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Past, current Bengals chime in on ESPN ranking

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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.

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45 Responses to “Past, current Bengals chime in on ESPN ranking”
  1. scott8nj says: Jun 18, 2011 10:08 AM

    It usually does start at the top.

  2. whatswiththehate says: Jun 18, 2011 10:08 AM

    I’m still wondering who made ESPN the Worldwide Leader of Sports. That’s obvious a title by default…SMDH

  3. stevincinci says: Jun 18, 2011 10:09 AM

    The Reds haven’t been to a World Series since 1990 either. They’re finally a team to be reckoned with. Maybe, just maybe, the Bengals can follow suit. (I said maybe, didn’t you hear me).

  4. ravenator says: Jun 18, 2011 10:09 AM

    Poor Bungal fans. You should all just boycott your crappy owner, and not attend games.

  5. rayvens says: Jun 18, 2011 10:20 AM

    WOW!…couldnt have said it better myself.

  6. mushin9 says: Jun 18, 2011 10:30 AM

    It’s pretty bad when the pirates can say, “It could be worse. We could be the Bengals”

  7. paulitik74 says: Jun 18, 2011 10:45 AM

    The Bengals are a perfect example of why the small market owners like the Browns, Wilsons, Bensons, Bidwells, etc are the ones that should be locked out and not the players.

    If the NFL wants to put it’s decline in revenue on anyone, it should be them.

  8. chatham10 says: Jun 18, 2011 10:54 AM

    Why does anybody care what ESPN says or write, remember this is the network that has Chris Berman doing the play by play for the US Open.

  9. huskersrock1 says: Jun 18, 2011 11:04 AM

    They are not the worst team in the last 30 years. They made it to the super bowl twice. The lions would love to say that.

  10. giboxer5 says: Jun 18, 2011 11:12 AM

    How many times have you already written this exact story over the past few years. I wonder if you write a completely new one each time or if you just cut and paste from the previous ones. Keep it handy, you’ll need it again next year.. Mike Brown makes me a SAD Cincy football fan 😦

  11. donbaseball says: Jun 18, 2011 11:22 AM

    How could you even compare them to, say, the Lions. The Lions have had 0 winning seasons in 10 years. They’ve averaged 3.9 wins over 10 years, including an 0-16.

    The Bengals have won 2 division titles in 6 years and have been to 2 superbowls. Boomer is a bitter pr!ck.

  12. kspl1 says: Jun 18, 2011 11:28 AM

    Who is they’re franchise qb. Don’t you have to win for that title to make sense

  13. donbaseball says: Jun 18, 2011 11:49 AM

    Hey kspl1 –


  14. rjsjr says: Jun 18, 2011 11:58 AM

    Pride of Cincinnati indeed. If Boomer is correct, the fans take pride in having the lowest expectations of any team in the league. Pretty hard to be disappointed when you have a 20-year history of consistent failure pointing you towards what to expect this season. There isn’t a football team in Ohio that isn’t a national embarrassment right now.

  15. mongobo says: Jun 18, 2011 12:04 PM

    I wish this article hadn’t just picked two Bengals who hate the franchise. It’s always easy to find two guys with an axe to grind who are eager to pile on.

    Instead of Boomer, I’d like to know what Cris Collinsworth, Solomon Wilcots, or Anthony Munoz think. Instead of Chad, what do guys like Andrew Whitworth, Rey Maualuga, or Reggie Kelly think?

  16. voyager6 says: Jun 18, 2011 12:08 PM

    I believe today’s problem goes all the way back to the creation of the Bengals. Because of what happened with Art Model firing Paul Brown, the NFL allowed the creation of the Bengals to give Paul Brown a team. Brown was not a super rich man and only had minority ownership in the team. I beleive the original ‘deal’ gave Brown a number of years to buy the other owners out.

    In order to scrape up the funds, the family had to squeeze every dime out of the team as they could. They gained majority control in the ’90s and continued their frugal ways since they really hadn’t banked any serious money, all the prior money going into the Bengals ownership drive, rather than investing in other business opportunities. So today, the Bengals pretty much are the sole income for the family and the penny-pinching continues.

    It is my belief that somewhere along the way, they forgot their purpose was to win games, instead of maximizing profits. It will have to take an ownership change before things change permanantly.

    They deserve the #122 ranking, IMHO.

  17. dempsey63 says: Jun 18, 2011 12:18 PM

    What can Brown do for you?


  18. thekingdave says: Jun 18, 2011 12:24 PM


    Man card revoked for using that acronym

  19. Deb says: Jun 18, 2011 12:25 PM

    Don’t get where Chad is coming from at all. I don’t care for the guy and never have, but no fans in their right minds would blame one receiver for the fortunes of a team. He’s more often been the bright spot on their roster in terms of his play. And the Cincy fans seem to love the guy. From what I’ve read, the fans blame Mike Brown–as they should. Either #85 has a persecution complex or this is just another way to get attention.

    For an organization that’s never made winning a priority, they’ve managed to win two AFC Championships and darn near beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl with Montana at the helm. Makes you wonder what they could have accomplished if Brown had been trying.

  20. imjinbrdgr says: Jun 18, 2011 12:33 PM

    The equation to a winning team is pretty simple
    1 good GM + 1 good coach = winning.
    Nothing else adds up to winning. The HC sets the system and picks the assistant coaches and the GM provides players that fit and have heart and character.

  21. mdnittlion says: Jun 18, 2011 1:03 PM

    I was always surprised that the Bungals didn’t leave town and become the Ravens instead of the Browns. Seems like something Mike Brown would do if the price was right.

    I feel bad for the fans every time someone tells me their a Cincy fan part of me wants to say just sorry about everything and buy them a beer.

  22. TurdSandwich says: Jun 18, 2011 1:03 PM

    The Bengals have won the AFCN three times since The Browns last division crown. Browns should be ranked lower by default. I’m no Mike Brown defender but the perception that this team doesn’t spend is flat out untrue. They are usually mid-pack or higher in annual salaries. And Palmer has been more than well paid before he became the team’s most notorious quitter…

  23. monkeesfan says: Jun 18, 2011 1:04 PM

    What takes a lot of sting out is that the Bengals have been a decent team in this past decade, and the criticism that small-market owners like Brown, Bill Bidwell, etc. are to blame for the league’s economic problems right now is laughable, both because one of the league’s wealthiest teams (the Patriots) is always accused of cheaping out, and because small-market owners didn’t inflate the cap by $50 million per team in four years.

  24. albigverg says: Jun 18, 2011 1:11 PM

    Where are the Raider haters that always claim the Raiders are the worst team in the league and Al is the worst owner??? Atleast Coach Davis is willing to spend whatever in order to get whoever he feels can help the Raiders Win… Granted he does overspend sometimes but I would rather have that over a penny pincher like Mike Brown anyday of the week..

  25. eaglesfan290 says: Jun 18, 2011 1:17 PM

    I kinda agree with the theme if you are a Bengals fan you have a right to having Mike Brown hear you…………..standup and boycot Brown!

  26. egls7 says: Jun 18, 2011 1:32 PM

    I dont know I would say the clippers have a worse owner. He denied medical care to his coach who had cancer! What a doosh

  27. tourczar says: Jun 18, 2011 1:52 PM

    The Bengals have been a complete disaster since Paul Brown died. Those Super Bowls were under his leadership. Mike Brown’s record is what it is. He won’t change, and makes excuses. He says how disappointed they are and how we know we need to do better. HOW?? They never change management, they never take steps to have organizational excellence. ESPN hit the nail on the head.

  28. brownsdawg1984 says: Jun 18, 2011 2:00 PM

    I’m a Browns fan living in southern Ohio, so most of my friends are Bengal fans, and we were discussing this and why aren’t the Browns the worst frnchise.

    If I’m not mistaken, there was a category involving the fans. If that’s the case, the Bengals have some of the worst fair-weather fans in the league. When they’re good you can’t go anywhere around here without hearing that stupid Who Dey chant, but when they’re having a bad year you won’t see a Bengals fan, not even at Paul Brown Stadium.

  29. abninf says: Jun 18, 2011 2:20 PM

    Chad, it doesn’t matter that you may not be the real problem. When you’re on the worst team in the league and make the decision to be the main one to run your mouth and bring needed attention to yourself, “look at mmmmmeeeeee”, then of course people will focus on you.

  30. twindaddy says: Jun 18, 2011 2:28 PM

    The Bengals definitely deserve to be on the bottom part of this list, but how can you rank them below the Lions, Pirates, and Clippers?

    I’m not completely up-to-date on record, but I’m pretty sure in the last 20 years, the Clippers have had only 2 winning seasons. The Lions have won one playoff game in the last 50 years and the Pirates have had a losing record for close to 20 years in a row.

    How are the Bengals the worst?

  31. trickbunny says: Jun 18, 2011 2:38 PM

    Apparently, there are a few very confused commenters here who keep thinking that winning percentage or playoff accomplishments precludes them from being the worst franchise in sports.

    Nobody cares about the fact the Bengals have been to 2 SBs and have made the playoffs on occasion. They are still the worst franchise in sports.

    What the Bengals need is Goldie Hawn. She can turn a ragtag bunch into winners, as was clearly proven in the movie “Wildcats.”

  32. ccad05 says: Jun 18, 2011 2:41 PM

    The best team in Ohio is the browns? Who would’ve thought?

  33. melonnhead says: Jun 18, 2011 3:16 PM

    What takes a lot of sting out is that the Bengals have been a decent team in this past decade


    What? They’re 68-91-1 over the past 10 years with two winning seasons. They made the playoffs twice and are 0-2 in the playoffs. Decent? Mike Brown has mind control over you, obviously. The NFL doesn’t have economic problems… Mike Brown says he’s not making enough money, just like Ralph Wilson. He only pocketed about $50 million last year and he needs more.

  34. cincinnasti says: Jun 18, 2011 3:53 PM

    Sick of people calling Cincinnati a small market… It ranks 27th in Metro population among the top 400 in the country… That would put it at the high end of the middle tier of markets.. AND it’s just an excuse for Mike Brown to justify a bad product.

  35. monkeesfan says: Jun 18, 2011 4:13 PM

    melonhead – they’ve had five seasons of .500 or better (2003-6, 2009) in the last eight seasons after posting just one .500 season in the previous 12. That made them a decent team.

    “The NFL doesn’t have economic problems.” Oh yes it does. The cap was inflated by $50 million per team in just four years, cities are not building stadiums for teams anymore, and revenue streams have begun drying up. The myth of the “owner starves the team by pocketing the money” in the NFL should have died out years ago.

  36. monkeesfan says: Jun 18, 2011 4:15 PM

    albigverg – great point. The fact is Mike Brown is lightyears better an owner than Al Davis. The fact Davis spends money merely proves the point that the reason some teams are not competitive has NOTHING to do with spending money.

  37. 504in860 says: Jun 18, 2011 4:20 PM

    paulitik74 says: Jun 18, 2011 10:45 AM

    The Bengals are a perfect example of why the small market owners like the Browns, Wilsons, Bensons, Bidwells, etc are the ones that should be locked out and not the players.

    If the NFL wants to put it’s decline in revenue on anyone, it should be them.

    Figures some lame Falcons fan would want Benson to be locked out. Get back to me when Matt Ryan wins a playoff game.

  38. melonnhead says: Jun 18, 2011 4:42 PM

    melonhead – they’ve had five seasons of .500 or better (2003-6, 2009) in the last eight seasons after posting just one .500 season in the previous 12. That made them a decent team.

    “The NFL doesn’t have economic problems.” Oh yes it does. The cap was inflated by $50 million per team in just four years, cities are not building stadiums for teams anymore, and revenue streams have begun drying up. The myth of the “owner starves the team by pocketing the money” in the NFL should have died out years ago.


    Hey, if you think that a bunch of 8-8’s makes them decent, who am I to argue? It is what it is. Not sure about your point regarding stadiums, two pretty big deal stadiums have opened up in the last couple of years, Cowboys Stadium and the new one the Giants and Jets share. Not sure about your point regarding revenue streams either, you can financial info on every team at including revenue and operating income. Not sure how it applies to Mike Brown, since he refuses to sell naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium. It’s not so much of an issue of the small guys starving the NFL, but the small guys whining that they’re being starved while pocketing tens of millions of dollars. Again, it’s a profit margin issue.

  39. albigverg says: Jun 18, 2011 4:49 PM

    3 super bowls and countless seasons of afc dominance says that your an idiot.. How many titles has Mike brown won??? Just sthu clown..

  40. iplaybingowitholdpeopleandwin says: Jun 18, 2011 5:45 PM

    @stevincinci, I empathize. It won’t happen but keep the faith.

    In the years between Jim Mora and Sean Payton, my Saints stank worse than the stables of a horse farm about 40 minutes after feeding (you get the point). The 26 years before that, well….no need to rehash old wounds. However, the Bungles won’t be consistently good as long as Mike Brown is involved. So, stay hopeful bro.

  41. bucks12965 says: Jun 18, 2011 6:15 PM

    The Clippers are far worse.

  42. faaaaaaq says: Jun 18, 2011 6:36 PM

    A fish rots from the head down…

  43. therealfranchise says: Jun 18, 2011 6:53 PM

    Some people forget the Lions actually have 4 NFL championships. They are from 50+ years ago, but they have championships.

    The Pirates have 5 WS titles. No contest there.

    The only arguement is the Clippers, who havent won a conference championship, let alone a world title.

  44. dafranchize says: Jun 18, 2011 7:00 PM

    Mike Brown you have ruined the career of a potentially great QB, destroyed the fans hopes for a competitive team and continue to be the laughing stock of the NFL. The Cincy fans deserve better than this clown.

  45. george3246 says: Jun 19, 2011 1:31 AM

    As a life long Steelers fan, I’ve been known to feel a tad sorry for the Browns fans due to the hosing they received from Art Modell. My feelings were based on the mutual respect that players and fans had for each other when the Browns were the NFL power thanks to Jim and Paul Brown. Our Turnpike Rivalry had Browns and Steelers fans traveling to away games as if they were pilgrimages.

    It’s a true pity that whatever made Paul Brown a Hall of Fame coach and GM did not get passed down to Mike, but ask me if I give rat’s a$$ and it’s NO.

    Maybe if the Bungles fans and players had showed a bit of respect to their annual tormentors, my B&G, when they got lucky enough to win the division at 9-7, there could be some returned.

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