the buzz around town in the state capital, the play of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets’ suddenly dominant power play, and the ... highly dubious tactics of Boston’s Brad Marchand. ... Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | TuneIn | Stitcher Catch us on...