A Real Fan


“A real fan sticks with their team through the bad times. No matter what. No matter how long. No matter how bad. If you give up on the Bengals, you aren’t a real fan. You won’t catch me jumping off the bandwagon like you.”

Ever heard UberFan say something like that? Did you want to laugh at him too? Actually, UberFan isn’t a ‘real’ fan at all. Here’s why…

He’s an enabler. Simple as that. By blindly buying whatever Mike Brown offers, UberFan tells Mike that the way he does things is OK. But it isn’t OK. It stinks. Bad. Record-setting pace of losing bad.

The real fans are the people who are canceling their season tickets and even mailing their gear back to PBS. The real fans won’t let Mike Brown keep peddling ‘continuity’ when he ought to be talking about success. The real fans aren’t ‘jumping off the bandwagon’ like UberFan says; they just have enough sense to get off of a sinking ship.

I don’t call the Bengals a sinking ship because of the losses. Losing seasons happen to everybody. They are a sinking ship because of the way they are run. The way they are run causes the losing.

At the end of last season, Willie Anderson talked about how, in his one season in Baltimore, Ozzie Newsome was in the locker room every day, talking to players and getting info to help him make the Ravens better. By contrast, he said Mike Brown is in his office every day. Any player is welcome to come see him at any time, but he does not leave his desk. And mostly he sits alone.

Look at the difference. It’s huge! Active vs passive. Direction vs drifting. Involvement vs detachment. Information vs assumption. Direction and accountability can’t survive in the environment Mike Brown creates. Without accountability, mediocrity is the best you can hope for. The last 20 years stand as concrete proof of that.

He can’t fix problems because he isn’t close enough to see them correctly. In what other organization does winning 2 games at the end of the season outweigh 10 straight losses? That’s delusional. Willfully delusional. Yes, a few young guys emerged as potentially really good players. That’s awesome. But it is foolish to project that into next year and do nothing else. Dunlap could have 18 sacks next year, but it is stupid to assume that. But Mike does that all the time!

It’s also delusional to blame as much as possible on bad luck. How long will Mike keep citing David Pollack and Odell Thurman as reasons this team isn’t as good as it could be? It’s been almost FIVE YEARS since that happened. But Mike is far more willing to complain of bad luck than he is to consider that maybe he has a bad system… or a bad offensive coordinator.

A real fan can’t just go find another team. But a real fan doesn’t settle for passive, drifting, detached ownership either. Real fans, keep using the only voice you have — your cash — to demand change!