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A Bengals Front Office Rant

Has anything truly been learned here why the Shaun Rogers deal didn't work out? What happened? No one is really saying enough that us football novices understand. We just know that it's about a $1 million roster bonus.

Bengals public relations director, Jack Brennan, simply says that the reports were wrong and that nothing was ever announced. That much we understand. That much we can figure. Though I'm sure Jack can understand the confusion when their own website promoted the trade as "confirmed". Lewis simply shifted blame on the Lions mathematical abilities in their front office. Chick Ludwig discusses the best he can on the limited information he's allowed to have.

The Bengals could further eliminate the embarrassing confusion if they were more open with Geoff Hobson so he doesn't have to search for information from other teams, agents and media sources. That, to me, is the ultimate breakdown here. If the Bengals were a little less super-secret agent and a little more forthcoming correcting erroneous reports, then the team would appear a little more competent rather than distancing themselves from the web site because Hobson has to find his own way. What's the point in having a web site? We all understand that the point of any corporate web site is to promote the product. But why the team doesn't keep Hobson in the loop preventing him from promoting news that ended up being fantasy is beyond me. It's like he's the red-headed step-child running a service that the Bengals would just as assume abolish. You don't throw your own web site under the bus.

This super-secret attitude the team has employed just adds another chapter of Front Office idiocracy. Fans have become annoying idiots to the team while the media is perceived as super-aggressive KGB agents that would share information simply to hurt the team's bottom line. I understand most NFL teams employ a similar attitude in what's becoming the least fan-friendly sports profession of egomaniacal children. I love the NFL, don't get me wrong. But I become more tired and annoyed with the people that run it.

Take Roger Goodell for instance. He spends as much time penalizing character issues while his league is slowly becoming the target of improper acts in the minds of Congress. He wanted to take the Saints from a city that desperately needs all eight games to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina -- all in the effort to broaden international recognition. He more than welcomes pre-season games in a country that's been reported countless times to Human Rights organizations -- where's the consistency on conduct issues there? And Goodell also makes dictatorial judgment on players he perceives as right and wrong on conduct issues. There is no balance here. He does what he feels is right. There's no one else that's allowed to challenge him. That's why Congress has entered the equation even though they really have nothing to go after the league with -- other than exemptions that allow them to maximize television profits.

For a time baseball was the most powerful and popular team-based sport in America. By a long shot. Then it lost prestige starting with strikes and lock-outs solely about money. A World Series was lost, the All-Star game ended in a tie and players salaries exploded. Steroids, I believe, have never really been the issue. Take Bonds and Clemens out of the equation and steroids in baseball is a hot one-week topic. If steroids were truly an issue in sports, then football wouldn't have gotten the free pass they did simply because they have a testing policy that's roughly ten years out of date. People are holding onto baseball's steroid issue as a popular reason to hate the sport when there's so much more truly involved.

Add all that together and baseball lost it's firm hold on America. Football, while still a juvenile, took it's spot and grew. With football, a perception developed that players were blue collar workers relating easily with fans. Salaries, guaranteed contracts and the distance that grows between the league and its fans, there's a realistic chance that football could be the new baseball.

To get back on topic, my only point is that the Bengals are becoming too mysterious in their ways while throwing Geoff Hobson under the bus, treating the press like children and keeping their best clients (fans) in the mind set that the front office are a bunch of idiots -- even causing fans to question why they are, in fact, fans. All you have to do is read discussion forms, comments from other blogs or listen to local radio shows. Fans are again one reason away from heading back into their closet. And the Bengals front office has no one else to blame, again.