No. 102: Cincinnati Bengals

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 11:48 AM ET
By Scott T. Miller | ESPN The Magazine

Last Year's Rank: 122
Title Track: 106
Ownership: 111
Coaching: 85
Players: 91
Fan Relations: 121
Affordability: 88
Stadium Experience: 102
Bang for the Buck: 39

At least they're not last again. A year after finding a potential franchise quarterback and making the playoffs for only the third time in 21 years, the Bengals are still ranked as one of the 25 worst franchises in the four major sports. How's that for dire straits? All the optimism sprouting out of Andy Dalton's right arm can't counteract the ill will toward owner Mike Brown, who took over the franchise from his father, Paul, in 1991. We polled fans on 25 categories, and the Bengals were below the league average in every one. Not surprisingly, Brown's approval rating was the most staggering of the bunch, coming in more than 46 percent below the NFL average. In the NFL, only the Rams had worse ownership. Winning can change everything, but consider this: Each of the last six times the Bengals had a winning record, they haven't broken .500 the next season. If that happens this season, we think 122 could be making another visit to Cincinnati.