Getty Images

Some people are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Cincinnati Bengals.

Those towels are stronger than you think.

Your 2016 record: 6-9-1. Congrats, Bengals! For the first time in six years, you did NOT lose in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Galactic leap forward. But if you’re a Bengals fan still pining for the team’s signature touch of consistent nincompoopery, rest assured that Pacman Jones DID tell a cop to suck his dick this offseason. The stability warms my heart.

Advertisement

Also, the Bengals had the distinction of subjecting British fans to their first-ever tie game. Thanks, Mike Nugent! And the Ravens outsmarted them by committing double holding penalties to run out the clock on them. When you want to test out a new, innovative, possibly extralegal way to humiliate an opponent, you do it against the Bengals.

Your coach: Marvin Lewis. Again. Hey, guess who doesn’t like the new celebration rules?

“I’m not for that at all,” Lewis, who is on the NFL Competition Committee, said of the change. “We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people.”

My man, somehow I doubt celebrating will be much of a problem for you.

Your quarterback: Andy Dalton. Again. Let’s see how Andy fared without support from wideouts Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu:

Oh. Well, that’s not good. Turns out the strategy of hucking every ball at A.J. Green until his legs snap is a misguided one. From here on out, Andy Dalton will be the default comparison anytime a team is reluctantly wedded to a mediocre quarterback for a decade or more. He is an innings eater. “Well, Kirk Cousins still throws horrible interceptions, but what are we gonna do? Start over? No, I’m afraid we’ve been Daltoned.”

Advertisement

What’s new that sucks: Joe Mixon! I should have known. I should have known that the Bengals would be the team to suck it up and draft the ladypuncher.

Asked how he looks, one Cincinnati staffer answered: “Like a beast.”

I bet he does! He gets especially beasty if you happen to insult him at a deli. Keep in mind that this team was already in fine shape at running back with Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. And yet, those two just didn’t have the criminal panache that is requisite if you want to be a True Bengal. Here’s Mike Brown tying his tongue in a knot to defend Mixon:

“He’s a young guy. He turned 21 [on Monday]. The incident that he was involved in was three years ago,” Brown said on Tuesday, via ESPN. “He made a terrible mistake. He struck a young woman. He hurt her badly. It was a reflexive action in my mind, when I see the tape of it. I just think he acted without thought. But it was a terrible result.”

Oh, it was a reflexive action! Well then that makes it FINE. I’m using that from now on. “Officer, I’m so sorry I shot that street busker to death. But he started playing ‘Hotel California’ and I had a REFLEXIVE ACTION. Terrible result!” What other result does Mike Brown expect from a face punch? Did he expect daisies to sprout out of the lady’s nose when it happened? What in the living fuck, Mike?

Mixon and John Ross were added to help offset the skill position losses that crippled Dalton a season ago. Meanwhile, the offensive line has completely fallen apart to the point where they had to bring Andre Smith’s tits back just to patch up the holes. Defensively, they signed the guy the Panthers cut after Julio Jones roasted him for 300 yards. Good thing the Steelers don’t have a fleet of speedy and dangerous wideouts who could take advantage of such defensive liabilities!

One of their former players took his dick out in church parking lot.

What has always sucked: Bored with crippling opposing players, linebacker and Big Fan Of The Principal’s Office Candy Dish Vontaze Burfict has taken up the fun habit of cheap-shotting his own teammates:

Well now, how can you blame this poor wayward soul for the REFLEXIVE ACTION of knee-diving during a non-contact drill? That’s just hard-nosed football, far as I’m concerned.

Advertisement

Anyway, your 2017 Bengals are pretty much the same as every Bengals outfit this decade. They’ve got enough talented players to get back to the playoffs and lose in the Wild Card round again. Dalton is inconsistent. Marvin is a clueless goober. Burfict is a shitbag. And presiding over all of it is Mike Brown, a man so cheap he makes Bud Selig look like Rick Ross. Brown wrote an open letter to fans last month, apparently unaware that virtually every Bengals fan is waiting for him to die. Here are a few of the highlights:

Since we were formed in 1968, we have enjoyed great support - first at Nippert Stadium, then at Riverfront Stadium, and now at Paul Brown Stadium.

Your asshole stadium took money from schools. Also, I had no idea they once played in a joint called Nippert Stadium. THE BIG NIP.

Memories of our first 49 years are too many to mention…

So true. Like the time Chris Henry fell off a truck and died.

You have shown us the way to six playoff appearances in the past eight years, including three AFC North division crowns.

That did happen. I wonder what happened after they made the playoffs!

Do you know the worst part of all this? For all of Mike Brown’s scumbaggery—from looting local coffers to surreptitiously bribing local aldermen to drafting the Joe Mixons of the world to skimping on hiring a formal scouting department—he still gets fawning knobjobs like this one from the local press.

Mike fought to bring this football family into existence for his father. He professes a unique pride in keeping it a family business all these years. Many others across the league have failed, whether due to finances or in-fighting.

God man, FUCK YOU. This is a billion-dollar franchise and you’re treating it like Uncle Pappy’s General Store? DIE. The guy who wrote this tripe goes on to list all the “family-owned” NFL teams, like they belong in the Smithsonian. That list (Fords, Browns, McCaskeys, Bidwills, Davises) reads like a case for upping the estate tax to 1,000 percent. Mike Brown is a loser who inherited his team from his old man and hasn’t won a goddamn thing. The man constantly whines about playing in a small market and wants the big boys to share with him even as he makes absolutely no effort to generate any local revenue. He is a liver-spotted turd.

Advertisement

But in the NFL’s orbit, his deathly grip over this franchise is treated as some kind of wistful throwback. Yes, in an age of smartphones and self-driven cars, thank God some things remain constant, like MIKE FUCKING BROWN still being a rich old asshole who deserves to rot on a street corner for time eternity. Real heartwarming stuff. The repo man should have visited this franchise three decades ago.

Did you know? Cincinnati is a more hideous Cleveland? Even Ohio doesn’t REALLY want you, Cincy. Also, five U.S. presidents are from there: William Howard Taft, Rutherford B. Hayes, Ulysses S. Grant, William Henry Harrison, and Benjamin Harrison. That reads a list of contenders vying to be the second-worst President in history.

What might not suck: Those four games a year where Tyler Eifert isn’t hurt? MAGIC.

Also, I can’t hate on your 20,000-lb. pretzel sandwiches.

Beats Skyline any day.

HEAR IT FROM BENGALS FANS!

Michael:

I once saw Mike Brown at a First Watch restaurant. He ordered a bowl of soup and asked the server specifically if crackers were extra.

Brendan:

Mike Brown runs his organization as a hybrid of a 1870s coal mine company store and a 1980s used car dealership. He’s like if you turned Jerry Jones inside-out.

Dave:

Marvin Lewis makes me wish I had more middle fingers.

Michael:

The Cincinnati Bengals are not worth your time anymore.

Mike:

Mark Twain properly defined Cincinnati as always being 10 years behind everyone else. Our play-calling in clutch moments seems to be holding dearly onto that idea.

Zach:

They’re apparently cool with Pacman being a mentor to Mixon.

Jon:

The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since Odell Beckham Jr. was alive. And he’ll die of old age before they win another one.

Andy:

Pacman Jones spit on a nurse!

Shaun:

Given that Mike Brown loves saving money more than he loves his own child and has a pathological aversion to spending it, I don’t understand why he doesn’t just sell the team for an additional fortune and spend the rest of his years ecstatically farting into a couch stuffed with hundred dollar bills.

Brendan:

Last season the Bengals allowed 41 sacks. In the offseason, we proceeded to allow two linemen to walk away. That would make sense, except those two linemen combined to give up one of those 41 sacks, while we kept the guys who allowed 40. Our solution was to bring back Andre Smith and his fat tits from your Vikings. All we have to look forward to this year is AJ Green doing more spectacular AJ Green things and Vontaze obliging Big Ben’s retirement wishes a few months early.

Braden:

Because Adam “Pacman” Jones is still on this team after getting arrested in the offseason AGAIN and of all the players in college to draft they chose the guy who cold-cocked a woman in the face and was caught doing it on camera. But Marvin Lewis is such a good influence! He’ll turn him into a MAN.

Ryan:

During the final two months of the ‘05 season, every Ohio State Buckeye fan within 150 miles of Cincinnati who did not actively support another NFL team suddenly decided they’re a Bengals fan. If you’re not familiar with Ohio State football fans, imagine Kentucky basketball fans without the chill; imagine St. Louis Cardinals fans without the humility; imagine New England Patriots fans without the firm, vice-like grip on reality. And now we have to put up with these fucking people at every game.

Bandwagon Ohio State fans remain the majority shareholder of the Bengals fanbase to this day, whether we like it or not. If Bengals fans have the reputation of being delusional crybabies with an undeserved sense of entitlement, well, it’s because that’s an accurate assessment of the current composition of our fanbase. January 2006 was like living the worst episode of the Twilight Zone ever, one where a bunch of alien lifeform shape-shifting douchecanoes come to Earth on the night of your first playoff game in 15 years, morph into humans wearing the exact same orange and black as you, and spew whiny bullshit like ‘WAAAH!!!! THE STEELERS CHEATED!!!! THEY ONLY WON BECAUSE THEY’RE CHEATING THUGS!’’ for the better part of the next fucking decade.

Who would have ever imagined that Ohio State, a fanbase with six losing football seasons since 1925, would be thoroughly incapable of processing the emotions required to be a Bengals fan? I hope every one of them eats five postgame bowls of Skyline Chili and gets stuck in traffic on the interstate.

Unsurprisingly, our fans are among the most difficult, intransigent, hyper-defensive individuals on the planet. I would say talking to them is like talking to a wall, but walls don’t interrupt. I would say it’s like talking to a child, but children have the capacity to learn. No, the only way to encapsulate the frustration is to picture a horrifying chimerical future in which some rich asshole develops and markets the Telepods from The Fly, only to see swarms of 8-year-olds around the country getting trapped inside them while clutching samples of drywall. The undesirable traits of child and wall then fuse into an unapologetically ill-tempered abomination of God, and presto, another Buckeye Bengal is born.

Seriously, the stadium should have been razed at this time last year with Steven Adler’s Guns N’ Roses reunion as its final chapter because that’s a hell of a lot better than whatever the fuck the Bengals plan on writing. Paul Brown Stadium consistently houses the most embarrassing fan behavior I’ve witnessed, and this is coming from a guy who regularly attends games at Rupp Arena. Considering the average fan, it is nauseatingly apposite that this franchise’s last playoff win is chronologically closer to the 1964 production of the first Ford Mustang than it is to the present day. Sometimes, I find myself secretly yearning for the 1990s Riverfront Stadium days when Kordell Stewart would come to the line for the Steelers, flap his arms, and successfully hush the crowd. In the away stadium.

Preseason opener in two weeks. Come for the football, stay for the PTSD. I’ll be there, as always.

Erik:

I’m a lifelong Bengals fan from the Cincinnati area who lives in Columbus now. I decided to join a friend for the 2015 playoff game against the Steelers because why not witness that dumpster fire in person? In the 3rd quarter, I stood in a bathroom line behind a fellow Bengals fan so drunk, he swayed back and forth, barely able to stay on his feet.

When we got in front of the urinals, he spotted an 8-year-old kid in a Ben Roethlisberger jersey too nervous to pee with his dad standing next to him (also in Steelers gear), reassuring him that it was okay to pee. The drunk guy in front of me screamed “FUCK BEN ROETHLISBERGER! FUCK THE STEELERS! WHODEY!” at this kid for the next 30 seconds. That kid was terrified.

Chris:

At a family get together during Super Bowl XXIII, most of my slightly older loud-mouthed cousins were 49ers fans, so in my four-year old wisdom, I thought being contrarian would be the smart play! So I cheered for the Bengals, they lost, and I’ve been losing as a Bengals fan ever since.

I knew they’d lose in 2009 to the Jets. I knew they’d lose to the Texans in 2011 and 2012. I somehow knew they’d blow it against the Chargers in 2013 and knew that their injury-riddled group would get knocked out by the Colts in 2014. But somehow, some way, I thought 2015 would be different even with a backup quarterback and the hated Steelers awaiting in the playoffs. And it looked like it would be.

But reality kicked the Bengals and all of their tortured fans squarely in the nuts. We were driving home and listening to the final five-ish minutes on the radio when it all went south. When the game unraveled, I did as well. We arrived home and I sat stunned in the car after I had unleashed a few choice words for everything Bengal. I even cursed Kevin Harlan, my favorite play-by-play guy because he happened to be doing the game.

I’m a huge sports fan and watch a lot of games, so my girlfriend (now fiancee) has seen me keep a pretty level head during just about everything. Except this game. She was legitimately shocked at how invested I was in the game and how upset I was with the Bengals losing. I’d try to explain it the next day, but her surprise never really went away.

If I could go back and punch four-year old me in the face, I’d gladly do it.

Jared:

When I watched the Kevin Costner movie “Draft Day” I had to leave the theater because the Montana-to-Taylor winning touchdown pass gave me a panic attack. I was eight when that Super Bowl happened.

Joseph:

Drafting Joe Mixon broke me. If in 2017 this organization can’t see that disaster train coming after an off season of vintage Pacman Jones off-season highlights, then who gives a shit about anything else. The Bengals are permenatly fucked to lose forever. God isn’t dead, it was that he was never real in the first place.

Alex:

Mike Brown is too cheap to build an indoor practice facility. Cincinnati FC, which I understand is some sort of semi-pro soccer team, is building one this year. I hope Brown has a heart attack at Skyline Chili today.

Chris:

I started following the r/Bengals subreddit in order to keep tabs on the draft this year. That place has a level of delusion and aversion to facts on par with the Trump hivemind. Some typical posts include:

Dixon is a great kid, and the rest of the NFL is just maligning him because he’s on our team and it fits their narrative. Here’s a list of players on other teams who have also hit women . .

Burfict is a locker-room leader and upstanding member of the community. The rest of the NFL just hates him because he’s on our team and it fits their narrative. Here’s a list of players on other teams who are also cheap shot artists . . .

Pacman had a troubled youth but has turned his life around and just had one bad night, but nobody will listen because it doesn’t fit their narrative. Here’s a list of players on other teams who are 33-fucking-years-old and have been in jail 9 times for spitting on nurses and assaulting police officers. . .

Andy Dalton is clearly a top-5, maybe top-3, quarterback. He just needs a better supporting cast around him. How is he supposed to win playoff games with only the league’s best receiver and a top-10 defense? Here’s a list of washed-up O-linemen I wish we would sign. . .

For the record, I also believe each of those things to be true because I’m a piece of shit person who roots for this piece of shit team and deserves all the bad things that happen to them.

JP:

I took last season off from the Bengals. Had to. The Pittsburgh playoff game felt like the end of something big, and I couldn’t force myself to care what happened to them in its aftermath. Brother, it was awesome, and the time off left me totally at peace with everything. Like a sickness passed. By early-March, I started thinking about coming back. I’d finally shaken the Pittsburgh apocalypse out of my system, AJ Green’s a baller, that defense is fun…I was actually kind of looking forward to getting back in the mix.

Then they did all of the following, in quick succession:

1) Let left tackle Andrew Whitworth walk for nothing in free agency, along with guard Kevin Zeitler, two keys to what was once one of the most dominating offensive lines in football, replacing both with cheaper, unproven in-house options despite having more than enough money laying around to re-sign both and a “franchise” quarterback who is totally useless under even the faintest pressure;

2) Drafted Face-Puncher of Women Joe Mixon, which everyone saw coming but still felt and continues to feel dirty;

3) Trotted Marvin Lewis out to speak against the elimination of the anti-celebration rule, letting this pathetic dick with an 0-7 playoff record talk some anodyne bullshit about being an example for the kids (remember, this guy just drafted JOE MIXON, and coaches Pacman and Burfict) on behalf of owner Mike Brown, a hideously enflamed ass pimple of a man who makes Trump look like Jesus and is against doing anything fun.

So that’s gonna make it one more year, at least. Fuck this franchise, for real.

Michael:

You know how Buffalo is kind of like the little brother city of NYC? Or Pittsburgh is Philly’s little brother? Or Dallas is always little brothering Houston? Well, Cincinnati is getting little brothered by Cleveland. Cleveland.

Cleveland has LeBron, a championship this millennium, a team in the World Series, free agents actually wanting to go there, and last but not least the head football coach all Bengals fans heartily lust after, Hue Jackson.

The Bengals, a for-profit work release program and occasional football team, have slipped in the local sports pecking order by the following entities:

1. the basement-dwelling yet still somehow overachieving Reds,

2. the sixth place third tier minor league soccer team FC Cincinnati,

3. the most recent Xavier March Madness flame out,

4. UC’s embarrassingly futile attempts to join a real conference,

5. Macc’s beer league softball team,

6. backyard cornhole (both kinds),

7. making Harambe jokes (STILL!), and of course,

8. Urban Meyer’s freshest quarter-zip windbreaker.

Woman-clobbering Joe Mixon wasn’t drafted by the Bengals; he was raptured there by the team’s insatiable thirst for hardened criminals.

Pacman Jones had an impressive offseason even by his own lofty standards: obstructing justice, disorderly conduct, assault and felonious harassment with a bodily fluid. He got a one game suspension for his troubles.

Andrew Whitworth is LA’s first-and-fifteen now, but guess who’s back? Andre Smith, a man who once broke his foot by sole virtue of being fat.

Cincinnati, which has two publicly funded stadia it won’t pay off before the Ohio River swells large enough flush away the entire city, is eyeing not one but two more stadium projects to house college basketball and minor league soccer. Cincinnati is the fat man from Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life eating his after dinner mint.

Steeler fans can be found throughout the country, but Yinzer Nation is deeply pervasive in Southwest Ohio. The latest evidence? Primanti Brothers has opened just up I75 in Dayton. It won’t be long before they put one right outside Paul Brown Stadium so they can more easily splooge IC Light in my face after the latest Steelers romp.

This the Bengals’ 50th season and there is literally zero hype for it. People that achieve as little as the Bengals have in 50 years probably hang themselves.

Kyle:

After the 2005 season, my college roommates and I got on the season ticket waiting list. We kept them for two years, during which time the waiting list vanished.

Wesley:

Reading hopeful Bengals fan comments online have become truly tragic. It’s like seeing a soldier in a war movie step on a landline, blow half his guts out and then tries to pretend with you that he isn’t about to die.

“Yeah, man, Bengals are going to win the Super Bowl this year,” *coughs blood* “Going to win it all this year, bro, just you wait. You’ll see.” *bleeds more*

*Me the more cynical Bengals fan sobbing* “Sure, they will, brother. Who Dey, right?” *holding back tears* “This is our year, Bengals all the way right? Listen I’m going to have the chaplin talk to you for a second but don’t worry, man, I’ll see you at the Super Bowl.” *cries more*

Marvin Lewis is going to be just a head in a jar in a 1000 years ala Futurama coaching a team of cockroaches and commentators will still be asking if this “is the year Cincy finally gets over the hump?”

Sean:

Part of the reason why the Bengals suck so bad is that I have to clarify which part of the Bengals I’m referring to when I say they suck.

Am I referring to their owner, who is truly one of the worst humans on earth? Am I referring to the actual product on the field?

No, the real reason the Bengals suck is because in the early days of 2016, the Bengals decided to crush the souls of their fans. We finally did it. We were not only going to get our first playoff win in a million years, but against our biggest rivals. Burfict celebrated by running all the way down the tunnel and I cheered; oh man, did I cheer. Then Adam Jones lost his mind and Burfict lost his mind and I got to watch the Steelers, literally, walk down the field and kick the winning field goal.

I got a text from my buddy who is a PA native and diehard Steelers fan. We often trash talk during games, so I was expecting it.

All the text said was “Are you alright? That was just terrible”. The Bengals found a way to make even the biggest of Steelers fans not gloat, but legitimately feel bad for us Bengals fans, which is so much worse. I had to watch last season through the bottom of an empty bottle.

Fuck, the Bengals suck.

Patrick:

I liked the John Ross pick. He’s exciting and I’m excited to have him. Andy Dalton is going to get creamed every time they try to send him on a vertical route though because the defenders will blast him with 2.5 seconds of him hiking the ball every time.

Alex:

The Bengals last playoff win was 26 years ago, against the Houston Oilers. In fact the defunct Houston Oilers have a more recent playoff win than the Bengals. The Bengals have lost their last eight playoff games. Only Detroit has lost more (nine), but the Lions most recent playoff win is still one year less (25) than the Bengals.

O.J. Simpson murdered people, went through a lengthy trial, was acquitted, was sued, committed armed robbery, was convicted, went to prison for nine years, and has been paroled, all in the time since the Bengals last won a damn playoff game. He’ll probably do all of those things again before this team wins a playoff game.

To make things worse, the Reds haven’t advanced out of the first round of the playoffs since 1995. Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, and any other “sad/depressed” sports city out there has had one of their pro teams win a title or at the very least a damn playoff game/series since October 1995. Cincinnati takes the sad, moldy, cake for most depressed, deprived, etc. sports city.

This city and franchise is cursed all because they ended Bo Jackson’s career, the game immediately following their last playoff win.

Fuck me and fuck this team.

Oh and still, FUCK Kimo Von Oelhoffen.

Jonathan:

Witnessing the Falcons second half self destruction this past February, the feeling was incredibly familiar. The texts were flying between my Bengals friends. Well before it was over, we all said it felt like a standard Bengals big game collapse. As Bengals fans, we preternaturally knew where this was going. When the Patriots finally scored the last TD, it was almost relief. Fuck the Falcons for not running the ball most of the half. And Fuck Mike Brown.

Submissions for the Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Buffalo Bills.