In honor of President Obama delivering the annual State of the Union Address last night on every single channel that would usually play something that I'd rather watch, I figured it would be fun to write up Mike Brown's State of the Franchise Address, if he were to give one.
Here we go.
In a crowded room filled with Bengals season ticket holders on the right and Bengals players on the left, Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan entered, cleared his throat and announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen. Cincinnati Bengals owner and general manager Mike Brown."
The players stood and clapped, somewhat disingenuously, while the season ticket holders booed. Before they entered the room, the ticket holders were all ushered through a series of metal detectors and were frisked. Many were found to be carrying some sort of weapon. Most of them just had their pockets filled with 9-volt batteries but others went all out, including one man who was swinging a running chainsaw attached to 10 feet of barbed wire over his head and another who replaced his hands and feet with bee hives. Of course, all weapons and 9-volt projectiles were confiscated upon entry. Booing was the most they could do.
Mike Brown walked down the aisle shaking hands with men and women on the left and right while dodging the occasional punch or battery that made it through the metal detectors. Finally, he arrived at his podium situated in front of his daughter and son-in-law Katie and Troy Blackburn and head coach Marvin Lewis.
He raised his hands to silence the crowd.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending the 2011 State of the Franchise Address," he said. "We have a lot to get through, so let's get started."
He started by addressing the issue of Carson Palmer demanding a trade to leave the franchise.
"I know you are all concerned about our field general, Carson Palmer, wanting to defect to another team," Brown said. "I assure you that, even though he threatened retirement, Carson will be our quarterback next season regardless of trade offers from other franchises. I won't allow him to leave this city. We will explore our options in the upcoming draft but, rest assured, Carson is central to our plans and he belongs to us."
The ticket holders looked over to their right to find their quarterback but he wasn't there. He was busy resting in his home is sunny California.
Next, Brown addressed future coaching changes.
"As you are well aware, we finished the 2010 season with a 4-12 season," he said. "We promised you that we would make the necessary changes to be competitive again in the upcoming 2011 season. However, even though 99 percent of the fans that pay the majority of my bills have expressed their concern about offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, I'm not going to listen to any of it. I'm not going to say whether Bratkowski will be the offensive coordinator in 2011 or not but I'm going to go ahead and let you assume that he will be because I won't say otherwise. By the way, he will probably be the offensive coordinator next season. I mean, if he wasn't, I would have told you, right?"
Then Brown turned to ticket prices.
"I know that with the current state of the economy, many of you are suffering financially," he said. "I mean, I'm not because I'm totally rich but I'm sure that the economy sucks for you guys right now. So here's what I'm going to do, just for you guys. I'm NOT going to raise ticket prices in 2011. Of course, I'm not going to lower them either, but I'm not going to raise them. Don't say I never gave you anything."
Finally, Brown spoke about the teams plan to compete in the AFC North and go back to the playoffs in 2011.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I promise you that the Bengals will be competitive once again in 2011," he said. "We will do everything we can to win the AFC North again in 2011 and host another playoff game. Just so you know, when I say that we're going to do everything we can, I definitely mean we're not going to do anything different than we usually do. Even if I decide to do something different, I won't tell you that I did because I don't want you to like me anymore than you already do."
Then came the closing statements.
"Ladies and gentlemen, like I said, I promise you we will be better in the future," he said. "I promise that we're going to do everything in our power to be competitive again, and just so there's no confusion, by everything in our power, once again, I mean nothing more than we did in 2010. Now, just to make sure you know I'm serious, in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be traveling around the tri-state, visiting season ticket holders homes. I want to personally thank each and every one of you... by poking you right in the eye as hard as I possibly can."