Now this wakes us up from our Summer slumber - ESPN the Magazine has ranked the Bengals as the worst sports franchise out of all 122 teams in MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL. The Bengals ranked 7 spots behind the Atlanta Thrashers, a franchise that no longer exists.
Now are these rankings totally subjective and basically immeasurable? Of course. They are in no way scientific or statistically significant. And some of the rankings make you scratch your head. For example, from 2010 to 2011, the Bengals ranking in "Players" (effort on the court/field/ice and likeability off of it) dropped from 82nd to 122nd, and "Coaches" (Strength of on-field leadership) went from 60th to 114th. That's a pretty serious drop for a team that hasn't made that many changes, except for the firing of Brat and signing TO. "Affordability" (Price of tickets, parking and concession) dropped from 80th to 114th even though ticket prices didn't change.
So yeah, a little confusing. But some categories which make perfect sense include "Fan Relations" (openness and consideration of players, coaches and management toward fans), and "Title Track" (championships won, or expected to be won, during the lifetime of current fans). The Bengals ranked dead last in each of these categories. Not surprising for a team that has a long history of treating its fans like dirt and no track record of winning championships.
But what is the most suprising development from this whole ranking is that it actually motivated the Bengals to respond, in Baghdad Hob's "Who Dey Perspective" column on bengals.com. Most of the column is expected, but then they write something I have never seen in print or said by anyone affiliated with the Bengals - a firm commitment to win the Super Bowl:
Every person who works at Paul Brown Stadium wants the same thing – to win a Super Bowl for the fans and Cincinnati. Until we win that final Sunday of the season, we know we have fallen short of our goals and leave our fans unsatisfied and wanting more. We want more as well. Make no mistake … the goal every season is to win the Super Bowl.
This has been a WDR Manifesto since the beginning: "THAT the Mike Brown, Katie Blackburn, Marvin Lewis, along with every other member of the Bengals management, staff and personnel, state publicly to all Bengals fans, “I will do everything in my power to help the Cincinnati Bengals win a Super Bowl.” Sure, this was Bengals.com and not Mike Brown or Marvin, but heck, it's a start.
So, in summary, these rankings are pretty much meaningless, but also not suprising for lifelong Bengals fans, and maybe it has sparked the team to actually make more of a committment to actually winning and being more fan friendly.