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Some people are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Cincinnati Bengals.

Your 2017 record: 7-9. And now, I present to you… The Year In Burfict. Here is Vontaze Burfict hitting a defenseless receiver in a preseason game:

And here is Vontaze Burfict kicking a man.


And here is Vontaze Burfict at the beach! LOL just kidding I’m only fucking with you, it’s actually a photo of him being ejected:

And here, in a surprise twist, is Vontaze Burfict as the VICTIM of a dirty hit.


It will not shock you to learn that Vontaze Burfict will be unavailable for the first four games of this season due to a failed drug test. He may as well clear off every September from now until infinity and book a cabin at some lake or something. But don’t worry! The Bengals have any number of headhunters, goons, and assorted shitheads to pick up the slack for Vontaze while he’s away.

I can’t believe the NFL is going to let this team play the Steelers again this season. Haven’t we ALL seen enough? For the love of all this is holy, get that matchup off my fucking television. Whenever these teams meet, no one scores and everyone ends up paralyzed. This series is poison.


As for their on-the-field performance, the Bengals lost six of their first nine and then basically went to sleep. The biggest upset they pulled is when one of their players got into a brawl with Jalen Ramsey and it somehow wasn’t Vontaze Burfict. I watched them lose to Minnesota in Week 15 and they were so completely checked-out that I said to myself, “That’s it. There’s no WAY Marvin survives this. They can’t possibly justify keeping him around after a showing like that.” My friends, you should never EVER underestimate Mike Brown’s desire to save a dollar, because…

Your coach: Yep, it’s still Marvin Lewis. He had one foot out the door before the Bengals snatched defeat from the jaws of defeat and were like, “You know what? Fifteen years isn’t a big enough sample size. Let’s bring Marv back and see if he can finally BREAK THROUGH.” Amazing. Marvin’s signature career accomplishment is presiding over the greatest victory of the century … for the Buffalo Bills. For his own team, he is a classroom lecture they can never leave.

I can’t even imagine how dead these fans must feel inside. They must be dazed, as if walking away from a car crash they survived but still put them uncomfortably close to death. A piece of them is gone forever. Rooting for the Bengals is like seeing a window into the netherworld and never being able to avert your gaze from it. God, Marvin Lewis sucks at his job.


But don’t worry! Marvin shitcanned his OC two weeks into last season and replaced him with offensive whiz kid Bill Lazor. Sure, Lazor has ALSO been fired in the middle of the season by his former team, but his name has LAZOR right in it! Can‘t argue with that. PEW PEW PEW!

Your quarterback: It’s still Andy Dalton. The Bengals are the NFL’s answer to the question, “Hey, what if a team had Pittsburgh’s continuity, only it was never any good?” You people can’t even retain the hope of Andy getting benched anymore because AJ McCarron fucked off to Buffalo (but not before Brown tried to hold him hostage for an extra year on the cheap) and new backup Matt Barkley is basically a paper doll. Yes, the Red Rifle has cemented his position as the starter, which is somehow even more depressing than Eli Manning doing likewise. I think you could argue that Andy Dalton is the worst franchise quarterback in NFL history. He’s gonna start there for 10 straight years and end up with nothing to show for it. At least Dave Krieg won a playoff game.

What’s new that sucks: Nothing. I don’t think they even bothered changing out the Gatorade from last year’s coolers. I bet all the tap water in that stadium is brown. I’d be more excited to watch a snuff film if I were you. Oh wait … Pacman is gone? I guess that’s somewhat interesting. Tyler Eifert’s healed up just enough to shatter his pelvis in October. That’s also fun. Joe Mixon made it through an entire season without punching a woman. John Ross is fucking terrible. You play all your games in Tigger pajamas.


What has always sucked: This is obligatory, but so is everything else about Cincinnati: the town’s sole contributions to American life are race riots, forgettable ‘70s sitcoms, and revolting chocolate beef gravy. That’s it. Cincinnati is like what if Kentucky, but somehow also the worst big city in America? It’s also the worst city in arguably our worst state, and it should be cleansed from the landscape by a swarm of flying ants.

I’ve also been told by a trusted source that Cincinnati somehow has the worst weather in the universe, and that somehow it’s like the Deep South in the summer and fucking Cleveland in the winter. Why are you people still there? GO. LEAVE. Go find sunshine. Take A.J. Green with you before he loses his goddamn mind.

Pete Rose was overrated. Ichiro is the true hit king. You killed Ken Griffey Jr.


What might not suck: Clearly your ability to occasionally beat the Ravens makes other fanbases very happy, so try to focus on that for the time being.

Let’s remember a guy who sucked: You already know that the Bengals are home to some of the worst draft picks ever: Wilkinson, Smith, Klingler, Carter, Warrick etc. But did you know their good draft picks ALSO sucked? Everyone remembers the Ickey Shuffle but what you might not remember about Ickey is that he got hurt in his second season and then was basically never heard from again. He was Steve Slaton with bad dancing. Was he REALLY a good draft choice? What about Dalton? Does being trapped with a ginger turnover machine for years and years mean you drafted wisely? I don’t think it does. Every Bengal in history, talented or not, has something deeply wrong with him.

Boomer Esiason is a prick.



When they try to rub it in, my friends don’t even bother to be funny or hurtful anymore, because why bother?



When my family first got America Online, my dad picked the sign-on GOBENGALS. I couldn’t post anywhere in the Nintendo 64 boards without getting shit for it.


Having Andy Dalton at QB is the equivalent to having a burrito with just rice inside.



Marvin has the look of a man who has been teaching 10th grade basic math at a public high school for 30 years and coaches with about as much heart and enthusiasm.


They’re like the dad who promises you an awesome Christmas present and then just re-wraps some of your old toys and gives them back to you on December 25th.



We will see the pee tape before we see whatever dirt Marvin Lewis has on Mike Brown.


In roughly one billion years, the sun will evaporate the Earth’s oceans, rendering our planet uninhabitable and ostensibly meaning the end of life on Earth. The following day, Marvin Lewis will sign another two-year extension with the Bengals. They will still not have won a playoff game.



Every year I think they’re going to suck, they disappoint me. Every year I think they’re going to be good, they disappoint me.


I wouldn’t have cared if Mikey Boy hired Wade Fontes [sic], Jeff Fisher, Herm fucking Edwards or the ghost of Buddy Ryan to replace him.



I hate the Bengals. I love the Bengals. I hate myself.


Bengals and Reds, combined, have not won a home playoff game since 1995 (0-12).


After the playoff loss to the Steelers, I swore off of Bengals football. I have not watched more than 10 minutes of a Bengals game in two full seasons, and I realized how much I was missing out on by devoting my Sundays to watching Marvin Lewis find new ways to shit all over his dick. After 22 years as a fan, the biggest gift they gave me was realizing how I am better off without them.



They were about to fleece the Browns for AJ McCarron and they fucked that up too.

Fuck Joey Porter

Fuck Kimo Von Oelhoffen

Fuck Marvin Lewis

Double Fuck Mike Brown


I took my two-year-old to training camp this past weekend. Andy Dalton made a nice throw and I looked down to explain it to my kid, he was eating rocks. My son would rather eat rocks than watch Andy throw.



We finally relieved ourselves of the most underperforming coach of all time only to let him stroll back into our lives. I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship.


Thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals, this diehard Midwestern football fan is all sorts of pumped for MLS soccer. This isn’t how things were supposed to go. Not like this.



My attempts to ignore this team will be going along swimmingly UNTIL Vontaze Burfict does something foul enough on the field to get national news coverage. I expect this will happen around week 6, though that may be a tad optimistic.

Drew (not me):

My parents spent a few thousand dollars to make a van a “fan van.” Orange paint with stripes, logos, all that good shit. Firmly planted on the back are decals to commemorate the Bengals two AFC Championship crowns. The van was used for one season before we let our season tickets go.



On January 4, 2011, Lewis re-signed a 2-year contract with the Bengals. (Coming off 4-12, worst record in his tenure)

On July 31, 2012, Lewis signed a 2-year contract extension through 2014. (Coming off loss to Texans in playoffs for 2nd straight year)

On April 22, 2015, Lewis signed a 1-year extension with the Bengals through 2016. (Coming off 4th consecutive loss in Wild Card round)

On April 8, 2016, Lewis signed a 1-year extension through 2017. (Coming off 5th consecutive loss in Wild Card round, this one via the infamous Steelers collapse)

On January 2, 2018, Lewis signed a 2-year contract extension with the Bengals. (Coming off 7-9, 2nd year in a row with losing record)

Just make it a life sentence and end the fucking charade.


Tyler Eifert is the flimsiest thing to come out of Notre Dame since Brian Kelly’s excuses after the scissor lift accident.



A desperate minority of Bengals fans are so fed up with conspicuous complacency that we’re jealous of the goddamn Browns.

Being a Bengals fan gets worse every year by virtue of remaining exactly the same. This franchise’s last playoff win is chronologically closer to the JFK assassination than it is to the present day.



I gave up the NFL a couple of years ago. I finally had enough of a league run by 32 of the worst men in American who lie about concussions, shelter abusers, and black-ball a peaceful protester, all while wrapping themselves in the flag and the military. Whenever someone asks why I quit, I give them that laundry list. But then, inevitably, I feel obligated to qualify my moral stand by saying I grew up a Bengals fan. Even when doing something I think is good, the Bengals still manage to make it feel insignificant and cheap.

Fuck Mike Brown with the rusty pocket change he has picked off the floor of bathroom stalls and placed in a jar on his dresser for the last 35 years.



These assholes were at adjacent tailgates, not ten feet away from one another, but didn’t know each other, which means if I take this sample size and extrapolate it across the fanbase we definitely lead the NFL in fans with #69 jerseys. The guy in the Harambe jersey was blackout drunk an hour before the game started.



Last year’s Week 17, I lifted the attention embargo I’d had all year and made an effort to watch the Bengals’ final game of the season. I was positive it’d be Marvin Lewis’ last game as Bengals head coach, and for all his faults and shortcomings he single-handedly changed the on-field culture of my favorite football team these last fifteen years, bringing the franchise out of the dark ages of the 1990s into competitive respectability. Seven playoff appearances in ten years seemed unfathomable in 2002, and yet he got it done, and though each one came up a loser I remain grateful for his efforts getting the team there. I live out of market, and though I hadn’t gone to a bar in nearly two years to watch the team, I did so for his final game as coach. Dumb as it sounds, I felt I owed him that much.

And they won! In Baltimore! On a wild fifty-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter! And in doing so knocked the hated Ravens out of the playoffs! I happened to be watching the game with a bunch of Bills fans, and they kept buying me drinks because a Ravens’ loss meant Buffalo got in! It was incredible, the perfect capstone to Marv’s time with the team and a perfect way for everyone, both the team and its fans, to move on, a final, lasting moment of joy before Marv hit the highway to benign irrelevance and his era could begin its change from constant present-day aggravation to one of fond remembrance.

Except Marvin Lewis was not fired, and did not retire. None of this will ever change, and so nothing this team does this season deserves even one second of my or anyone else’s time and attention. I like and admire Marv as a person but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, you guys. Jesus fucking Christ. I hope they go 0-16. Fuck this bullshit straight to hell.



Can you believe the City of Cincinnati demanded and built a streetcar which it can’t afford and nobody rides!? You betcha! Who cares about education, safety or building a better infrastructure when you can ride 10 blocks a little bit faster than a normal person can walk the same distance. The city has a new soccer team that is already more popular than the Bengals. The city also now has more breweries than cops and hospitals combined.

Did the Bengals use a draft pick on an Ohio State player? You’re damn right they did. Two this year, actually.



Remember the end of Infinity War when the Avengers watch their friends disintegrate? That’s what a Bengals fan experiences during a playoff game.


The interior of the stadium is so fucking bland that there aren’t any photos of the inside. They haven’t decorated it at all. There are no banners in the stadium. There are no statues. There is no Hall of Fame. There are no plaques. You could plop the stadium down as is in Buffalo and a newcomer wouldn’t know it had been home to the Bengals the night before because Mike Brown is too fucking cheap to decorate the place.



Dave Shula lost 50 games faster than any other coach in history. And we hired him instead of Bill Cowher.

Mike Brown looks like the offspring of Toby Jones and a snapping turtle.

During the epic playoff meltdown of January 2016, the Bengals were down late and I turned the game off before McCarron threw a TD pass to take the lead.

My wife and I sat on the couch as our phones exploded from friends and family: “Bengals TD! They have the lead! Holy shit!” My brother-in-law as at the game.

I turned to my wife and said “Let’s watch The Office. I refuse to turn this on and watch a classic Bengals meltdown.”

We all know what happened next...


I could’ve written a book, but then I saw this photo of the Bengals practice field and figured that about summed it up.



My family used to have season tickets. After one preseason game in 2008, which the Bengals won, we were walking back to the ferry to take us across the river to Kentucky, where we parked our car. A homeless man emerges from his tent, and shouts “How ‘bout them Bengals?!” Somehow, this pissed off a group of fans waiting in line behind me. They started insulting him, threatening him and his wife, saying they’d “burn down his one-room apartment”, and I shit you not, bragging about how much more money they had than he did. I was disgusted at this particular group of guys.

But then other people, completely separate from the first group, started throwing rocks. I actually saw people picking up rocks and giving them to their kids to throw at a homeless man. I was the only person to step in and try to stop them, but I was 17 and easily ignored. Soon after, the ferry came back and everybody got on and the homeless guy eventually got some peace. My girlfriend at the time actually was so upset AT ME for getting angry and yelling that she sobbed the whole way home. Bengals fans are the worst.

And lest you think I’m a paragon of virtue, or that I’m somehow exempt from the curse of Bengals fandom, I got roaringly drunk on awful caramel whiskey at the Buffalo game last year and pissed right there at my seat. Twice.



A few years ago I was dating a girl who had a young son, and I was tasked with introducing him to football. I told him “Buddy, you were born here in Cincinnati, so you have to be a Bengals fan like me.”

And he looked me in the eye and said, “Why?”

I had no answer. I was 29, and a six-year-old had just shown me that I had wasted my entire life.

Fuck this team, fuck Marvin Lewis, and fuck Mike Brown into the goddamn sun.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a bombshell a couple months ago when he told Cowherd that before Lewis, the Bengals didn’t supply players with bottled water, hotel rooms for home games or new jock straps.

My dad keeps reminding me that I was born two weeks after the Bengals’ last playoff win over the Oilers. As he woefully says, “The Reds won the World Series. The Bengals won in the playoffs. And then you were born.” Thanks, dad. Always nice to know your dad is pondering an alternate universe in which he pulled out.



Flash back to the 2015/2016 playoffs. This picture was taken the exact moment Landry Jones threw an interception with under two minutes to go in the game. We just had to run out the clock! Look at these faces... we legitimately thought we were finally going to win a playoff game. Those smiles represent DECADES of frustration about to be wiped away. It didn’t occur to any of us that we would not only fumble the ball on the very next play, but have our defense meltdown in such an epic way. I’m the asshole in this picture wearing a Burfict jersey.

Fuck Mike Brown with an industrial sized can of Skyline Chili.



My friend ran into the Bengals new left tackle Cordy Glenn. Glenn told my friend that Cincinnati was boring and he can’t wait to get back to Buffalo. Buffalo!

Bengals fans are assholes. I know this because I am one. A few years ago, the Bengals sold Devon Still jerseys and gave 100% of the sales to charity, a local children’s hospital. Not 100% of the profits, 100% of the total sale price, meaning the Bengals were eating nearly all the costs. It was a noble endeavor from an organization of sometimes questionable nobility. Over a million dollars went to helping sick kids, but I bought a cheap knockoff Devon Still jersey from some shady website. Sorry, humanity.

If you’re looking at omens for the Bengals this season, the death of Popsy, the last remaining bengal tiger at the Cincinnati Zoo, is probably not a great sign.

Not content with sucking every last dollar out of Hamilton County residents, the Bengals used their legalized ransom note stadium lease to beef with the local orchestra. The Bengals claim the site of a new music venue encroaches on their territory. If only they were that persistent at defending their own end zone.



The only active coach who has been with his team longer is Bill Belichick who has five Super Bowl wins since he started with the Patriots.

I fully expect the Brown family to move the team after their stadium lease in Cincinnati comes to an end in 2026. They’ll be hungry for a modern billion-dollar stadium by that point and there’s no way on Earth that the poor hillbillies around here will agree to that, especially after getting the worst deal of all-time with our last stadium in the 1990s. My only question is if they’ll go to a city that got screwed out of a franchise during this decade (Saint Louis Bengals anybody?) or if we’ll all be cursed to watch games featuring “The Mexico City Bengals” or some other foreign city. Tell me I’m wrong.



I was in a bar wearing a late-2000s era Ochocinco jersey, standing next to a Steelers fan. Two minute warning. The Steelers backup QB threw an interception and I was going to see the Cincinnati Bengals win a playoff game for the first time in twenty-five years. We were leading and the only thing Jeremy Hill had to do was not drop the football. And because I have not retained one piece of information from decades of Bengals fandom, I threw my arms up in the air and screamed. Someone picked me up and spun me around the room. I told the Steelers fan to suck it.

Then Jeremy Hill dropped the football.


This team will never win anything until Mike Brown shuffles off this mortal coil. And when that happens the team will be sold and moved out of Cincinnati to some god forsaken place, like St. Louis.



Marvin Lewis was hired on January 4th, 2003, the year I started kindergarten. Assuming he is retained for the length of this extension, and he will be, because the one thing Mike Brown hates more than Hamilton County taxpayers is changing head coaches, he will remain the head coach of my favorite team until January 2021, a full seven months after I graduate from college. All I have ever consciously known for my entire life is Marvin Lewis. I bet they extend him again. Fuck Mike Brown, and fuck me for loving this lemon of a franchise.


I was born in Columbus, so I could have reasonably been either a Bengals or a Browns fan by proximity. I made the wrong choice. I’ve moved all around this state and wherever I go, Browns fans are way more fun to hang out with. Bengal fans are the most joyless, bland people rooting for a joyless, bland team. I have never run into another Bengals fan when travelling out of Ohio. If I did, we would have nothing to talk about.

This last spring I bought a new Reds hat. I haven’t watched a Reds game since Larkin was in the league, but I’ll be goddamned if I get seen in public with the Bengals’ dumb fucking tiger logo on my head.



This tweet haunts me. I don’t want to die like that. Not like that.



The last time the Bengals were in a playoff game (2016 against the Steelers), I guess I’d had a long day, and when it got to 15-0 Steelers, I decided to go to bed because why bother staying up to watch the end of this crap.

Woke up the next morning to find out that somehow AJ McCarron had engineered a furious comeback, and they picked off a Landry Jones pass and were about to seal the deal on their first playoff win in 25 years, when our pretty reliable running back (Jeremy Hill) coughs up the ball. Roethlisberger drags his fat injured ass on the field and throws an incomplete pass to Antonio Brown, except that the dirtiest player in Bengals history (Vontaze Burfict) decided to take a cheap shot at him for no good reason and get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and while they’re tending to Brown while he’s nearly unconscious, the Steelers cheap shot artist assistant coach (Joey Porter, who once had six of his boys jump a Levi Jones in a casino for no good reason) manages to sneak across the field and start taunting a group of Bengals, and of course the guy with the longest rap sheet in the NFL (Pac-Man Jones, he’ll always be Pac-Man to me) takes the bait and gets another unsportsmanlike penalty, and the Steelers kick a game winning field goal because they just handed them 30 yards.

And I just started cackling uncontrollably. Not in a happy gleeful way, but in the way that Arya Stark cackled when she and The Hound traveled 80 bajillion miles to stay with her aunt Lysa and then found out she was dead. Of course this is how it would end, in the most Bengal way possible.

And that’s the closest we’ve been to a playoff win since 1991, and Marvin Lewis will never stop being the coach of this team and we’re not going to get there again for another 25 years.



As someone born right after the last Reds World Series and last Bengals playoff win in spring of 91’, I have seen the following...

- Marvin Lewis’ 0-7 playoff record, including playoff losses vs the Texans (x2), the Colts (AJ Green was hurt so Rex Goddamn Burkhead was the slot receiver) and the famous Summer Slam against the Steelers and Joey Porter. Also Kimo rolling into Carson Palmer’s knee turning it into mushy paste. The most fight a Bengal has shown in the last year occurred in Atlanta’s airport.

- The Reds have modern day Ted Williams and everyone bitches about him taking too many walks and having a big contract. Also, weirdly our fans thought Brandon Phillips was a bit too flashy.

- Xavier basketball gets their first 1 and 2 seeds in the past few years and of course don’t make it past the 2nd round. With Gonzaga now not choking away, guess who has the most NCAA wins without a Final Four?

- Cincinnati basketball is just as bad at squandering any good will and also just got embarrassed in the NCAA tourney by blowing a 22-point lead.

Even the new soccer team managed to blow a 2-0 lead in a tournament so they could join in on the fun.

Meanwhile, beating the Titans 13-7 in a wild card game where Andy Dalton throws three picks while AJ Green sulks would a top five moment of my sports fandom. Fuck this city that isn’t Midwestern, Southern, Coastal, or anything worth mentioning. We act like our closed-mindedness and lack of personality is an amazing trait but we are all sad sacks of worthless goop.

Skyline Chili is good though.


Fuck Mike Brown. The day he dies I’m getting a cigar and a tall glass of bourbon so I can toast to a bright future.


Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Washington Redskins.