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The Cincinnati Bengals' Car Wash
August 26, 2009 9:03 AM   Subscribe

At the insistence of Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown, the FAA is apparently targeting a pilot who was hired this month by disgruntled fans to fly messages like "Hire a GM!" over the team's training camp. A "Mike Brown Step Down" banner was flown over games last season. Brown's futility (1 winning season in 18 years) in Cincinnati has spurred fans to pay thousands for billboards and distribute urinal cakes, while HBO's Hard Knocks series has recently shown insight into his cluelessness.

Former Bengal player Boomer Esiason today criticized Mike Brown's handling of the team. While Brown gives himself a bonus each year and the team is still benefiting from taxes on the surrounding county, this year the recession seems to be aiding fan efforts to bankrupt Brown - games are beginning to not sell out. But since the organization is littered with Brown's family members (including the Blackburns), things may not be looking up.
posted by cashman (63 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, maybe they can get Matt Millen. He's not doing anything.
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


My only thought on this is that the money it costs to print banners and hire pilots would be better spent if donated to soup kitchens and foodbanks. It's just a fucking game people. Grow up.
posted by dortmunder at 9:17 AM on August 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


The business of sports is a microcosm of business in general. And it's funny to me that the very people who understand very clearly, and get enraged, that the *sports* of sports suffers because of the *business* of sports are often those who don't understand or get enraged that the same holds true more generally.
posted by DU at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2009 [6 favorites]



Hey, maybe they can get Matt Millen. He's not doing anything.
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 AM on August 26 [+] [!]


Sadly Matt Millen is actually rather busy with his high paying NBC analyst gig. Although it's kind of wonderful. He makes his "picks", i do the opposite, and I make money. Seriously I made like 300 bucks of him last year. Not kidding in the slightest.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 9:22 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


But overall, yes, cincy is one of the joke franchises. A solid GM can really do it for you. Football should start being like other sports and hire smart people outside the system, who just have deep football knowledge (granted this is a little more difficult than say basketball or baseball, but still. change is good)
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 9:26 AM on August 26, 2009


Man, that must be a world record sports-sux derail. Well done, dortmunder. Now, shouldn't you get back to work? Your tireless devotion to researching childhood diseases and discovering a cure for cancer should not be compromised by wasting your time here, commenting on articles about the latest news in Bengaldom.
posted by billysumday at 9:27 AM on August 26, 2009 [21 favorites]


Let me point out that Dortmunder does not really work at curing cancer... he's a PR guy...
Perhaps he could spend a few minutes conferring with the folks running the Bengals...
posted by HuronBob at 9:30 AM on August 26, 2009


the money it costs to print banners and hire pilots would be better spent if donated to soup kitchens and foodbanks.
The same can be said for money spent on cable TV, fancy dinners, designer clothes, a MetaFilter account, compact discs, DVDs, magazines, etc etc. Maybe the pilots hired to carry the banners donate a few dollars of their discretionary income to foodbanks or spend a few hours a week helping at soup kitchens. I'm sure that would make it nicer.

It's just a fucking game people.
It stopped being "just a game" a long time ago.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:33 AM on August 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.
posted by xedrik at 9:33 AM on August 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Damn! shouldn't have spent that $5 joining MetaFilter. I could have made a real difference at a soup kitchen!
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on August 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


Opinion driven urinal cake distribution is the pinnacle of disgruntled Ohioan civic participation. You couldn't piss in Cleveland from 1995 to 1999 without hitting Art Model's face!
posted by nowoutside at 9:35 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


it is only a derail if you let it be.
posted by edgeways at 9:38 AM on August 26, 2009


DORTMUNDER WHAT THE FUCK THESE CHICKENS WONT GET IN THE TRUCK BY THEMSELVES
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Being a sports fan for a losing franchise is so frustrating. Do you boycott the team until the owner sells the franchise? That would be a tough pill to swallow for a true fan. But if you do support the team, then you're giving your implicit approval of the team's operations. Better I think for teams to be publicly owned with a board of directors of local luminaries, former players, the local congressperson. Then if the owner is particularly bad (I'm looking at you, Al Davis), it doesn't matter how much money the owner is willing to lose in their little hobby, because the board of directors, representing the fan base and the community, can remove the owner and put the team back on the selling block. I'm sure there are lots of reasons why this is a bad idea, but it's got to be better than the mini-monopolies we have now. I feel bad for Bengals fans, I'll say that much. But not as bad as I feel for Pirates fans.
posted by billysumday at 9:45 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone should hire that pilot and have him fly around Metafilter with a banner that says "DON'T FEED THE TROLL"
posted by spicynuts at 9:46 AM on August 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let them eat urinal cake!
posted by brain_drain at 9:49 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


When children are starving in Africa, only a nationalistic racist donates to an American soup kitchen.
posted by DU at 9:51 AM on August 26, 2009


I'm holding up a "D" with one hand and an iconic "rail" in the other.
posted by josher71 at 9:51 AM on August 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ah, sports.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:53 AM on August 26, 2009


Still not as big of an asshole as Marge Schott.
posted by box at 9:54 AM on August 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, is there more information about how the FAA is targeting this pilot other than a sports gossip column mention?
posted by hippybear at 9:54 AM on August 26, 2009


"Sadly Matt Millen is actually rather busy with his high paying NBC analyst gig. Although it's kind of wonderful. He makes his "picks", i do the opposite, and I make money. Seriously I made like 300 bucks of him last year. Not kidding in the slightest."

Heh. I've avoided him, apparently, or my hate has caused me to black him out. Any word on what he predicts for the Lions? ("I think they're starting to move past my crippling personnel decisions, which could only have been explained by brain damage from head injury or a pervasive fear of any modicum of success, so I'm betting they'll win at least five games this season.")

"Being a sports fan for a losing franchise is so frustrating. Do you boycott the team until the owner sells the franchise? That would be a tough pill to swallow for a true fan."

I just gave up. The Lions pretty much killed following the NFL for me—I like to catch a game every so often, and I'll watch a Monday night match-up, but aside from that, I just don't have any real passion for it. Too many years of going, "WHAT. THE. FUCK. MATT?" (or any other number of people responsible for the endemic failure of the Lions), and moving to a city without a team means that I can kinda ignore it when it comes to the NFL. But I was also a fan of the Tigers and Wings, back when both of them sucked ass, and, at least with the Tigers, their profound failure was always perversely noble. We knew it was because Mike Illich (the owner) wasn't going to spend any money on them, something he only started doing in the last decade after the Wings became pretty self-sufficient, so they were always a team of strivers who simply didn't have what it took to be a competent baseball team. And staffing mistakes like bringing in Alan Trammel to manage were things that you could at least see the logic for—he was incredibly popular, and is generally beloved in Detroit, he just happens to suck as a manager, and he had pretty crummy players on the whole.
posted by klangklangston at 10:01 AM on August 26, 2009


it's funny to me that the very people who understand very clearly, and get enraged, that the *sports* of sports suffers because of the *business* of sports are often those who don't understand or get enraged that the same holds true more generally.

On the flipside, it's funny to me that businessmen who apparently were smart enough to earn millions of dollars and can buy a sports franchise don't realize that investing in their teams and consistently competing is a sound business decision.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:04 AM on August 26, 2009


As a Razorback fan, I know all about bad seasons and banners towed by planes demanding someone get fired. I don't think it served more than to embarrass the athletic department and the coach it was directed at. I'm not sure if it really made a big difference with the coach being "fired" (paid to leave to go to rival SEC school), but it was certainly a hoot to look up and see it prior to the games starting. (I think the FAA may have tried to come down on the pilot in our situation, too).

At the least, these fans are finding a place to vent, rather than go crazy in the bleachers or in front of their tvs.
posted by Atreides at 10:30 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I read that he got a GM bonus for having a losing record I assumed it meant a General Motors bonus.
posted by srboisvert at 10:31 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Being a sports fan for a losing franchise is so frustrating. Do you boycott the team until the owner sells the franchise? That would be a tough pill to swallow for a true fan.

As a sports fan, I definitely suffer from a form of battered spouse syndrome. At the end of every baseball season, after the Angels fulfill their familiar role of losing to the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs, I promise myself that I will get my revenge on the Angels by refusing to give them my support the following season. A few months later, there I am, arranging to get tickets to Spring Training games.
posted by The Gooch at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2009


Owners should be fans. See San Francisco 49ers with Eddie "The Wallet" DeBartolo in charge vs. his sister who I won't even name.
Cincinnati's sorry predicament almost makes feel sorry we* kicked your asses in Super Bowl XXIII. Almost.

With all the public money that ends up getting forked over for stadium improvements (luxury boxes) every time an owner threatens to move it makes sense for teams to be community owned like the Green Bay Packers.

Yeah, you read that right. I just argued for Socialized Football.

*By "we" I mean I. Suck it losers.
posted by vapidave at 10:43 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


My only thought on this is that the money it costs to print banners and hire pilots would be better spent if donated to soup kitchens and foodbanks. It's just a fucking game people. Grow up.

Your favorite pastime sucks, there are starving kids in Africa, think of the children, blahblahblah.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2009


Owners should be fans. See San Francisco 49ers with Eddie "The Wallet" DeBartolo in charge vs. his sister who I won't even name.

I grew up in the Bay Area during the 49ers glory years (the 80s). If you had told me then that I'd ever be anything other than a die-hard fan for life I would have told you you were crazy. But after over a decade of living in Southern CA and simultaneously watching the 49ers grow increasingly irrelevant with each passing year, I finally switched my allegiance to the local team (Chargers). Call me a fair-weather fan if you'd like, but if the owner of the team doesn't seem to care about them, why should I?
posted by The Gooch at 11:06 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Argh, thank for pouring salt in an old, festering wound. See, I grew up in Southwestern Ohio, and I still have the faded, dusty pennants from the great old days... The Big Red Machine, Ken Anderson, Boomer... I LOVED franchise football and baseball with all the rabid fervor a little old redneck chick from the sticks of God-fearin, GO BUCKS land.

Then Marge Schott happened, and I discovered the Cure, and bike racing, and two of my best friends came out, and I moved to Boulder, Colorado (ironically right around the time the Broncos started sucking) and, well... there's always CU, right?

oh wait, nevermind.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:12 AM on August 26, 2009


On the flipside, it's funny to me that businessmen who apparently were smart enough to earn millions of dollars and can buy a sports franchise don't realize that investing in their teams and consistently competing is a sound business decision.

How do you know that the return on investment for 'winning' is higher than the return on investment of simply getting a free stadium and then selling advertising space/promotional goodies? Sound businessmen may determine that the money required to buy talent both on and off the field is a barrier to margin. Not everyone has the national market cache that allows a team like the Yankees or the Cowboys to pour a shit load of dough into talent. When no one outside your small metropolitan area gives a shit about your jerseys/televised games/etc you're working with a limited pool of profit regardless of how much you pour into the team.
posted by spicynuts at 11:14 AM on August 26, 2009


Nothing to add except that this is a well thought-out, well constructed post. I enjoyed it quite a bit, thanks cashman.
posted by CRM114 at 11:15 AM on August 26, 2009


I think this is Seattle's year! For something! Anything!

Please stop laughing.
posted by Skot at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dortmunder's right. So is DU. Compare, say, buying season tickets and a couple of home team jerseys because watching football is fun and brings one joy with hiring banner-planes and renting billboards to voice one's frustration with the team's performance. The line between healthy pastime and stupid waste of time, effort and resources has clearly been crossed.

That said, the stupid waste of resources is probably more fun than watching the Bengals. Maybe deploying that kind of effort and creativity in support of soup kitchens or whatever would be fun, too.
posted by notyou at 11:40 AM on August 26, 2009


Maybe deploying that kind of effort and creativity in support of soup kitchens or whatever would be fun, too.

I'm imagining a plane flying over a soup kitchen entrance pulling a banner reading, "GET A JOB."
posted by brain_drain at 11:55 AM on August 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


It seems pretty fucking presumptuous to tell someone else what a valid (or invalid) use of his or her own discretionary income is (inevitable hyperbolic hypothetical examples to the contrary notwithstanding)
posted by The Gooch at 11:57 AM on August 26, 2009


"DORTMUNDER WHAT THE FUCK THESE CHICKENS WONT GET IN THE TRUCK BY THEMSELVES"

I don't even know what that means but I laughed until I made a snorting noise.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:02 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think we can all agree that hiring banner planes to fly over the Big Brother house was worse.
posted by smackfu at 12:03 PM on August 26, 2009


A bit more info on the FAA stuff, because that rings my BS meter.
posted by smackfu at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2009


I think we can all agree that hiring banner planes to fly over the Big Brother house was worse.

I emphatically agree. Hiring banner planes to fly directly into the house would have been infinitely better.
posted by Skot at 12:06 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not a sports fan at all (I can't remember the last time I watched any sport, especially since I don't watch TV), but I think this is awesome.

It's their money and they are exercising their right to free speech spectacularly. People should do the same at corporate events when they don't like the company. I can just imagine a plane circling around a huge Microsoft conference with a banner reading "Dump Ballmer the monkey boy!".
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:07 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"BENGALS TASTE OF THE NFL has been held each year since 2003 and brings together players, coaches and alumni with benefactors of the FreeStore/FoodBank of Cincinnati to dine on samples from Cincinnati’s finest restaurants. The event has raised, on average, more than $60,000 per year, enabling the FreeStore/FoodBank to provide more than 300,000 meals annually to hungry people. In 2007, Cincinnati Bengals Taste of the NFL reached an all-time high raising more than $180,000.
Bengals’ players, alumni, cheerleaders and staff help the HOXWORTH BLOOD CENTER collect donations at Paul Brown Stadium before the busy holiday season of each year. The Bengals participation in these drives has earned them Special Recognition Awards from America’s Blood Centers. In 2007, the 6th Annual Bengals Hoxworth Blood Drive reached an all-time high with 696 registered donors, 718 units of blood collected and 140 participants signed up for the National Bone Marrow Registry"
Link, like baud s l o w.


Seems some people agree with a couple of posters above that life is not all fun and games. Can we all go back to sports now?
(Has there ever been a sports derail in a charity thread?)
posted by vapidave at 12:32 PM on August 26, 2009


I'm imagining a plane flying over a soup kitchen entrance pulling a banner reading, "GET A JOB."

I think this is how they vet the King of the Douchebags.
posted by Talanvor at 12:42 PM on August 26, 2009


"...the FAA stuff, because that rings my BS meter."

Me, too. The account in your link bothers me greatly. The FAA representative needs to be exposed as she was, in my opinion, acting way outside of her authority. The team owner should not be allowed to have influence in that manner (or anything even approaching that manner).
posted by bz at 12:42 PM on August 26, 2009


On the flipside, it's funny to me that businessmen who apparently were smart enough to earn millions of dollars and can buy a sports franchise don't realize that investing in their teams and consistently competing is a sound business decision.

I don't think Mike Brown has ever worked as anything other than GM of the Bengals. His father was Paul Brown, and Mike grew up at his side.

I read Daugherty's column about the HBO show last week in the Enquirer, and I agree with his key point: "We’ll never know why Mike Brown still fashions himself a football man when the evidence against him is so spectacular. "
posted by tizzie at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2009


On the flipside, it's funny to me that businessmen who apparently were smart enough to earn millions of dollars and can buy a sports franchise don't realize that investing in their teams and consistently competing is a sound business decision.

Don't forget there's a middle ground, where you invest in your teams and still lose.
METS COULD BE BIGGEST BU$T EVER: SPEND MORE, GET LESS THAN ANY TEAM IN BASEBALL HISTORY (Post headline, obviously)
posted by smackfu at 12:53 PM on August 26, 2009


We tried this in DC with Dan Snyder briefly but he had the ringleaders all kidnapped and sold into slavery so GO SKINS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:10 PM on August 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


As a Razorback fan...

As a Rebel fan, thanks.
posted by gordie at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2009


Yeah, well, my meemaw was a fourth-generation master bannermaker, and Daddy flew a banner-pulling plane -- until you fucking pinko bleeding-heart NAFTA cheapskates sent all our good American bannermaking-and-pulling jobs overseas to Machu Picchu or some damned place.

Now we're reduced to living on ramen noodles and Crystal Light, and God help us all if Sister Sue gets laid off down at the urinal cake factory.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2009


Yeah, you read that right. I just argued for Socialized Football.

American football is already socialised. You get players forced, via the draft, to prop up weak teams. You get revenue sharing that puts money from rich teams to poor ones. There's no promotion/relegation, so the worst teams are protected from being replaced by up-and-coming teams from a lower division.

Comparing US football to Euro football is like comparing Communist Albania to Ayn Rand's perfect society...
posted by rodgerd at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Didn't I just read an article about how Spanish teams just spent a shitload buying players from other leagues?
posted by smackfu at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2009


I always get Matt Millen and Mike Millbury confused.
posted by docgonzo at 3:00 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the flipside, it's funny to me that businessmen who apparently were smart enough to earn millions of dollars and can buy a sports franchise don't realize that investing in their teams and consistently competing is a sound business decision.

Mike Brown is an Ivy League educated business man who runs one of the most profitable franchises in major sports.

His definition of winning is just different then the fans.
posted by Mick at 3:02 PM on August 26, 2009


Opinion driven urinal cake distribution is the pinnacle of disgruntled Ohioan civic participation.

ahh finally, David Foster Wallace has been reincarnated.
posted by mannequito at 3:26 PM on August 26, 2009


They ought to cut a rap single. I love it when football and rap intersect.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:32 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, you read that right. I just argued for Socialized Football.

American football is already socialised. You get players forced, via the draft, to prop up weak teams. You get revenue sharing that puts money from rich teams to poor ones. There's no promotion/relegation, so the worst teams are protected from being replaced by up-and-coming teams from a lower division.


Yes all you need to do is take the next step. In Australia, the 16 AFL clubs are all owned by their members, which gives them voting rights (effectively members get to vote for the CEO and the board). The clubs are run on a professional basis, and we also have a salary cap and redistribution of TV rights wealth.

It doesn't necessarily mean that a club couldn't end up having to move from one city to another - but it's much harder, and as a member you don't have to wonder if your club will be sold out from under you.
posted by awfurby at 6:33 PM on August 26, 2009


So, is there more information about how the FAA is targeting this pilot other than a sports gossip column mention? --posted by hippybear

Yes, I would like more info on this please. Because I'm prepared to get all outraged and pull out my poisoned letter writing pen...but I need a little more to go on than what we've got.
posted by dejah420 at 7:16 PM on August 26, 2009


As a Rebel fan, thanks.

Thank us now....hate us later. :D
posted by Atreides at 7:30 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Go Steelers!
posted by stargell at 7:47 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Still not as big of an asshole as Marge Schott.

Actually, while Schott said some really, really goddamn awful shit, she actually did a LOT of good with her loads of cash, something that I know Mike Brown will never do. Examples of Schott's good includes being the majority major contributor to charitable organizations in Cincinnati, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Cincinnati Zoo, as well as Saint Ursula Academy in East Walnut Hills. She is also gave a HUGE donation to the local Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America that was used to create a lake at Camp Friedlander.

What has Mike Brown done? Made my fuckin' taxes higher.
posted by banannafish at 9:04 PM on August 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Settle down, bananafish. It's pretty fucking presumptuous to tell people they shouldn't let their politicians spend your money building infrastructure for their pastimes.
posted by notyou at 7:53 AM on August 27, 2009


I feel sorry for Bengals fans, but that banner plane stunt? Eagles fans did that 40 years ago: Joe Must Go.
posted by sixpack at 10:21 AM on August 27, 2009


So, is there more information about how the FAA is targeting this pilot other than a sports gossip column mention?

This came out today:

"What happened next is open to interpretation. What isn’t is this: A Bengals security person called the local FAA office, wondering if Newhouse was flying within FAA rules. The FAA sent two investigators, who found one minor violation; another is under review. There’s a chance that Newhouse could lose his towing privileges... ...The Bengals didn’t allow the security guard to comment. No one else had anything to say directly, either. The team offered a statement, maintaining it was a safety issue, not a banner issue, claiming that Newhouse definitely had been flying dangerously low and that, in fact, Newhouse had been in trouble with the FAA before.

You could believe that the Bengals are benevolent stewards of the public well-being. They had a few thousand fans watching practice, in addition to coaches and players. They didn’t think a banner-dragging plane buzzing their workout was at all safe.

Of course, the Bengals have been known to pull down banners at publicly funded Paul Brown Stadium, too. If those banners crashed, they wouldn’t snap a fly’s hamstring.


An FAA spokesman said Friday that Newhouse did not seek a “waiver’’ to fly outside his home area. The spokesman said the charge that Newhouse was flying below the minimum 1,000 feet altitude is being reviewed. Sanctions are a possibility, the spokesman said.. ...[the pilot] has received a letter of investigation from the FAA. Lawyers in the agency’s southern region office in Atlanta will decide whether to pursue the case. Newhouse has his own lawyer."
posted by cashman at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2009


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