Bengals fans are encouraged to print and mail this letter to Paul Brown Stadium to display your extreme dissatisfaction with the direction and management of the team.
Owner and President
1 Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Dear Mr. Brown:
As I hope you acknowledge, you are a lucky man. You remain an NFL owner and a very rich man despite taking your father's legacy and tarnishing it, taking your city's pride and abusing it and accomplishing nothing in your professional life on your own merit.
I, on the other hand, am an unlucky man. I am a Bengals fan. For reasons of loyalty or geography or stupidity, I remain a Bengals fan after 18 years without a playoff win under your leadership. For reasons that are inexplicable to me, I continue to ruin my Sunday's in the fall by watching your team lose. Because of you, I have even brought this burden of being a Bengals fan onto my friends and family. I spend money on Bengals merchandise I don't need. I help sell out your stadium (actually, my stadium since you extorted taxpayers to pay for it). I waste countless hours following and debating the smallest details of your team.
And how have you thanked me? You take my hard-earned money and stuff it into your pockets instead of signing free agents, bulking up our scouting department or upgrading training facilities. You take my loyalty and refuse to hire a General Manager. You take my devotion and game after game, year after year, put a team on the field that has no chance of really competing for a Super Bowl.
But why would you want to put in the extra effort to give Cincinnati a winner? The NFL's revenue sharing policy means that you are going to profit regardless of the Bengals competitiveness. So basically, you are taking advantage of a system designed to give every team a fair chance of winning and intentionally not winning. There is no real legal obligation to try and compete. But you would think that a man such as yourself, who prides himself so much on fulfilling his father's legacy, would be concerned with the staggering lack of professionalism that has characterized the franchise under your stewardship.
At its base, you simply do not care if the Bengals win or lose. All things being equal, would you like to see the Bengals win? Of course. But are you willing to do whatever it takes to reward me and my fellow Bengals fans by putting a Bengals team on the field that are Super Bowl contenders? If the past is any indication, the answer is a resounding, "NO!" Well, if you will not run the Bengals with the respect they deserve, then we as fans and citizens of Cincinnati will take matters into our own hands.
As Bengals fans, we demand:
THAT the you, 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;"
THAT you, Mike Brown will hire a general manager, drastically expand the scouting department and relinquish all control of player personnel;
THAT all training, rehabilitation and medical facilities are considered best-in-class compared to other NFL teams;
THAT the management fills the team only with players who fit the system, both mentally and physically, and are not reluctant to makes changes to player personnel when needed, regardless of cost or loyalty concerns;
THAT offensive and defensive line depth is considered the top priority for all player personnel decisions;
THAT all decisions made by ownership, management, staff and players, both on and off the field, are judged only by this criterion: "Does this help the Cincinnati Bengals win a Super Bowl?"
These are all common sense demands that any successful franchise would have realized already.
Perhaps you could put a call into Jim Irsay, the owner of the Colts. Much like you, he inherited an NFL Franchise upon the death of his father. Not being a football man, like yourself, he decided to hire a GM and let people who understand football make football decisions. The results? The Colts are the first team in NFL history to have five consecutive seasons of 12 wins or more and have won a Super Bowl.
I wish for one week you could try and see things from my perspective. I have to compete for my living on a level playing field with no special favors or handouts. You get a check from the NFL every month just for having a successful father and for not dying. I have to make hard decisions on how to spend my disposable income, and for some reason I continue to waste it on your Bengals. Even the slightest acknowledgment from the Bengals for my irrational spending would be nice at this point. But never has so much as a single gesture of gratitude been uttered or showed by you for the foolishly loyal fans or the community at large that bestows your wealth upon you. I have the pride to always thank and reward those who support me. You would rather make a few extra bucks than maintain any respect among your fans and your city.
At the end of the day, you own the Cincinnati Bengals - a business. And you can run your business as you see fit. But it is a unique type of business model into which you have unwittingly stumbled. One in which you cannot fail no matter how hard you try (and you have made a valiant effort). But it is also a business with implications beyond your family's personal wealth and for the greater Cincinnati community. So yes, the NFL has made it easy for you to turn a buck, but if you really want to run this organization as something bigger than yourself (and it is), then give up control of player personnel and spend a few bucks on free agents and coaching.
And if you don't have enough pride to give us a winner, we will hit you in the only place where you might react - in the pocketbook.