When you think of the Cincinnati Bengals, you probably think of a lot of different stuff. But no matter what you think, there’s always one thing that comes to mind: playoff drought. It has been 27 years since the Bengals’ last playoff win. Their last playoff win was January 6th, 1991. They beat Houston that game. And they weren’t the Houston Texans, they were the Houston Oilers at the time. It’s been that dang long.
As a Bengals fan, the drought has been annoying and painful. I am yet to see the Bengals win a playoff game. There is a lot to blame for this drought. Marvin Lewis is usually first to blame, as he has an 0-7 playoff record. Bengals also have a lot of players who decide to go psycho and let the other team get in field goal range last second. Some blame that they don’t add talent on free agency. While all of those reasons are true, there’s one man who is ultimately the cause of the Bengals playoff drought: Bengals owner Mike Brown.
As I previously mentioned, the Bengals playoff drought is currently at 27 years. Guess how long Mike Brown has been the owner of the Bengals? That’s right, 27 years. The playoff drought started the year Mike Brown took ownership of the Bengals. That’s no coincidence.
Can’t take a care of a team:
The Bengals were a gigantic mess in the 90s. The Bengals were basically the Browns. They kept drafting bust, and that was Mike Browns fault(we’ll get to that later), couldn’t find a head coach, but worst of all, he couldn’t properly take care of the Bengals. For example, the Bengals didn’t even have water for a while. Okay, they had water from their fountains, but they didn’t have plastic water bottles or even snacks. This was a time where every other NFL team did, but not the Bengals. Mike Brown was too cheap to get that stuff. Also, the Bengals showering towels were awful. The towels they used were extremely small for a regular person, so imagine how small they are for an NFL player. Also, they didn’t even have new jock straps. They had to use old ones. How is that even acceptable? Usually 1st-round guys would be nice enough to buy everyone a new jock strap. The culture and environment had been just awful. Their environment was a big reason why they were so bad in the 90s, and the very early 2000s. You just can’t treat your players like that. You can receive to produce a winning team when you take awful care of them. Believe it or not, Marvin Lewis was the one who actually got Mike Brown to make a lot of locker room changes and he was really the one to turn around that that cancerous locker room.
A horrible general manager:
Mike Brown has never had an official general manager as the owner of the Bengals. He’s basically shared the spot with whoever the head coach was, and possibly the teams head scout(depending on who it was). It is still like that today. However, Marvin Lewis basically does all the draft stuff today. But before Marvin came, Mike Brown did the scouting and drafting stuff, and it was all a disaster. With the Bengals constantly having awful seasons in the 90s, they often times had very high draft picks. He had a couple of good picks on the 90s; Willie Anderson was a great left tackle for the Bengals. The biggest mistake that Mike Brown made, and he’s still getting criticized for, is the 1999 draft.
The Bengals had the 3rd overall pick. The Saints had the 12th pick. The Saints offered 11 draft picks to the Bengals to move up 9 spots.
The picks the Saints offered:
All their picks in the 1999 draft.
Their 1st-round pick in 2000, and 2001.
2nd-round pick in 2002.
Saints offered all of that for the 3rd overall pick. Mike Brown turned that down because he thought Akili Smith was the answer for the Bengals. Akili Smith was a gigantic bust. He never fully understood the playbook, he got flustered easily, he only had one good season in college football. Bengals thought with his athleticism, he was the next big thing. In his 4 years with the Bengals, he had 5 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
If the Bengals did accept this trade, its likely they could of drafted Drew Brees in the 2001 draft. According to reports, they really liked Brees. It’s hard to say if the Bengals would of actually been a dynasty from this trade. They were still awful at drafting. If they did drafted Brees, who knows if he would of lasted. The Bengals environment could of been too much to handle. However, that’s not the point. This just shows you how poorly Mike Brown managed the Bengals when it came to drafting and scouting.
Constantly quiet off-seasons:
One thing Mike Brown has been really bad about, is signing free agents. To this day, Mike Brown doesn’t go out and sign players during free agency all that often. They’ll always sign a couple players, but they’re usually cheap players who won’t help the team out as much as you’d hope. Mike Brown doesn’t sign free agents for one big reason; he’s too loyal. What I mean, is, that he relies on re-signing his players and expects them to win for him. To be fair, wanting to keep your players isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were times where he had chances to sign free agents to improve his team, but he liked his people on his team better, so he wouldn’t sign them. That’s where the problem is. It’s ok to be loyal, but you have to put your bias aside so you can improve the team. Mike Brown fails to do that.
Speaking of loyalty…
Failing to move on from Marvin Lewis:
It’s clear at this point that Marvin Lewis is not the guy for the Bengals. He has an 0-7 playoff record in his 15 years as a head coach. He had the 2nd longest tenure as head coach, and is yet to win a playoff game. Marvin is usually blamed for the Bengals not winning a playoff game, as he should be. He has failed to win when it matters. So yes, Marvin is largely responsible for the drought. However, despite all these failures, he keeps getting re-signed. You know who’s responsible for bringing back Marvin? The one and only, Mike Brown.
Mike Brown just can’t let Marvin go. There’s actually a reason why. When Marvin came in, he fixed the Bengals. He changed the locker room environment, made the Bengals relevant again, and really saved Mike Brown. If the Bengals has a couple more seasons like they were having, Mike Brown would of likely been gone. So Mike Brown is thankful that Marvin saved him. That’s understandable, but it’s not a good reason to keep him because of that. It’s not smart to keep someone because if their past. For example, Tom Coughlin had a nice career with the Giants. However, the Giants made him step-down when things weren’t going the way it needed to be. Mike Brown has to let that feeling go. He is choosing personal feelings over what’s best for the Bengals, and it’s hurting them badly.
So there’s a lot of reasons for the Bengals playoff drought. But when it comes down to it, Mike Brown is the reason for the playoff drought. He couldn’t provide is players with the proper equipment, struggles with signing free agents, is overly loyal, can’t draft, and worst of all, keeps a coach who can’t win when it matters. It’s safe to say that Mike Brown as held his team back.