It's been quite an active couple of days for comments on our site. We appreciate everyone's viewpoint, and I think it is all a testament to how emotionally we are tied to this team...in one way or another.
For those of you who were up in arms over the posting of the Blair Witch style video of the two crucial plays from the game on Sunday: It was not my intention to celebrate those who were in the stadium as supporting Mike Brown, etc. I just thought it captured what this city actually felt on Sunday, and how it could be like that all the time if the Bengals actually structured the organization like a real-live NFL team. This team has a long way to go to even sniff the playoffs, and I sure as hell don't to think this team is going to a Super Bowl anytime soon. If Brian Leonard doesn't get his hand down and leap for a first down, we are talking about another loss to Pittsburgh and a disappointing 1-2 start. I as much as anyone understand that.
The margin of winning and losing in the NFL is razor thin. Much like playing blackjack at a casino...over the long run, you are going to lose. In today's NFL if you are not hunting for and exploiting every single last advantage you can find, the other teams will consistently win more than you. Without having a general manager, an extensive scouting department, or a clear long-range 'plan' (or system) for your football team, you will not be successful over the long run. It just isn't possible. We have a sample size of nearly twenty years in the Mike Brown/Salary Cap era. I think that is enough to make a logical, realistic judgment.
Bottom line is this: I know for a fact the Bengals will not be able to sustain success for an extended period of time the way the current ownership is structured. I believe that like the sky is blue and the Boise State field turf is also blue. But what happens if the Bengals do stay in the playoff hunt this year and compete for a wild-card spot (or even the AFC North)? Do we just ignore what is going on around us as the Bengals make a run at the playoffs. As a site, wouldn't we be guilty of the same stubbornness and lack of creativity/ability to adapt that we accuse Mike Brown and co. on a daily basis?
Best answer I can come up with right now? It's just complicated.
Paul Brown once said it, "Winning makes believers of us all". Winning has the ability to cover up the bullying of pilots, the lack of being a good corporate citizen, and the frustrations of nearly two decades of losing piled high like corned beef on a Reuben.
I think the greatest frustration for me as I was walking out of Blackfinn on Sunday evening was that it can be like this a WHOLE LOT MORE around here if certain actions were set into motion. Hire a General Manager. Make the scouting department a solid operation instead of a joke. Hire football people to make football decisions. Make winning Super Bowls your sole, number one priority. Not giving your family tree run of the castle and pocketing money despite producing a substandard product on the field.
While Sunday felt great, the main reason it felt SO great because we have beaten down over, and over, and over again so many times, particularly by the Steelers. While the win was cause for some celebration...the team is still very likely going to get beat in Baltimore, and will return home with a buzz-killing thud at 3-2 on the season. After the Denver game, that looks pretty darn good. As for making the playoffs with teams like the Jets, the Chargers, and yes, even the Steelers remaining? 3-2 might not be good enough.
What you can expect from WDR is the following: 100% honest coverage of this football team and the organization. Hard Knocks did a very good job showing that there is a core of likable, hungry football players on this team. You can't help but love a coach with so much passion and toughness like Mike Zimmer. That being said, I still feel the way that Mike Brown has treated this city, the citizens of Hamilton County, and the most loyal fans in professional sports is deplorable. Even the lack of continuous improvement and innovation in the organization (which we will discuss in an upcoming post) should be very alarming to everyone.
Like I said, it's complicated. No matter what the results are this season, the mission of this site will never die. Despite some early season success for this team, we will stay ever vigilant to give you the complete, honest, and sometimes brutal truth.
It could be an interesting year around here, from a number of standpoints. We look forward to having the WDR nation along with us for the ride.