I got a call from my cousin, Norm, the morning after the 2012 NFL Draft. A longtime attorney in Los Angeles, he’s been unable to shake his Cleveland sports fanhood. In the past six months, he has met my brother, Bill, and another cousin in Dallas to see the Indians play. He also has taken two grandsons to a Browns game in California and come to Cleveland to see the Browns play.
The purpose of the call was to tell me the Browns drafted Mitchell Schwartz, the son of one of his law partners, with the 37th pick in the second round. Norm and his wife had expected Schwartz to be picked in the fourth or fifth round. Schwartz, an offensive lineman from the University of California, Berkeley, played for the Browns through the 2015 season before signing as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs through the 2021 season.
Now, Schwartz and his teammates are celebrating Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory, a 31-20 come-from-behind triumph over San Francisco on Feb. 2. That ended a 50-year drought for Kansas City.
Letting Schwartz go was arguably the biggest mistake made by the Browns’ front office in the last decade and that is saying a lot. He wanted to re-sign with the Browns, but the front office apparently was offended he wanted to at least look around.
Schwartz was married by Rabbi Rob Nosanchuk of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, most likely the first Super Bowl winner the rabbi has married.
Last year, Schwartz was named the best offensive lineman in the NFL by the highly respected Pro Football Focus. Despite missing a couple of snaps due to injury this year, he is the Ironman in the NFL with more than 7,000 consecutive snaps, not far behind former Brown Joe Thomas, who had 10,363 consecutive snaps.
Sometime this season, I told Schwartz’s father, Lee, a common argument for a lineman’s selection to the Hall of Fame goes like this: “Somebody had to block for Jim Brown, which contributed to lineman Gene Hickerson being enshrined in Canton. Lineman Larry Little of the undefeated Miami Dolphins benefited from that argument.”
What I was saying was that, if the Chiefs won this year’s Super Bowl, Schwartz should be given serious consideration. If he were to win a second Super Bowl blocking for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, he would be a lock. He already has been chosen for the all-decade teams of both the Browns and the Chiefs.
When Schwartz was drafted, he joined his brother, Geoff, who went in the seventh round of the 2008 draft to Carolina. He played for five NFL teams before retiring in 2017.
They became the first Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since Ralph Horween and Arnold Horween in 1923.
Another key factor in the Chiefs’ win was the play of Travis Kelce from Cleveland Heights High School, who caught a touchdown pass from Mahomes.
Kelce’s brother, Jason, was a Super Bowl winner as a center for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here’s a good sports talk discussion topic – two brothers who have had long careers in the NFL like Mitchell and Geoff Schwartz or Super Bowl winners like the Kelce brothers. Who is a better tandem?