First of all, let me say I'd like to thank commenter TigerJ@w for bringing this to our attention. I don't watch a ton of Cincinnati local TV so I missed this originally. It is a veritable treasure trove of Mike Brown goodness that we're busting open here. So thanks, kind sir.
Let's just get right to it. As always, I'll be doing this FJM-style (I know, they aren't around any more, no need to give them links or credit. Can't help it.). If you'd like, you can watch the entire Fox 19 video interview with Mike Brown, however I'll transcribe the good stuff.
To open, one of the commentators mentions that Mike Brown only talks to the media once per year, at the Bengals' kickoff luncheon. We sometimes catch heat around these parts for spinning every piece of Bengals news negatively. We've probably been guilty of it in the past. However, this is one piece of information we've done a disservice to. The general manager of an actual, real life, American professional sports organization routinely talks to the media once per year, right before the season starts. Of course, this is when hope springs eternal and almost any concern seems petty. I almost can't imagine that happening in this day and age of media coverage. Almost.
Now, onto the good stuff.
On bringing Mike Vick to Cincinnati:
Quarterbacks are like king bees, you can have about one of them before you begin to run into trouble.
Now, I can't say for sure whether or not he said king bee or queen bee. It sounds to me as if he said king, but he's been quoted elsewhere as queen. There is no such thing as a king bee. So, if you said what I think you said, you are WRONG ABOUT THE BEES Mr. Brown. Two things Mike Brown shouldn't run:
1. A bee hive
2. An NFL team
Also, look at how many quarterbacks Mikey thinks you can have. "About" one. Maybe that explains the Klingler/Frerotte/Smith years. He wasn't sure if you could have one whole quarterback without getting bee problems. And we all know those Orkin guys are expensive.
On hiring a general manager:
A lot of teams don't have a general manager.
[record screech] Excuse me, sir? Maybe we have different definitions of "a lot." My definition of a lot, when speaking of a group of 32 teams, would be anywhere from 12-20. Let's go through the league, team by team, and see which ones have a general manager.
- Patriots - do not have an person with that specific title. We all know that Belichick runs the show up there. It has proven rather effective. No need for a general manager, but they don't have one nonetheless. GM 0, No GM 1.
- Jets - Mike Tannenbaum. GM 1. No GM 1
- Bills - Do not have someone with the actual title of general manager. Russ Brandon has the title of Chief Operating Officer and fills the role of GM. I'm going to give Mikey every possible point here, so GM 1, No GM 2.
- Dolphins - Jeff Ireland. GM 2, No GM 2.
- Steelers - Kevin Colbert. GM 3, No GM 2.
- Browns - George Kokinis. GM 4, No GM 2.
- Ravens - Ozzie Newsome. GM 5, No GM 2.
- Colts - Do not have someone operating under the title general manager. Again, because I'm making a point, point for Mikey. GM 5, No GM 3.
- Titans - Mike Reinfeldt. GM 6, No GM 3.
- Texans - Rick Smith. GM 7, No GM 3.
- Jaguars - Gene Smith. GM 8, No GM 3.
- Broncos - Brian Xanders. GM 9, No GM 3.
- Chiefs - Scott Pioli. GM 10, No GM 3.
- Chargers - AJ Smith. GM 11, No GM 3.
- Raiders - Al Davis operates the football operations. Going pretty well the last half-decade for him. GM 11, No GM 4.
- Eagles - Tom Heckert. GM 12, No GM 4.
- Redskins - No general manager under owner Daniel Snyder. Again, working out great for them. GM 12, No GM 5.
- Cowboys - Jerry Jones runs the football operations. Mike's "No GM" statement is making a little run here. Typical. He falls way behind early, to the point where he can't win, but comes back and makes it "competitive" late? I've heard this song before. Also, and I could rant on this for a long while, the only two periods of success for the Cowboys under Jerry Jones? When Jimmy Johnson was coach and the two years after that, and when Bill Parcells was coach and the two years after that. He needs a strong coach there to make personnel decisions or he's just as bad as any other owner/GM. GM 12, No GM 6.
- Giants - Jerry Reese. GM 13, No GM 6. End the "No GM" streak.
- Packers - Ted Thompson. GM 14, No GM 6.
- Vikings - Rick Spielman. GM 15, No GM 6.
- Lions - Martin Mayhew. Although they may not be the best example of GM = good. GM 16, No GM 6.
- Bears - Jerry Angelo. GM 17, No GM 6.
- Falcons - Thomas Dimitroff. GM 18, No GM 6.
- Buccaneers - Mark Dominik. GM 19, No GM 6.
- Panthers - Marty Hurney. GM 20, No GM 6.
- Saints - Mickey Loomis. GM 21, No GM 6.
- Rams - Billy Devaney. GM 22, No GM 6.
- 49ers - Scot McCloughan. GM 23, No GM 6.
- Seahawks - Tim Ruskell. GM 24, No GM 6.
- Cardinals - Rod Graves. GM 25, No GM 6.
It started bugging me half way through, so I went to the Steelers homepage (ugh) when I was almost done to check officially on Kevin Colbert. They do not officially list him as general manager. So, the final tally: Teams with a general manager - 24. Teams without a general manager - 7. I'm sure Mikey Boy is used to losing 24-7 so this won't be a problem for him. Those seven teams are the Patriots (an almost impossible model to replicate as there is only one Belichick), Colts (Bill Polian serves as de facto GM), Bills (Russ Brandon is de facto GM), Steelers (Kevin Colbert is de facto GM), Cowboys (again, largely unsuccessful if Jerry Jones is calling the shots), Redskins (Snyder is influential but doesn't call all the shots like Mikey Boy does; still, they're a failure), and the Raiders (total abortion of a team since the 2002 season).
In reality, in the spirit of the term general manager, only four teams have none - Bengals, Cowboys, Redskins, Raiders. Those teams have won a combined 5 playoff games this decade, with 4 of those belonging to the 2000-2002 Raiders. Clearly, 5 playoff wins in a combined 36 seasons without a general manger is working well.
OK, Mikey, I've talked for too long. You were saying something?
What a general manager does is different with every team
You know what? I'm perfectly willing to concede this point to you, Mr. Brown. Let's take a look at a few:
Colts' football man Bill Polian - Charged with finding players that fit his coaches' schemes well, particularly defensively. Because of his team building philosophy, needs to be heavily involved in the draft. Because they are willing to pay 6-9 of their stars heavily, they can't afford to miss out on the NFL's one opportunity to acquire cheap talent, the draft. Must put a quality offensive line in front of his most valuable property, quarterback Peyton Manning.
Chiefs' GM Scott Pioli - Well, he just got there, so the mess there is not at all his fault. He's charged with rebuilding the team. Coming from a strong organization in New England, he no doubt realizes the importance of a franchise quarterback. Time will tell if he has his, but give him credit for doing all he can to acquire one so early in his tenure. He also understands that a strong defense starts up front, so it is his task to build a quality defensive line to anchor the defense, particularly with their young secondary.
Giants' GM Jerry Reese - Here's a guy who has a totally different job than Scott Pioli. He's got a loaded roster that is only one season removed from a title. As such, he has a lot of players who are looking for pay raises. Even if they are all deserving, he can't fit them all under the NFL salary cap. He'll have to make some hard decisions on which ones are vital to continuing to field a championship caliber team and which ones will have to move on to other organizations.
Bengals' owner/GM Mike Brown - Must run the team using only family and friends in key positions, the "old fashioned" way, as his Dad taught him no matter how overwhelming the evidence points to his own failure to execute. Exploit every revenue source possible (aside from sources that come from "winning") from owning a monopoly that he did nothing to create so and he and his family never have to change despite their failure (and become wealthy to boot). Winning football games is the goal but only if it is done this "old-fashioned" way while being profitable. Better to lose than to win without being totally in control.
We do all the things that a general manager does with other teams
Sigh. Must you repeat it?
I don't know that half the teams in this league have general managers.
Again, by even the most liberal interpretation of "that team doesn't have a general manager," around 8 teams in the league don't have one. Half, by my count, would be 16.
In all seriousness though, shouldn't Mike Brown realize how many of his competing organizations have general managers? Shouldn't he, as chief football executive of this team, be talking to other general managers all the time? Especially around the draft and the end of camp? Even if he's the worst GM in the league, shouldn't he, at an absolute bear minimum, know this information off the top of his head? He's been doing this for almost 20 years now. If there is one thing he should know, it's the other general managers he's dealing with.
A lot of it is just titles. Titles don't mean much.
You're right, it is just titles. How about this, you hire someone to make all football related decisions, get totally out of the way of any and all football operations, hire a larger scouting staff, and we'll let you call yourself general manager. It's just a title, after all.
Also, Mike Brown: Titles don't mean much. No truer words have ever been spoken.
I, uh, currently am showing some sensitivity to this one [laughs]. Maybe I shouldn't.
To be honest, I'm not sure what to make of the sensitivity comment. It could mean he's considered it, it could mean he's feeling the heat, it could mean he doesn't really care about what anyone else says.
So, but, but, uh, it's a good question...
It's always nice when a man who is asked about 15 questions a year calls your question a good one. So congratulations, interviewer guy.
...and, uh, I think that, uh, we've gotten there in the past operating the way we do, and I think we will in the future.
Gotten where, exactly? To the playoffs, one time in 18 years? Is that "there." Or is "there" 8-8, and thus competitive? I usually think Mikey is just a stubborn old man who is too cheap to pay someone else to do something that he can do 25% as well. Is it possible that he's simply delusional?
"Hey guys, this might not be working now, but it's worked in the past, so let's keep trying." Does he realize that it's never really worked? I'm not 100% sure he does. This is terrifying.
On if it gets old hearing that the Bengals are one of the worst franchises in professional sports:
I listen to Sirius Radio
Me too! Baba booey Baba booey Baba booey.
because, you know, you don't have to listen to talk shows locally [chuckles].
On his favorite channels - Coffeehouse, Pop2k, and Blue Collar Comedy.
Oh, sure, I'm aware of it
You really need to hear the dismissive way he says this, right at the 2:27 mark.
And does it impact me? Yeah. No one likes to hear that kind of talk.
Tip: Don't visit WhoDeyRevolution.com or BeatUpBengals.com then.
But it moves around.
It does? I don't remember a time during your tenure where the label was far from your franchise.
Up until last year they would say the same thing about the, uh, Arizona Cardinals. And they won. And they put it behind them. If we're gonna, uh, uh, put that behind us, we have to do the same thing. We have to win. I think we have a good shot at winning, we'll see.
I'll give him a few points here for at least admitting that they need to win before the label gets thrown off.
Also, let us not forget that the Cardinals hired six scouts before last season, including two that were to be additional pro scouts. Is it possible that that's what helped put this dastardly label behind them?
On whether or not he can give the fans a reason to be optimistic (answer: no):
We, uh, have a lot of things that are different than last year. We're healthier. We're healthier at the quarterback position.
August 6th, 2008 - there are no worries about Carson Palmer's health.
August 6th, 2009 - there are at least some worries about Carson Palmer's health.
Nobody was sitting around at this time last year with a lack of optimism because of the upcoming injury to our franchise quarterback. Saying, "Our quarterback got hurt last year so we're going to turn it around this year!" isn't the greatest rallying cry.
We have a runner now going into the season, we didn't last year.
You didn't last year? Well, damnit, who's making football decisions around there? That guy needs to be held accountable for the stunning lack of running back depth in 2008!
Also, the runner you have now was one of the worst in the league last year. Granted, he was still an upgrade over Chris Perry, but there are several cadavers that are on par with him.
We lost our two tackles.
You did? Which two? Levi Jones, who couldn't exactly be counted on after his less than stellar 2007? Willie Anderson, who was simply a victim of the natural aging process for an NFL player, and you cut before the season? Or Stacy Andrews, who played in virtually every game?
You didn't "lose your two tackles." You got a little less out of them than could be reasonably expected.
The rest of the interview is just standard junk - "We've got Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga! Antwan Odom was never healthy last year! Neither was Robert Geathers! Injuries! Experience! Leadership!" Not even really worth commenting on.
See you next year, Mikey.