After a couple of days of suspense, the Bengals anticlimactically announced today that Marvin Lewis is coming back for two more years as head coach.
I was going to craft a long, acerbic essay about the dysfunctional nature of Mike Brown’s dad Paul Brown’s once-proud franchise, but then I just became depressed and walked over to Sunshine Foods — a longtime CityBeat employee lunch stop staple — and splurged on a Italian sausage hoagie with pizza sauce and pickles.
While Sunshine’s amiable crew put together my hoagie, I glanced at the Bengals schedule poster taped to the window and noticed that, at a certain point, someone stopped writing in the scores of each game. It’s probably no coincidence that the appointed scorekeeper stopped updating the poster about the same time most fans grew tired of supporting a team that found ways — often improbable ways — to lose each week, resulting in a string of non-sellout home games and local TV blackouts.
Mike Brown said this about the state of the Bengals management approach — one that features a downsized scout team and no true general manager — during today’s press conference to announce Lewis’ extension: “I don’t think it works badly. I think it works alright.”
So it comes down to this: The Bengals have not won a playoff game in 20 years, and until Mike Brown starts making decisions that show he cares about winning a playoff game, fewer and fewer fans are going to show up at Paul Brown Stadium and more and more are going to be content with a blackout every fall Sunday.