Some people are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. This 2013 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the 2013 NFL previews so far right here.
Your team: Cincinnati Bengals
Your 2012 record: 10-6. Nothing says "first-round chum" like the Bengals stumbling their way to 10-6. Did no one else in the AFC really want to make the playoffs last season? Such a waste. I bet the Texans threw a fucking party when they learned they got to play the Bengals in the first round again. It's like drawing a matchup against Glass Joe. Hey, look! The Bengals are the six seed, everyone! That's cute!
Your coach: Marvin Lewis. If you're gonna be too cheap to fire a coach before his contract is up, you could do worse than having Marvin Lewis hang around for a million years. Sure, he goes through timeouts like they come out of a Kleenex box (let's use two at a time! LUXURY), but at least he gives the Bengals an air of legitimacy that helps delude fans into thinking that they're cheering for an organization that knows what it's doing. With Marvin, at least you're not embarrassingly bad. You have no chance to ever win anything significant, but you can skate through a season and lose in the first round without anyone really picking on you. The Bengals are that one girl in high school who just wants to make it through all four years unnoticed, without ever getting doused in chicken blood.
Your quarterback: Andy Dalton, a somewhat decent quarterback who will remain exactly that for the next decade. This man will SHATTER the record for Times Selected As A Pro Bowl Alternate. It's amazing how Dalton came into the league fully formed as a just-barely-above-average passer who is good for at least one HORRIBLE turnover per game. He's Groundhog Day in football form: 3,000 yards, a dozen picks, a passer rating just a shade over 80, and a couple of nice touchdowns with A.J. Green. Every year. Over and over again. Picture Dave Krieg. OK, now picture him with red hair. There you go, Bengals. That's your quarterback until 2027.
Your one fantasy player everyone will hate: BenJarvus Green-Ellis. I hope you're excited for him scoring six touchdowns and just barely getting past the thousand-yard mark. Why, he, Lewis, and Andy Dalton fit perfectly together! They should rename the team the Cincinnati Medians.
Why your team sucks: The Bengals are proof positive that you should NEVER, EVER, EVER give your local NFL owner a new stadium. NFL owners LOVE to tell you that they need a new stadium to "be competitive" when, in fact, the opposite is true. They need a new stadium specifically so that they NEVER have to be competitive. If you don't have a new stadium, you gotta pick up notable free agents and hire name-brand coaches and do all kinds of crazy shit to keep the general public engaged. You have to go all out to win. But once you GET that stadium? You don't have to do anything! Your team will shit out money regardless of whether you go 0-16 or 16-0. With no incentive to win, you can just sit back and count. And so it is with Mike Brown, a colossal shitbag who swindled taxpayers out of over half a billion dollars for his new raccoon dump of a stadium. And what did Cincy get out of it? A team with the 24th-highest payroll in football—the same shitty, rotten, cheap, pathetic Bengals they've always been.
Suffice it to say, Mike Brown will do absolutely NOTHING to take advantage of any of the promising young talent—Dalton, Green, Geno Atkins—that has happened to fall his way. In a better organization, the owner would see that he has the makings of a great team and spend accordingly on supplemental free agents, additional coaches, contract extensions, and so on. He would maximize his assets and fucking GO FOR IT. That won't be the case here. In Brown's hands, the Bengals will follow the blueprint of a small-market NBA team and simply let good players flail around before they a) leave, b) break down, or c) get arrested. That will leave you Bengals fans plenty of time during the postseason to eat cold spaghetti covered in diarrhea and argue with Saints fans about which one of you came up with your dumbshit fan chant first. "Who Dey" makes "J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!" sound like Melville.
Oh, and James Harrison is here now. He's due to tear a bicep while spearing Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2. Very excited for that.
Why your team doesn't suck: I forgot about Vontaze Burfict and Jermaine Gresham! Christ, they're good, too! Forcing combine prospects to play "Remember This Bear!" has done wonders for the organization's freelance two-man scouting department. So many good players are getting pissed away by this club.
The eight worst Bengals ever:
1. Akili Smith. It's not easy to rank the worst Bengals ever, because so many Bengals rank as the worst ever in so many different categories.
2. Stanley Wilson. Sniff sniff!
3. David Klingler. David Klingler once threw for 716 yards in a single college game. I know he was a horrible pro—perhaps one of the worst ever—but I bet he goes to sleep at night with a MASSIVE erection thinking about those 716 yards. I got a hard-on whenever I tallied 700 yards playing Bill Walsh on the Genesis. I can't even imagine how much fun it would be to pull it off in real life. If I were a college coach, I would run up the score against shitty community colleges every chance I got.
4. Ki-Jana Carter
5. Dan Wilkinson
6. Peter Warrick, who is the poster child for tiny receivers who get drafted way too high because they never have to fight for the ball at the college level. I bet when Warrick (whom Lee Corso slobbed endlessly) got to the pros, he was like, Hey, that cornerback touched me! That's not legal, is it?
7. Odell Thurman
8. Chris Henry. RIP. I guess.
Emails from Bengals fans:
I have a life-long love of the Louisville Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals. I'm 30 years old, and until the past year, I have had no consciousness memory of either my pro or college team not being a nihilistic void of false hope and broken dreams. When I go to bed at night, I thank God that Rick Pitino survived a sex scandal and I pray that Andy Dalton stops being a poor man's young Mark Sanchez.
A stout defense and A.J. Green dragged the soulless immobile ginger corpse of Dalton to the playoffs two years in a row. But the defense is getting older and Mike Brown will soon trade Green for an offensive lineman, a future 3rd round pick and some Arby's coupons. My god, I sometimes think to myself, "If only we sucked a little bit more, we could have had Donovan McNabb instead of Akili Smith!"
After swindling the residents of Cincinnati to build him a new stadium, Our owner/team president/GM absolutes refuses to spend any of his own money on scouting, stadium upgrades or amenities for the players.
It appears Mike Brown only wears short sleeved dress shirts with a tie. His team is probably worth about $800 million but he dresses like some middle management schlep.
Marvin Lewis, the franchise's all time winningest coach, has never won a playoff game nor appears to have any understanding of how the instant replay challenge system works. His ability to keep his job while demonstrating a sheer lack of game planning or anything resembling strategy is actually quite impressive.
They might be the most uninspiring team in the history of the league that has made two consecutive trips to the playoffs. The fans just know they are going to shit the bed.
They also managed to not get the ball to AJ Green for the first half in the playoff game against Houston. He's probably the best wideout in franchise history.
Who dey? Fucking Christ, I hate hearing this. The only person that is more idiotic than your average Bengals fan is Mike Brown. He's a goddamn joke and everybody knows it. He sounds like he has a semen-coated brownie stuck in his throat. We have signed so many over-paid convicts over the past 10 years, our stadium should double as penitentiary. Yet every fucking year we easily have 20-30 million dollars in cap space! We never spend it. I know we want to save up so we can actually resign AJ Green next year, but I guarantee you we will cut some decent defensive player to make sure Mike Brown gets to stuff his pockets with another 20 million dollars.
Fuck Chad Johnson. Biggest piece of shit to ever play the game. And people in Cincinnati still fucking love him. They want him to come be the #2 receiver we never seem to have. But he's a wife beating piece of garbage who changed his name to a number. His name was a fucking number and people wear his jersey. It has a number written in spanish, and then the number. We are fucking idiots. People still wear his jersey to games. I hope he never plays again and ends up homeless.
We are actually in a position to win the division and take the #2 seed in the playoffs this year, but I'm sure we'll blow some games with awful clock management (see last year's Cowboys game where we blew a 9-point lead in the 4th with no timeouts left) and probably lose to Houston in the wild card for the 3rd year in a row.
Also, Andre Smith's tits.
They're so boring that even their rise out of the bowels of the NFL to mediocrity puts fans to sleep. I was so excited for our playoff appearance last year that I threw a party. "Come watch the Bengals!" I said, "We're going places this year." The 13-19 loss to the Texans was like watching FIFA bench-warmers try to figure out American Football on the fly. It was such a sterile, muddled mess that by the time the fourth quarter meandered in, EVERYONE HAD LEFT. Being shitty is bad but when you can't even create plays that are fun to watch? That's way worse.
Andy Dalton has a pop gun for an arm and no upper lip. He looks like the Joker without make-up. Red Rifle, my ass.
They raped my childhood. I have been watching these losers since before I can remember. I was in kindergarten when they made their last Super Bowl appearance. At school the Friday before Super Sunday we paraded around school in Bengal costumes made from paper shopping bags. We had an Ickey Shuffle contest. I remember watching most of the game, and then my memory goes blank, although I know that I watched the entire game.
I am now put in a position where I have to love Marvin Lewis and pray he never goes away, even though he is kind of awful much of the time. He has a number of shortcomings as a head coach, yet he is a Bengals fan's first, last, and only line of defense against Mike Brown's mind-blowing incompetence.
Andy Dalton will personally leave no fewer than 20 touchdowns on the field this season.
Andre Smith. FUCK. THAT. GUY. Fuck his shirtless, flab slappin' 40 at the combine. Fuck his rookie hold out. Fuck his coming to camp so fucking fat that his feet would break under his own weight. Fuck his wasted first two years. Fuck his last two years in which he played just good enough that no real team wanted to pay him what he wanted while the Bengals didn't want to lose him. Fuck him for signing the contract and once again becoming an overweight head case. Seriously. Fuck that guy.
Rey Maualuga still starts at middle linebacker. He graded out as the worst defensive player in football last year.
My dad went to see a Bengals game in 2002 because he got a free ticket. We've been fans for decades. They played "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and people danced and sang along. My dad asked multiple people if they knew what the song was about. They did not.
For the next five years or so, there's no excuse for the Bengals not to win the AFC North, or at least contend for a Wild Card spot, every single year. Atkins is nasty, Green is a baller, young weapons abound on offense, and the defense is a Top Ten unit. The only thing that might hold them back is bad luck, which management felt the need to call down by signing up for Hard Knocks. Something fucked up is going to happen now, guaranteed. I don't know what it is, but it's coming.
Our team is run by Ebenezer Scrooge. If you were starving, he wouldn't shit in your mouth. He continuously plods out teams that have enough talent to get you excited each year, only to watch them piss away the season like an Irishman with an faulty prostate.
He will let you get excited about a great player, but will never keep them past their rookie contract, and then we get to watch them make the Pro Bowl elsewhere (Justin Smith, Jonathan Joseph, Takeo Spikes.). He will dangle mediocrity in front of your face, and the average Bengals fan creams their shorts when the team finishes with a .500 record
How about a playoff win? There are people alive who can legally drink, who weren't born when they had their last playoff win. The good thing about that is the Bengals players will join them for a drink, and get a DUI on the way home.
No other team in American football history is more deserving of their status as perennial NFL punching bag than the Cincinnati Bengals. When the comically inept band of criminals that make up (a now diminishing portion of) the roster aren't getting their pants pulled down by teams like the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars or St. Xavier High School Bombers, they're busy destroying any chance they have at being lovable underdogs by beating their blind, humanitarian aid-worker girlfriends senseless, or drunkenly crashing their pimped out Escalades into nursing mothers and kitten factories.
The Ohio River-swimming hillbillies who make up the bulk of the team’s fanbase have such a poorly developed sense of irony that they literally believe who and where the blissfully ignorant ownership picks in the draft will give the team a shot at the Lombardy Trophy in the upcoming season.
With a team chant so grammatically distressing it makes beginner ESL students blush, an owner (Mike Brown) who has fallen so far short of his father’s glorious footsteps he makes Charlie Sheen look like a success story, and a grifter’s stadium deal that will continue to funnel taxpayer dollars away from critical infrastructure developments in the city for decades to come, it’s really no surprise that the Bengals suck.
Mike Brown is going to hold onto this team like Strom Thurmond did to his Senate seat so long as he's still making money, and it's pretty much impossible not to as an NFL owner. He's got the last name of an NFL legend, but I'm pretty sure Katie Brown was banging some deadbeat in Massillon because Mike got literally nothing from Paul.
Mike Brown has no interest in winning. What he does have an interest in is making money. Specifically from the fans, taxpayers and everyone who tells him how much he sucks as an owner (and as a GM since he won't hire one), but it's hard for him to hear the criticism on top of his mountain of money. This kind of attitude from ownership has permeated every level of the franchise. There is a culture of losing and staggering inconsistency without accountability that can't even be dented until Han and Chewie blow up the shield generator located under Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals will continue to be either terrible or not quite good enough, and none of the players or coaches ever want to address the elephant in the room. This culture is something that gets inside of you and even the collective will of the players and coaches will never be enough to truly overtake it. I root for them because they're my team but I know without a doubt that it'll never be our year.
1. Mike Brown—still the owner. If you took a poll of people in Cincy pitting Mike Brown against Marge Schott...most would choose Marge. Brown made guys like Corey Dillon and Carl Pickens sympathetic.
2. Marvin Lewis—still the head coach. He's like Andy Reid without a Super Bowl or decent playoff record to fall back on. Fought Reid to a tie once in a vortex of poor coaching.
3. Andy Dalton—a redheaded Falco without the playoff record and late game heroics.
While fleecing the Raiders in the Carson Palmer trade has softened the blow, there's still a number of fans who recognize there was a man who was willing to retire from football and walk away from $10-20 million to NOT play for the Bengals.
Somehow the worst thing about this team is that they're not good enough to get anywhere close to the Super Bowl, but they are good enough to give Mike Brown a smug sense of satisfaction for "building" a good team after so many years of abject failure.
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