I'd call this rock bottom, but I'm not sure we have reached the bottom yet.
Carson Palmer, the most 'central' person on the team according to Mike Brown, doesn't want to play for the Bengals anymore. Think about that. The most important person at the most crucial position would rather retire than play for your football team.
If the Steelers win yesterday, their 3rd Super Bowl berth in 6 years, showed us anything...it's how far the Bengals are from winning an AFC Championship (let alone a Super Bowl). They aren't close, and thinking they are remotely close means you are insane. Winners breed winners, by establishing a culture of winning.
The Bengals talk about ranking 10th in the number of games played by players they drafted in the past 10 years.
In that same time period, the Steelers have:
- 7 playoff appearances
- 12 playoff wins
- 2 Super Bowls
The Bengals can talk to themselves about meaningless draft stats to explain away their scouting department. They can also talk about having equal talent as anyone else in the league. But, when it has reached a level in your organization where your franchise quarterback does not want to play for you any longer...it is impossible to win. Mike Brown has cultivated a losing culture so thick, it's suffocating. Losers breed losers. Carson knows it, and you can't blame him for wanting out.
Is he ever going to be an upper-eschelon quarterback? The answer is clearly no, but he could be servicable on a team with a great defense and a competent front office. What he cannot do is put a franchise on his shoulders. He doesn't have the personality, he doesn't have the talent, and most importantly, he doesn't want that responsibility.
Finally, did you catch the very first thing Dan Rooney said yesterday after being presented with the Lamar Hunt trophy?
"These fans are just tremendous. And this great football team really played as they should have for these great fans."
Think Mike Brown would ever say something like that?