My friend and yours, Bengals "Dear Leader" Mike Brown has a philosophy about football and about business, but looking at his major holding, you'd be hard pressed to figure it out. His coach, Marvin Lewis, does too. While Mike's philosophy may be harder to discern, perhaps we can figure it out by attacking Marvin's motto: "Do your job." Whether or not that's been an effective rallying cry over the Lewis years is up for debate. Let's just look at Mike.
Mike's job is to do one thing, as far as business is concerned: make money. We have 18 years to judge him on, but if we look at the end result, we see that Forbes Magazine last year ranked the Bengals 21 out of 32 teams for overall value. Not good, so Mike loses points there.
Another good way to evaluate a business? Overall growth. Once again, we look to Forbes Magazine. In this category, we see that between 2007 and 2008, the only team whose value increased less was the Rams. Ouch (The Cardinals were the same as the Bengals, but I think it's safe to say they'll see a healthy jump).
So why do people perform poorly in their jobs? Maybe they're unhappy.
Which brings me to a theory about Mike Brown that Cincinnatians have perhaps been circling for years, but I don't think has been sufficiently voiced. Mike Brown hates football. Or the business of it, anyway, and one could argue if he were interested in it ON the field he'd have made some kind of effort to show that by now.
To wit: Brown's recent testimony from an April lawsuit, as publicized in the Cincinnati Enquirer, italics mine: "[Son Paul] does what I did for many years, which is not particularly enjoyable. He has to say garbage to players."
Really? Say what you will about Robert Kraft, I'd be willing to bet he wouldn't call player negotiations garbage under oath.
There is of course, another theory. That Brown himself is not willfully hateful but monumentally stupid. Evidence for that theory comes from his answers to questions about the set-up of his organization, which include:
"Q: Have you always been chairman of the board of the Cincinnati Bengals?
A: If you start asking me about titles, I might not be able to tell you that I actually know what title.
Q: You don't know — as you sit here today — you don't know whether or not you also hold the title of chairman of the board?
A: I know I am the CEO of the Bengals."
That's right, comrades. Mike Brown only has a vague idea what his job even is. That must make it hard to do.