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Commentary: Power Ranking Shmower Rankings


Congratulations to ESPN -- they have demonstrated their ability to put the Cincinnati Bengals in their crosshairs and pull off miraculous head shots over and over and over again. They have once again placed the Bengals on the chopping block and brought down the axe, this time by placing the Bengals in last place on the season's first power rankings list.

They certainly have an argument. The Bengals are going to be starting a rookie quarterback, who will be working under a rookie offensive coordinator, who tried to install a system in a shortened offseason due to the longest work stoppage in NFL history. The team also lost their all-time leading receiver, their leading tackler from the last three seasons, one of the top cornerbacks in the league and, of course, their franchise quarterback, who said he'd rather quit the game he loves than continue playing for the Bengals.

All of this, when added up and multiplied by 10 to the power of Mike Brown, is a recipe for disaster and, if I were a betting man, I would probably put money on "under" no matter what the over/under is for this team.

Here's the question I have, though. What the F is the point of spending wasting time to rank any NFL team before a single game has been played and then write about those rankings?

Obviously power rankings are simple and fun articles that fans enjoy reading, especially fans of the teams on top of the list, and they stir up a lot of comments. So, that's the point. But any idiot could tell you that it doesn't make a lot of sense to rank any team before you actually see them play.

Power rankings before the first regular season game make about as much sense as reversing the rotation of the earth to turn back time -- while Superman's thinking he's helping out Lois Lane and all his pals in Metropolis, he's actually ending all life on the plannet by giving the earth the worst wedgie in the history of wedgies. I guess it doesn't take a lot of common sense to be faster than a speeding bullet. It probably takes even less to rank teams on a hunch.

I could see the Bengals beating the Browns on Sunday and I don't have to try really hard to imagine it either. Granted, it's not like the Browns are at the top of the list (would it matter if they were?) and they're in the process of rebuilding too, but I think the Bengals could be good this year. Not Super Bowl good, but good enough to make ESPN analysts look like they don't know much about football. I could also see some of ESPN's top teams getting beat this weekend too. I can dig power rankings, if they're done at the right time, but ranking teams before they ever play a game is stupid.

Who cares what ESPN thinks about the Bengals today. All that matters is what happens Sunday. Hopefully the Bengals prove them wrong. Even if they don't, I'm sure somebody else will. 

There. Now I feel better.