Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Well, They Did It!

Mike Brown would never try to upstage Vince McMahon, but Vince has to be jealous of the storyline the Bengals have cooked up this season. The Bengals signing of Terrell Owens appears to be a fairly low risk deal. With a one-year contract plus incentives, T.O should be on his best behavior again, much like he was last year in Buffalo. The positives to the signing are obvious: another weapon in an offense that lacked aerial weapons last season, a big receiver who can still supply big-play ability, and a chance to make this team very entertaining on the field. (off the field, maybe even more entertaining, but that won't help this organization win its first playoff game in almost 20 years)
The negatives could be just as obvious: T.O will make more money if he reaches more incentives. What happens in late November if it appears he may come up short on an incentive or two while balls are being thrown in other directions? Hmmmmm, that could take the fun out of this thing in a hurry. Should the team be struggling (an 0-2 start is not out of the question) in the standings, things could get a little interesting as well. Most, if not all, of the negatives will only surface if the Bengals don't have some success this season. In fact, it's going to be fun to watch this show unfold. Win or lose, there is entertainment coming to Cincinnati this fall.
If Carson Palmer is on board with this, and Ryan Fitzpatrick gave the Bengals an honest assessment of T.O. in Buffalo last season, then I can see why the Bengals made the move. I applaud Mike Brown for getting the deal done. Here's a guy who gets pounded for being a tightwad and he just laid out $2-million for another wide receiver on the eve of training camp. In this individual case, I say go for it.
But in the back of my mind, it makes me a little uneasy. I don't want to hang it on T.O., but I still have that nagging feeling the Bengals will never get it right long-term. They may make the playoffs here and there, but they will never sustain long-term success. You need a system that covets players who "buy in" at the expense of personal success. The Patriots do this. The Steelers do this. The Bengals do not. They take fliers on guys who stray off the path time and time again. Second chances? The Bengals seem to reach double-digits in the number of chances they give players. Lately it's worked out for the best. Long-term, you get burned more often than not. The Bengals spent more than a decade in flames playing this sort of game. I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Charles Manson could kick, throw, or catch a football and the Bengals thought they were getting a deal, they would sign him. But all of that is for another time. The Bengals could be serving up the "Greatest Show on Turf" in Cincinnati this season. Win or lose, it will serve up more twists, turns, and drama than pro wrestling.