ESPN The Magazine recently ranked all pro sports franchises from top to bottom. And at the bottom was the team known affectionately (or otherwise) as the Bungles.
The pride of Cincinnati, regarded by Bristol as the worst team in all of professional sports.
“Don’t you think we’d all be surprised if they weren’t ranked last?’’ former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason said Thursday, according to Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“It’s never going to change,’’ Esiason added. “There is no expectation the team is going to win. There never has been. I can’t sugarcoat it.’’
Esiason thinks that owner Mike Brown simply lacks the desire to field a consistently winning team.
“You can have all the money in the world,” Esiason said. “You can sock it away in a mattress. But the reason you’re in [the NFL] is because you’re competitive. You want to win. The family has never experienced that.’’
In our view, Brown simply defines “winning” differently than winning, you know, games. Brown’s team consistently remains one of the most profitable in the NFL, because the team restricts spending while sharing in the massive league-wide revenues from ticket sales and TV contracts.
Current (for now) Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco believes that he’s a scapegoat for the team’s struggles, a topic he mentioned when the issue of the low ranking was raised during a Friday appearance on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
“For some reason, for some odd reason, the mishaps for us as a team, they always fall back on me because of my style of play,” Ochocinco said. “What I’ve done wrong, I’ve done this, this is why we’re losing. But it’s been somewhat of a tradition for so long. But I’ve taken that weight and I’ve tried to make us fun again, to make us as an organization fun and relevant and . . . to make the best out of a bad situation.”
The situation hasn’t gotten any better, and for now the Bengals will generally remain bad. Sure, they’ll periodically overachieve their way into the playoffs, but with no postseason wins since 1990, a free-agency philosophy consisting of acquiring talented players whom no one else wants at a low cost because no one else wants them, and a franchise quarterback who wants out, don’t count on anything changing any time soon in Cincinnati.