This article is part of our Team Previews series.
2011 Bengals Team Preview
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
What better reflects the current state of the Bengals' franchise? Was it the team's haphazard process to decide whether to bring back Marvin Lewis as the head coach? Or their delayed process in firing offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski? Maybe it was starting quarterback Carson Palmer's decision to not return to the team and instead demand a trade, selling his house in Cincinnati in the process? Perhaps you prefer seeing free agent Jonathan Joseph opt to sign with the Texans rather than staying in Cincinnati, followed by Donte Whitner's feint at signing with the Bengals before landing with the Niners?
At any rate, it's a sad state of affairs for the organization. Owner Mike Brown remains the team's general manager, and he's surrounded himself with various family members and in-laws in the front office. Brown and the Bengals have one of the best stadium deals in all of sports, so they're making money hand over fist and are under no pressure to change their ways. The 2010 season was a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Coming off a division championship the year before, the Bengals didn't merely regress, they collapsed to a 4-12 season, last in the AFC Central. After beginning the season 2-1 (including a victory over division rival Baltimore), they lost a disheartening 10 games in a row.