The fandom from Cincinnati Bengals fans is complex, not easily understood by those standing outside the guarded parameter. A youthful pyramid that kicks off with fathers and sons or the sympathetic. Neutral fans looking for a team to root for, may pick a team that doesn't succeed often simply because no one does, allowing that person to be unique, the lone gunman within a group of NFL fans supporting more mainstream teams like the Patriots, Steelers or Colts.
Yet while the losing irritates quickly, with threats of jumping ship and expectations of a Bengals success dependent on a change of ownership, the truth is, irritated Bengals fans (99.9% of us) could be easily satisfied with the hiring of General Manager. No. We're not naive enough to think hiring anyone for the position will instantly mean Super Bowl titles, parades and a visit to the White House. The second part of hiring someone is making sure that they're actually the right person. But it would help. Case in point this story from Dan Pompeii of the National Football Post.
(Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott) Pioli, who typically makes more than 20 mid week visits to schools during the college season, is set up to watch tape in the Iowa football offices by himself in a quiet room. He hears someone enter the room next to the room he is in. Eventually, he pokes his head around the corner to see who it is. He recognizes quarterback Ricky Stanzi from the back of his head. Stanzi, who Pioli had met earlier that day, is watching tape at the front of the room with his back turned to the door. He doesn’t see the general manager of the Chiefs, and Pioli says nothing.
Pioli keeps checking back throughout the afternoon. Stanzi doesn’t budge for the next five hours. He is taking notes on a pad. Stanzi isn’t listening to an Ipod. He isn’t answering his cell. He isn’t texting or emailing. He is focused on the tape.
Eventually, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz comes by to say hello to Pioli. He explains the routine is normal for Stanzi. “He told me he came down every day and locked himself in a room,” Pioli said. “He would watch tape after tape after tape. He said Ricky had developed into a workaholic and a student of the game, and a lot of his improvement on the field had to do with what went on in that room.”
Because of this experience, the Chiefs drafted Stanzi in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Who knows if Stanzi will become a great quarterback in this league. The point here is that this is the experiences that the Bengals are losing. Coaches can not make mid-week trips to scout players, during the college football season, to watch film on respective campuses.
Once the season starts, coaches have to develop gameplans, implement gameplans and keep the players motivated. Most NFL coaches will scout players at a school's Pro Day, or respective functions such as the Combine, exhibition scouting games like the Senior Bowl. Cincinnati's coaching staff is no different in that respect during the offseason. Where the Bengals lose out is first hand experiences where players aren't on the field to be judged. There's no General Manager checking players out, delegating a scouting staff into a region to uncover hidden talent.