First Posted: 11/13/2008 10:53:20 AM | Last Updated: 11/13/2008 10:53:20 AM
Two simple words that make most every Cincinnati fan cringe.
Say it slowly. It won’t hurt you.
But it has hurt many a hard-core Cincinnati Bengals fan for the past 18 years.
Let’s back-up a minute here.
Mike Brown is the President and General Manager of the Cincinnati Bengals. The team was founded and coached at first by his father – the late Paul E. Brown.
A football legend.
Paul Brown honed his roots as a football coach at football-crazed Massillon High School in Northeast Ohio. A field there bears his name.
He moved to the Cradle of Coaches – Miami University – and later won at The Ohio State University.
He coached the great Otto Graham and won championships with the Cleveland Browns – and then owner Art Modell pushed the coach aside.
Alas, the Bengals were born in 1968.
Brown – Paul E. – formed a group and professional football was born in southwest Ohio. The early years The Man himself coached the club when they played their games at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium.
In fact, the Bengals – under Paul E. Brown – were the fastest expansion team to earn a playoff berth. They made it in year three.
Paul passed some 19 years ago and son Mike took over. A tremendous challenge.
Mike knew the game – he grew up around his dad with the Browns, and was a collegiate quarterback at the Ivy league’s Dartmouth College.
But Mike hasn’t seen the glory days that dad has – for whatever the reason.
Sure there were two Super Bowl appearances, in 1981 and 1988 with Mike at the helm. His hire of Marvin Lewis seemed almost genius-like at the time. Revolutionary in fact -- an African American coaching the Bengals.
And, in 2005 the club went 11-5 and did make the playoffs.
So why the disdain for Mike Brown. Honestly, I don’t get it.
The fans shout for a general manager duh, they have one – Mike is the general manager.
You didn’t hear a peep about Mike Brown in 2005 – this season he’s the culprit and again, I don’t get it.
He doesn’t make tackles or catch passes. His pick of Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer was a beauty.
The injuries – are they Mike’s fault too? Carson, KiJana Carter, the Irons kid – a first-round running back draft pick last year.
All of them – and some more ended up on the shelf.
And, of course the off-the-field problems – they’ve been well documented. When Chris Henry was given yet another chance by Brown, the boo-birds went nuts.
Would Henry be better off on the streets? He has a God-given gift to play football. Mike knew it – he cared. But people screamed, “Is he a football owner or Father Flanagan?"
Does he want to win? Of course. What pro sports operator doesn’t?
Does he know how? Good question. Perhaps. Maybe he’s old school learning from one of the NFL’s best – his dad.
Certainly no scientific proof here, but I venture to guess most of those banging on Mike Brown have never attended a professional football game.
Wins, losses – they’ll be documented in sports history. And, yes just one non-winning season in Mike’s 18 years at the helm.
But what he does for the community he does silently. Like paying for lights at several area high schools.
And permitting underprivileged kids to attend pre-season games with food and drink.
The NFL is big business. We need big business in Cincinnati. The Bengals – win or lose – are a great recruiting tool for the businesses in our town.
No matter how many games they win —or lose.
Andy Furman operates Publicity Enterprises, a full-service publicity/promotions/marketing business, and serves Jake Sweeney Automotive as their Promotions Specialist and Internet Director. Furman’s commentaries can be heard twice daily on Oldies 1160 WDJO, first at 7:55 a.m. with Dusty Rhodes and also at 4:55 p.m. with Dr. Boogie. For more, check out www.CinciPulse.com