Some people are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. This 2016 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here. And buy Drew’s new book here.


Your team: Cincinnati Bengals.

Your 2015 record: 12-4. Wow. Pretty impressive. Why, that sounds like that kind of loaded team that could finally notch a playoff win for Marvin Lewis… a band of SCRAPPY UNDERTIGERS that could rally from a 15-0 deficit in the fourth quarter (without Andy Dalton!) against the hated Steelers and finally rid themselves of their long-standing reputation for turning into cold vomit during the postseason! Let’s see if they OH MY GOD

Yup. They bungled it. To refresh your memory, Jeremy Hill fumbled when the game was all but over, and then this UNBELIEVABLY FUCKING STUPID defense committed two straight personal fouls to hand Pittsburgh the winning field goal.


You will not find a less sympathetic snakebit team in all the world. Even their own fans don’t feel bad for them after what they pulled. Cris Collinsworth, himself a former Bengal, basically called for the entire Bengals organization to be jailed during the telecast. I usually feel horrible for the Bills and Browns and Lions and what not. But the Bengals? No way. Fuck them. And fuck Vontaze “Lil Draymond” Burfict with a McDonald’s straw…

And triple fuck Pacman Jones—who was always destined to revert back to being Pacman Jones—for bitching about the refs and then truthering Antonio Brown’s concussion. Wanna know who REALLY killed Harambe? This team. This team shot that ape in cold blood.



Your coach: Marvin “0-7” Lewis, who has the commanding presence of me trying to look after my nephews, and who will never ever ever ever ever win a playoff game. Ever. Do you know what Marvin said after his team collapsed against Pittsburgh? I’ll tell you what he said…

“We destructed on ourselves.”

Thank you, Coach Emmitt. Jesus. What the fuck. Does this team even practice, or does Mike Brown not want to pay for the extra running water? Anyway, Marvin kept his job because he always does, and he’ll keep destructing on himself every year until we’re all dead and buried.


Your quarterback: This hapless country ginger…

Again, it’s impossible to feel sympathy for these people. If the airline loses your bag? My heart’s out to you. I’ve been there, amigo. If you left your bags in the flatbed of a pickup truck that you almost certainly didn’t need to buy, and then you pulled a Bo Duke on every speed bump on your way to your flight? Nope. Sorry. If I had found Dalton’s bags, I would have burned them and then sent him a video of the fire. I didn’t even take his side when he beefed with JJ Watt.

Whose side do you take there? You don’t. You sit back and you let both men make vanilla asses of themselves. Dalton, by the way, was having his best season in 2015 before he busted his thumb and then his entire team contracted rabies and then he lost his luggage. If he gets hurt again, your backup is Mr. Katherine Webb. He looks like every guy I saw at the RNC last month. I’m surprised he doesn’t play football in a boater hat.



What’s new that sucks: Nothing. It’s Marvin and Mike Brown forever. At Bengals headquarters, it’s a big deal if they start serving a new kind of rice at the training table. True, you did lose important players like Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Leon Hall, and Reggie Nelson. But with Brown and Lewis and Dalton still comfortably ensconced, you can count on this year being the same choketastic disaster it’s always been, especially now that the roster isn’t as deep as it was in 2015. Like all other animals living in Southern Ohio, the Bengals were born to die.

Also, I think Gio Bernard is still lying on the ground from that Ryan Shazier hit. He’s due to be upright and 50 percent less groggy come Week 1.

What has always sucked: One of my favorite rumors from the offseason was that Mike Brown voted against the Rams moving to Los Angeles, because that move would have increased league revenues, which in turn would have raised the salary cap, which in turn would have caused Brown to pay more money to his players. Brown denied that rumor, which only makes it truer in my eyes. I’ll believe ANY story about this worthless bag of shit being a horrific cheapskate, profiting from the worst stadium deal in NFL history and then putting none of those profits back into the slipshod organization he runs. His own cheerleaders sued him for $255,000 and won. He probably doesn’t even pay to print rulebooks for this team, as evidenced here:

Mike Brown is scum. Even among his fellow NFL owners, he stands out as a retrograde skinflint. No wonder no one—from the league office to the officials to local law enforcement—is inclined to do the Bengals any favors. Even Gawker got more sympathy in its demise.


And Mike Brown is exactly what these charmless, drunken, bad chili-eaters deserve. Shit, they even racially profiled their OWN team’s running back. Cincinnati is, perhaps, our least essential city. I can never spell it right on the first try and I don’t care to learn because who gives a fuck about that place. It’s a city that blends the worst parts of Ohio with the worst parts of Indiana and Kentucky. It’s the bad guy in its rivalry with Cleveland and doesn’t even realize it. Did you know they eat goetta here? That’s scrapple with oatmeal mixed into it. Good God. Why would you eat that? These people eat horse food. They’re fucked in the tongue. There’s nothing to redeem that racist, tasteless bore of a town. Tell ‘em Vince:

He’s right. Anywhere else is a better place. Go destruct on yourselves. God, I hope this team misses the playoffs.


What might not suck: You know the deal here: The Bengals are just talented and just balanced enough to win 10 games and then Groundhog Day their way to abject failure.

Let’s remember some Bengals:


  • David Klingler
  • Lewis Billups
  • David Fulcher
  • Harold Green
  • Darnay Scott

Hear it from Bengals fans!



My friend and I have a standing agreement that no matter what we are doing on the day Mike Brown dies, we are going to go have a drink together to celebrate. Fuck Mike Brown.



Cincinnati is slowly becoming the saddest sports city in Ohio.



Some people here actually want AJ McCarron to start.


AJ McCarron’s playoff QB rating is better than Andy Dalton’s, even though Dalton has had way more chances to prove himself. Think there is a QB competition going into this season? Fuck no. Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis are more conservative than the Amish.



I spent the night of Jan. 9 - and slices of the morning of Jan. 10 - defending Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones. I even blamed the penalty calls on the systemic racism of the American justice system. I was so belligerent that a Twitter bot called “Shut the Fuck Up and Go to Bed” told me to shut the fuck up and go to bed. And I deserved it.

I’m so sad.



Ohio is the birthplace of professional football, and it’s where it has chosen to die.

The owner doesn’t want the league’s revenue stream to grow because he doesn’t want to spend more of that money on players. He’s been enriching himself on the back of Hamilton County for years, and believes he’s earned it by being the son of Paul Brown.

Cincinnati wishes it could be in the South so badly. It’s the only perma-grey Rust Belt city that wishes it could fly a Confederate flag. Bengals players can’t shop in the metro area without getting racially profiled. Most of the town’s best exports are bands that often sing about how bombed out Cincinnati is.

We got rid of the only player who could throw a deep ball (it was a wide receiver), we don’t have any cornerbacks who can backpedal, and I’m pretty sure this is the year where the abyss finally stares back into A.J. Green. Andy Dalton can’t even keep track of his damn luggage.



Our owner wears short sleeve dress shirts with ties.


No matter how successful, Cincinnati will never root for a Mike Brown-owned franchise without irrational levels of reluctance, self loathing, and bitter disdain. If Mike Brown wants to gain the undying love and adoration of the people of Cincinnati he must get caught betting on baseball.



I was up in Canada during this past year’s playoff game and was invited to a party with some girls we had met on Tinder, and I devoted all my energy to sitting on the couch where the only other American was watching the game. I made a fool of myself fixating entirely on the game while girls were asking us to play beer pong or take nipple shots or whatever. That wasn’t important. The streak was about to be broken. The Bengals were finally going to advance in the playoffs, and after watching Carson’s knee explode at the hands of Shitsburgh live at Paul Brown, this was a long time coming.

And then Jeremy Hill’s sorry ass decided he didn’t want the football anymore. And then Vontaze Burfect decided a really good strategy is to murder the opposition. And then Pacman Jones got all Pacman Jonesy when Joey Goddamn Fuckface Dickcheese Porter got up in his face during the huddle, and we lost. And I was livid. And I inadvertently cockblocked the whole party as a result with my negative attitude, so we moved to a shitty country bar with 9 dollar bud lights.

Fuck the Bengals, Fuck Jeremy Hill, Fuck Vontaze Burfect, Fuck Pacman, Fuck Joey Porter, Fuck the Steelers, Fuck Mike Brown the MOST, And Fuck Canada.



I still can’t really talk about last year’s playoff game without steadily devolving into a frothing maniac. The Bengals “imploded,” even though it felt like the entire NFL apparatus (including Nantz and Simms) was excited for that inevitability, stoked for when everyone could finally sit back, stroke their disappointment boners, and yap about horseshit like character and poise when dudes who’d been fucked with all game finally decided they’d had enough.

Seriously: what the fuck was Porter doing on the field (rule changed for this year)? Why were those officials so unprepared for that kind of intensity (didn’t work another playoff game)?? Why didn’t Shazier get called for what he did to Bernard (does not matter about him turning up field if it’s helmet-to-helmet)??? And why, oh WHY COULDN’T JEREMY HILL HOLD ONTO THAT FUCKING FOOTBALL?!?!?

So many demons would have been exorcised with that one victory, and in like three minutes, it evaporated into nothing. The Bengals are probably the most-talented team in the entire NFL, top to bottom, and it doesn’t fucking matter. Not now, not ever. I love the players but I hate this franchise, I hate the owner, I hate myself for liking his bullshit team, and I hate the fucking NFL. I’ll see you in hell.



The Cincinnati Bengals are the least popular team in a division full of murderers, rapists, and the Browns.

The worst thing about Harambe getting shot is that Skyline will have to find a new gorilla’s shit to make their chili out of. The best thing about Harambe getting shot is that people now have a second thing they know about Cincinnati.

Carol, the Oscar nominated drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, was set in 1950s New York but filmed in present day Cincinnati, a city proudly stuck sixty years in the past.

My dad ran into Pacman Jones at an FC Cincinnati game this year. He asked Pacman about the Bengals’ upcoming game in London. Pacman revealed that many of the players’ wives would be visiting Paris during their trip to Europe. Then Pacman smiled, winked and asked my dad “You know about that French pussy, right?”

Vontaze Burfict is the Matthew Dellevedova of Southwestern Ohio.


Why the fuck is Mike Nugent still on this team? Aren’t their like 100 kickers in college that graduate every year? Someone has to be more clutch than this guy.



I have been a Bengals fan since 1994, and my happiest moment as a fan of this perpetual shitshow was right before we let the Steelers drive down the field with the assistance of two consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to beat us in the 2015-16 playoffs. My happiest Bengals moment involves AJ Fucking McCarron. That is the epitome of sadness.

Fuck Marvin Lewis forever.



I took this picture at “Family Day” for the Bengals, thought it said a lot:



I shouldn’t have to talk about why the Bengals suck anymore. It’s like deciding to explain to someone the plot of Saw VI. We know what it is already. It’s the same movie as the last five, just a little bit worse.

We cruised through another the regular season all the while talking about ending a 483-year long playoff winless drought, and then go on to yet again step on a rake and hit ourselves in the face as soon as the playoffs start. Only this year, we’re coming off a playoff appearance where we imploded in spectacular fashion. It was so bad that we blamed another team’s outside linebackers coach for us losing the game. Granted, Joey Porter has been a tick on the NFL’s collective nutsack for the last 17 years, but he deserves as much blame for the Bengals losing that game as Harambe.

But don’t worry, Vontaze Burfict got a haircut so we’re led to believe he’ll stop committing felonies on the field every week. And we landed coveted free agent Brandon LaFell who caught exactly 0 of Tom Brady’s 36 touchdown passes last year and caused all 7 of his interceptions.

Through all of this, Marvin Lewis is back again with a front row seat to watch it all unfold while sporting that patented face where he’s trying to decipher what exactly his own fart smells like.

But seriously, fuck Joey Porter with a frozen package of Skyline Chili.


In 2002, the Browns lost when a late unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved their opponent into field goal range, letting them kick a game-winning field goal.

In 2015, the Bengals lost when two late unsportsmanlike conduct penalties moved their division rival opponent into field goal range, letting them kick a playoff-game-winning field goal.

We out-Clevelanded Cleveland.



The Bengals continually find new and inventive ways to disappoint me every year. I knew they would disappoint me again this past season, so I told myself “You know what this year, I’m just not going to give a shit until they prove me otherwise.”

So the Bengals tried to trick me early by going on an 8-0 winning streak, and yet every week I posted the same apathetic response to every victory: “Well, that was nice but I know something horrible is in the near future.” And every time, my friends, who are either Niners or Raiders fans for the most part since I live in California, would tell me I’m being “overly dramatic” or “they’re actually good this year, stop complaining” or “They might actually win the Super Bowl.”

But they didn’t understand. I knew deep down in my heart that they would disappoint me sooner or later and that the Bengals would once again reveal to me that they were in fact the Bungles as they’ve always been, but even I could not have predicted how much they would break my heart in their final game of the year.

I went into that playoff game expecting the very worst. I was preparing for it like Mike Nelson and the MST3k crew prepare to watch a bad movie; just laugh my ass off at their inadequacies yet again, then drink myself silly later. I mean shit, Dalton wasn’t playing (who somehow became an actually not terrible QB last season) and it was the big bad Steelers who were artists when it came to crushing the dreams of every Bengals fan in the country. But something strange happened; they were actually in the fucking game! I was shocked and completely forgot my vow not to get invested until they proved me wrong. Then AJ Fucking McCarron of all people got the lead with less than two minutes to play, then Vontaze got the interception the very next Steeler drive! I was losing my mind!

But very distantly I could hear that voice in the back of my head going, “They’re going to Bungle it” and sure enough the very next play Jeremy Hill, who had had problems with holding onto the football all season, fumbled the fucking ball, losing no time off the clock and Ben Rothlisberger comes back into the game.

But it wasn’t enough for the Steelers to drive down the field and win it. The Bengals had to gift wrap it for them.

Only the Bengals, in a game where I had zero expectations could make me so fucking infuriated that I could even be fiercely enraged and disappointed by a game I knew they would fucking lose.

Oh and btw fuck Joey Porter, fuck Ben Rothliberger, fuck Ryan Shazier for that non call on Giovani Bernard and fuck the Steelers and every Shittsburgh fan who calls the Bengals dirty. Steelers fans calling the Bengals dirty is like Jerry Sandusky calling out the Catholic church for pedophilia.



I was born and raised in Cincinnati. The Bengals have been my team. I haven’t lived in Cincinnati, or Ohio for that matter, for almost 20 years. I’ve moved clear across the country and, yet, I still root for them. I fool myself into thinking that my distance and detachment from my hometown will act as a buffer against any (inevitable) disappointment they might deliver. This is absolutely false. I could move off planet, help colonize Mars, and those fuckers will find yet another new and novel way to lose a first round playoff game and drive me out of my mind. Their incompetence will ALWAYS find me, wherever I am.

p.s. I had most of this written since right after the playoff loss to the Steelers. (A loss so richly deserved.) This email has been waiting for this moment. It is slightly cathartic to hit “Send”.



At the games, half the fans watch the entire game like they’ve just been asked for a moment of silence. Most of them are just waiting for a weak season to jump ship back to the Steelers like the rats they are.


I am still a Dalton hater. Poor SOB really doesn’t deserve it. Total professional. He lives in the neighborhood during the season. Nice guy. PRO BOWLER.

But you know what? Dalton sucks. Everyone knows it. He’s the Marvin Lewis of quarterbacks.



Our coach is entering his 16th year with the team and still hasn’t won a playoff game. I’m a married, middle-aged man—I was in the 4th grade when we last won one. I’m convinced if Marvin was replaced by a 14-year-old Madden savant on Sundays we’d go 14-2 and blow through the Super Bowl.

We have more headcases than a daycare for spastik children. Speaking of which, Adam Jones cost us our last playoff game (along with fellow headcase and dirty player Burfict) and was promptly rewarded with a 3-year contract extension. He’s 33 years old, which is 92 in NFL cornerback years.



I want to think that last year’s ratfuck of a last-minute playoff loss was all part of Mike Brown’s plan, because part of me loves having that narrative to hate him even more. At the same time, though, I want to give him credit for his brilliant long con. It took YEARS to plan all of this out - to have an offense that is greater than the sum of its parts (a veteran O-line, a quarterback who had no business starting a couple years ago but has finally gotten more consistent, a bunch of other skill players drafted and developed in-house, Hue Jackson) and a defense with enough talent and crazy to really affect its opponents - and to have that defense blow everything up spectacularly. Vontaze Burfict played his role as an unstable lunatic exactly the way Brown hoped he would. Pacman Jones said horrible things to the other coaching staff because everyone knows he would. And Joey Porter - some random assistant coach on your rival’s team? He had to have been a sleeper cell, waiting for the best moment possible to incite hatred and violence from Jones or whoever else might see him. He probably got paid at LEAST $600 (because Mike Brown is cheap, see) for drawing that second flag. It all added up to make our fans fucking livid as the Steelers (again, the team that Bengals fans hate the most) put the game away. But it’s exactly what Mike Brown wanted. He’s like a pockmarked Rust Belt Danny Ocean. I can picturing him now, rolling around in his own filth, but that filth is mostly composed of money that our incredibly gullible and depressing fanbase throws at him to see this team do dumb shit every single year.



The only other Bengals fans I know are Browns fans that never forgave the team for moving.


How is Marvin Fucking Lewis still the Bengals head coach after such an epic bed-shitting? He is 0-7 in the playoffs. Somehow, he is still re-signed to his same one-year contract year after god damn year. Just put a fucking hat on a traffic pylon, set it on the sidelines, call it head coach, and be done with it. The pylon could keep better control over the team and do it without forcing fans to endure the one dipshit, sad sack expression that Lewis can never seem to wipe off of his face.



Every year I fall into the trap of thinking this team can make a deep playoff run, only to have them lose in the Wild Card round to some dumpy team like the Texans or the goddamn Steelers. Maybe I need a new hobby that doesn’t come along with the crippling depression associated with rooting for these losers.

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