If you spent last night watching Jim Lehrer grill the candidates on what they plan to do about kids going on his lawn or Dice-K put the exclamation point on his storied Red Sox career then you completely missed out on the best hour of TV all Fall.  NFL Network ran “A Football Life: 1995 Cleveland Browns,” and if you didn’t catch it last night you’ll want to set your DVR for the repeat because it was pure, high quality Patriots pornography. (Click here to watch the trailer.) Remember how good the Bill Belichick episode of “Football Life” was?  This was essentially its prequel.  The Belichick version of the young Vito Corleone flashback scenes from “Godfather II.” Here are a few random thoughts from the episode and I won’t say “spoiler alert” since unless you’re 16 years old you should know the whole story:

*The astonishing thing about that Browns team is the collection of football minds Belichick assembled on that coaching staff.  It was in Cleveland that he planted the first sapling of the mighty oak his coaching tree would later become.  Nick Saban. Scott Pioli. Thomas Dimitroff.  Ozzie Newsome. Pat Hill.  Jim Schwartz. Mike Lombardi.  Kirk Ferentz.  Fredo Mangini. I think it was Newsome who says “What Bill wanted was to find guys like Bill.”  Or as the narrator puts it “Belichick’s tenure in Cleveland ended painfully.  But what happened in his 5 years there would reverberate for a generation.”  At least that’s what I think he said.  It was hard to hear over the sound of me furiously pleasuring myself.

*The next great generation of college and pro football intelligensia started out under Belichick doing everything from breaking down game film to working the Xerox machine to getting coffee for secretaries to cutting grass on the grounds crew.  And called themselves “The Slapdicks,” though they cleaned it up to “Slappies” for TV.

*Not to speak ill of the dead… strike that.  Absolutely to speak ill of the dead: Art Modell was the worst scumbag in the history of the NFL.  Even Robert Irsay had the decency to leave Colts fans high and dry in the middle of the night in March.  Modell announced the move to Baltimore in the middle of the season.  Belichick put someone on the job of researching other franchises in other sports that did the same so he could seek advice on how they dealt with the situation, only to find out it had never happened.  Ever. As one of the coaches points out, it’s hard enough to get a team to shut out all the distractions in a normal season and get ready to play a game on Sunday.  This made it impossible.

*To a person everyone on that team believes they would’ve  won a Super Bowl had they not made the move.  And it’s hard to argue the point.  They trounced the Parcells-Bledsoe Patriots in the playoffs the year before.  And even then Belichick was into stockpiling draft picks so the first picks they made once they got to Baltimore were Jonathan Ogden and Ray friggin Lewis.

*Watching early 90s Belichick is like looking at a young Sofia Vergara.  Still really good, just not dripping sex the way they are now.  Still, that man could wear the shit out of a Cosby sweater.

*Also, 1991 Mrs. Belichick was a thin, glamorous smokeshow.  Totally worthy of having a cardboard cutout of her in the clubhouse where every time they win they peel a section.

*I want to feel Browns fans pain, I really do.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your team yanked out from under you like that.  But seriously, what kind of morons are these people?  I can totally see their anger at the owner, but they were hanging Belichick in effigy like it was his idea to move the team.  As someone Tweeted to me, they were like that snotbag professor who was mad at the owner of Chik-fil-A so he took it out on the girl working the drive thru.  They deserved to lose their team not for not wanting to build Modell a stadium, but just for general stupidity toward the best coach they could ever hope to have.

*Still watching Earnest Byner genuinely break down in tears talking about it- even 17 years later- was great TV.

*Next time someone in the local media is gets pissed off at Belichick for not being forthright or ignoring a question or not addressing some controversy, just keep in mind that he had a first place team on their way to greatness when he had to deal with the biggest goddamned distraction in the history of football.  So fuck you if you think he owes you an explanation about how he wants to use Wes Welker.

*The quote that sums it all up, courtesy of Antonio Langham talking about how all the Slappies used to hold up cue cards for the scout team “then you look up and see they’re all head coaches and you stop and you think about it and you say to yourself ‘Bill Belichick must have been one hell of a teacher.’”

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go warm up some more hand lotion and watch the show again. @JerryThornton1