Jack Brennan, the Bengals Public Relations Director, told 9News on Wednesday that "it's not looking good" and they are "nowhere close to selling out."
If they get close to a sellout by the deadline, there's still a chance that the league will grant the NFL a 24-hour extension, which generally happens if a sellout appears likely. Mike Florio says, "And we can't understand why folks who shelled out hard-earned money to watch crappy teams of recent years have suddenly decided to not attend the game."
The Bengals had beaten all three division opponents in consecutive weeks, lead the division with a 4-1 record. And the support is, where? Is it the boycott? Aren't you worried about missing out on what happens this season? They're doing things. If the Bengals go 4-1 and can't sellout a game against the Texans, what free agent would want to come to Cincinnati?
The economy is a factor. No one could possibly dispute that. However, Cincinnati doesn't have a monopoly in struggling economic metropolitans and, as Joe Reedy writes, 72 of 76 NFL games have sold out this year. And in Jacksonville's case, the interest just isn't there. Is it the same thing here? Is the interest just not there anymore or do the Bengals have to find a way to wipe out years of disaster with a decade-worth of playoff appearances through a full decade? Why would the team even bother if there's not going to be support? If Mike Brown were interested in making more money than winning, as so many believe, wouldn't he just cut costs here and there rather than fielding a winner? Where has he applied that logic in the years before the Marvin Lewis era?
So no money comes from the gates, or the team loses sponsorship, then the team cuts costs. That's what every American business is doing right now. So then we're back to bad free agents acquisitions. We're back to having top-five draft picks every year which take a significant chunk of the team's payroll and in most cases, prevent good free agents from coming to town. We're back to being the Bungles. My point is that hurting Mike Brown's bottom line has absolutely no guaranteed prospect that the Bengals will be anything but worse. A general manager? No. They cost too much. A good head coach? They cost more. A scouting department? Forget about it.
Maybe I'm just conflicted. I'm all for change, and I've supported the Who Dey Revolution. On the other hand, the Bengals are 4-1 right now. They're at the top of the division. Why not enjoy it this year and see where they go? Why would you want to miss a playoff season if they make it? Because of some preordained prophesy of hurting the owner's pockets will incite instant change? If that's the way it works, then good. Do your best. But our favorite team is 4-1. Our favorite team is leading the division. Our favorite team is doing things we haven't seen them do before.