If you have been a Bengals fan long enough, you’ll remember that the Bengals and Patriots have quite the history off the field.
The two teams have often made trades with each other. The Patriots have also been known to add on castoffs from the Bengals’ roster.
A big reason for this history is apparently due to Bill Belichick and Mike Brown’s friendship. According to Geoff Hobson of the Bengals official site, Brown has a simple reason for why he and Belichick get so many deals done.
“We have the ability to talk plainly and clearly with each other,” Brown told Bengals.com. “I normally talk to Bill directly. What’s good about it is the two of us can sit down and make a deal and we don’t have to clear it. We just can do it. So that makes it easier to process.”
For the most part, the Bengals haven’t been too screwed over in these deals. They got a second-round pick for Corey Dillon after it was very clear he wouldn’t play for the team again.
They got a seventh-round pick for Marquis Flowers before they were going to cut him, and they got a fifth and sixth-round pick for Chad Johnson who ended up not contributing to the Patriots. The Bengals used that fifth-round pick to draft Marvin Jones.
More so, it feels like the Bengals have been almost a farm team for the Patriots at times. New England has added players like Rex Burkhead as well during free agency. The Patriots’ ability to turn Burkhead and Flowers into contributors is impressive. Even Brown has to admit they’ve done a great job with Bengals’ players.
“I commend Bill’s ability to take these guys and use them in very productive fashion. They go up there and do well,” Brown said. “They use players to fit niches and it’s a very smart way of going about it.”
You would think that would be a red flag that maybe your own coaching staff isn’t doing a good enough job of maximizing your own rosters talent, but I guess as long as Brown sees his players succeed somewhere, he gets some joy from it.
Belichick and Brown’s friendship goes beyond football though. Belichick has been quick to bring up Paul Brown’s name whenever he gets a question about being included with the best coaches in NFL history. He also took out time to share his condolences to the Brown family when Brown’s brother Pete Brown passed away earlier this year.
“That was sad news,” Belichick said. “I have a ton of respect for Mike and the organization and all they stand for and all they’ve done for us … He’s a great man, his family is great and they’ve done a lot for the league.”
These kind of comments have created a mutual respect between the two as Brown has been quick to recognize Belichick much like he recognized his father during his days with the Browns.
“My father was the best coach of his time and Bill is the best coach of his time,” Bengals president Mike Brown said this week. “In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s the Cleveland Browns were to the NFL what the Patriots are today. He saw that as a child raised in the Cleveland Browns area. He knew it and respected it and today he’s doing the same thing in Boston where he’s coaching the premier team in the league and has for a long time … I’ve always been appreciative of how he has commended my father.”
That is a very big compliment from Brown. Not because he has an eye for head-coaching talent, but because Brown’s father has to be pretty high up to him. So the fact he equates them is a pretty big deal. It comes at no surprise then who Brown will be rooting for in Sunday’s game.
“I find myself rooting for Bill when I watch his team play,” Brown said. “We can trace back to our histories. He knows it and I know it.”
Personally, I will be rooting for the Patriots as well, mostly because I know nothing will bother Steelers fans more than watching the Patriots win another one.
However, I’m torn because if the Patriots winning gives any sort of pleasure to the man who seems dead set on taking any sort of excitement from Bengals fans, then I may have to reconsider.