The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Brown's "Bungals"


Who's to blame in Cincinnati? You got a couple hours to kill?

It all began at the start of the 1990's, sadly and symbolically, around the time Paul Brown passed away. One could argue the appearance of profit first, winning second was the top priority of Brown's son and franchise executive successor.

Coming off a very respectable 1980's decade with two Super Bowl appearances, the turn for the worse came abruptly. After a dismal final year of Sam Wyche's Bengals in 1991, in came David Shula and David Klingler. And there begins the Bungals franchise we've grown accustommed to.

From 1991 to date, the Bengals have ONE winning season -- the 2005, 11-5 campaign that ended in a Carson Palmer-crushing, Wild Card Game disaster vs. Pittsburgh. This is a timespan that in addition to Klingler, also includes QB names like Jeff Blake, Jay Schroeder, Neil O'Donnell, Akili Smith, Scott Mitchell and Jon Kitna. Declaring the group average at best would probably be a complement.

So the issue is Mike Brown. His executive staff is basically all family members. That would classify as nepotism. His collection of players is poor. Whereas it was the quality of player performance in the 90's, it's more disturbingly become the quality of character this decade.

Names such as Chris Henry, Odell Thurman, Matthias Askew, Reggie McNeal, Deltha O'Neal are just a few of those who have behaved badly off the field. The egomaniacal ways of Chad Johnson on the field don't help and the pickup of troubled RB Cedric Benson might not be the best way to turn morale either. This franchise needs new ownership. Since it's not getting that, it will need a new coach with new players. You can be sure that will come in '09. I would build around Carson Palmer once healthy, get rid of Henry and trade Ocho Cinco for some draft picks. Build a solid base, find young players eager to perform and not parade around like they're already enshrined in the H.O.F.

The Bengals have accepted themselves as the woeful franchise they've become. A change in culture from the top down must be the top priority. Whether ownership recognizes that continues to be another story.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  November 21, 2008; 12:37 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

i don't know if you guys get to talk to him, but someone should tell tony kornheiser to cut that ridiculous-looking combover. he looks like an idiot on tv.

and tell him to try and shut up sometimes during MNF, too. his jokes really aren't funny, and always picking at Jaws makes him come off as a petty little jerk.

oh, and i'm a lifelong bengals fan. first off, if you're going to say it, say it's Bungles, not Bungals.

and Mike Brown is the sole problem. You can't change the culture without Mike the Swollen Tic deciding it's ok. he's ruined football in Cinci and his family name.

Posted by: sven | November 21, 2008 4:46 PM

I like this response. I don't know much about the Bungles but Ditching Ocho Cinco and rebuilding through the draft is really the only option at this point. Its what the Redskins need to do with their O and D linesonly theres really no one that I would want to get rid of. Guess we will have to proceed slowly using our available picks since Snyderato used three picks on receivers when we only really need two at most and probably one and should hv used the others on Pass rushers and O linemen.

Posted by: congero | November 22, 2008 12:13 PM

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