CINCINNATI - The most noticeable thing at the start of the Cincinnati Bengals home opener Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday was the emptiness. Tens of thousands of seats were empty.
There was one section of upper level seating - in sections that held close to 200 chairbacks — that was completely empty. Another had just two people sitting in it. Another had 11.
From the press box today I can look across the field at the east side luxury boxes. There are 48 of them and 20 are dark and empty.
Sunday’s announced crowd of 43,363 is the second smallest ever for a regular season game at Paul Brown Stadium, which holds 65,515. It’s the smallest home opener crowd for the Bengals in 30 years — going all the way back to the 1981 opener against the Seattle that drew 41,177 to Riverfront Stadium.
The sweeping absenteeism isn’t so much a reflection on the players - last week’s brushes with the law by Cedric Benson and Jerome Simpson aside - as it is a damning referendum on Mike Brown’s ownership of the team.
Many Bengals fans are fed up by disparity of the product he’s put on the field in recent years and the amount of money he’s made. And so a lot of folks didn’t show up Sunday.
If you’re a Bengals fan though that had to be a tough call because there are some things to really like about this year’s team. The rookie connection of quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green are the perfect antidote for the departure of disenchanted quarterback Carson Palmer and prima donna receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.
Even so people are tired of making Brown richer, while he has given then little in return be it success on the field or forward thinking in the front office.Tweet