CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Michael Johnson # 93 and Jonathan Fanene #68 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate a sack during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Not only did the likes of national sports writers notice that Paul Brown Stadium showcased a headline of no arrival from Bengals fans on Sunday, the players themselves noticed. Bengals place kicker Mike Nugent, while not on the field, relaxes a little on the sidelines and observed after the game, "Yeah I saw the empty seats," he said. "You couldn’t help it."
Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga believes that if the team wins, the fans will show up:
“It’s something we can’t control,” he said. “Based on our record lately—I can’t say I know how it feels to come to a game and watch a team lose—they have every right not to purchase a ticket … with the economy these days … we just have to come out and control what we can control and win games and play.”
As logical as that might sound, fans didn't come to the stadium during the team's 10-win season in 2009. Even though all eight home games were sold out during the regular season, if area companies and players like Chad Ochocinco didn't purchase the remaining tickets to give the Bengals an NFL-defined sellout, upwards to five games could have been blacked out.
Ticket prices and Mike Brown. Those are your biggest reasons. And unfortunately the players just see a fanbase not extending their support to the players themselves, who play the game and 99% of the reason we cheer.