If you were asked what the Bengals’ vision statement was before reading this article, what would you guess? You would have to guess, because I’m pretty sure they’ve never had one before.
The Bengals have also never had someone like Director of Strategy and Engagement Elizabeth Blackburn before, which is ironic considering she’s been connected with the team for her entire life.
Blackburn and the Bengals today released a Bengals.com editorial article titled simply: The Vision, which every Bengals fan should read. Blackburn states her background in Management Consulting, Private Equity, and a lifelong Bengals fan as the eldest grandchild of Bengals Owner and President Mike Brown. But there’s so much more.
For starters, here is what very well could be the first public vision statement in team history:
“The Bengals strive to be a championship football team with a culture built on high standards and competitive hunger. We connect players, fans and partners into one team to create an enduring legacy in Cincinnati.”
Blackburn continues to explain what that vision statement means in terms of actions. As the team previously announced, new perks and benefits will be rolled out this year for season ticket members as well as general improvements to the game-day experience at Paul Brown Stadium. All of this is a part of the team’s New Stripes campaign, which of course is headlined by the team’s new uniforms debuting in April. Blackburn provided a tease of the new threads as well:
“We’ll be publishing a LOT of great content around the launch of our new uniforms later this spring. I will leave you with this tease to say that I hope you’re excited for a clean look.”
And on top of that, Blackburn all but confirmed the Bengals will begin to truly honor former players this year. The team accidentally leaked what appeared to be a Ring of Honor display inside PBS earlier this month.
“Finally, I am right there with many of our fans who feel that many of our Bengals legends have not gotten the respect they deserve. I am personally working on ways, big & small, to amp this up. Our great players deserve their proper recognition.”
All of this may not mean much to those whose emotions are exclusively driven by results, and that’s understandable. But many a time have Bengals fans heard seemingly empty statements about commitment to winning from Mike Brown. There’s still a widespread narrative that Brown himself is autocratically running the club like he did when he first took over for his father.
This simply is not the case anymore. You would never expect this stuff to come straight from the mind of Brown, and that’s because it’s not. It’s coming from his daughter, Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn, and her daughter Elizabeth. That’s the main takeaway from this.
“We want to win – more than anything,” Blackburn writes. “We want to bring Super Bowl titles to Cincinnati. We need to. It is the singular purpose that drives my family and the one goal on the top of my mind every day. It’s what I have wanted most in the world from the time I could remember and has occupied my dreams since I was 2 years old. I’ve loved the Bengals since before I could walk, and a Super Bowl was my first wish as soon as I could talk.”
The Elizabeth Blackburn influence started last year when she was hired into the family business. The first signs of her inner workings was the team’s increased presence on social media and in the Cincinnati community, specifically with the Stripes Don’t Come Easy campaign. Clearly, that was just the beginning.
It really does feel like a new direction has taken hold of the Bengals. Such an overarching change is worthy of acclaim.