Bengals Gear Sold As Badly As They Played In ‘08

You might’ve noticed that the Cincinnati Bengals had an outright abysmal season last year. How bad was it? Well, consider the fact that the team’s biggest personnel success may have been running back Cedric Benson, a Bears re-tread who was arrested for fighting cops after boating while intoxicated, and you can start to understand why fans were a bit restless. Of an equally large concern to team management, however, is that their once hot-selling, Halloweenish jungle costume uniforms performed equally horrendously, making up only two percent of all NFL gear sold. Two percent.

bengals jersey we stink

(Sales of linebacker Hank We Stinks jerseys were particularly poor.)

Yet that in itself might not even be the biggest surprise from this story in the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. What is? That the team sold a whopping $108 million in 2007. Yes, the Bengals sold enough tiger stripes to rake in $108 million, which is an astonishing amount when you consider that they weren’t exactly great in ‘07 either. Still, 2008 was a reminder that people love winners, with the overall Cincinnati merchandise sales falling 40 percent.

The decreased figures are also interesting because, in essence, they prove that Chad Johnson’s promotional “Ocho Cinco” stunt didn’t work at all. Or, at the very least, it didn’t work well enough to convince a bunch of folks to buy jerseys with a stuntish, temporary last name on the back of it (Hey! Now it’s a collector’s item!)

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Steelers Collapse Against NY Giants, Lose 21-14

ROFLZberger: The Steelers led the Giants for most of the way this evening, but when the fourth quarter came around, the Giants came alive and the Steelers came undone. New York took advantage of a bad snap on a punt for a game-tying safety, then marched decisively down the field for their first touchdown of the game to make it 21-14. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s offensive line imploded, and Ben Roethlisberger was utterly unable to get anything started for the home team. Cheers to the Giants, who (sorry, Tennessee) can reliably lay claim to being the best team in the NFL right now.

Roethlisberger Hassled

Welcome to the NFL, Mike Singletary. Your team sucks: Read more…

Bengals Sign Cedric Benson - This Is Not A Joke

Sports fans are well aware of the lawless reputation of the Cincinnati Bengals. In fact, it’s become a running joke that whenever an NFL player gets in trouble with the authorities, the tagline is usually something along the lines of “So-and-so arrested, Bengals offer contract”.

Cedric Benson smiling mugshot

And such joking certainly followed Cedric Benson, when the Chicago Bears running back was arrested for BWI - boating while intoxicated. And it got even better when Cedric, despite the negative press for his water-borne boozing, was caught drinking & driving again - this time on land.

Of course, the Bears soon bounced Benson from their roster. Then, ha-ha, ho-ho, hee-hee, the Bengals would offer him a contract! Right? Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that hilarious?

Well, guess what?

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Speed Read: Is FirePeteCarroll.com Available?

Maybe Pete Carroll was right when he called the Pac-10 schedule “ridiculously difficult” - or the Trojans just had another epic meltdown against a far lesser opponent. Either way, the end result was a shocking 27-21 loss to Oregon State.  Yes, those Beavers. The same Beavers who lost to Penn State and Stanford by a combined 39 points.

Oregon State fans

You could look for goats in the game: defensive back Kevin Thomas, who let an interception in the end zone slip through his hands at the end of the first half and into the hands of James Rodgers. Or quarterback Mark Sanchez, who despite three touchdowns also threw a fourth-quarter interception that set up the eventually winning touchdown for the Beavers.

Mark Sanchez

But ultimately, blame has to go to one person: Pete Carroll. Yet again, the Trojans fell flat on their face against teams with far less talent. It’s the second time Oregon State has done it to USC, along with Stanford, UCLA…basically, any team that’s beaten USC since 2002 other than Texas.

The team came out flat and uninspired - a content, cocky team expecting to win because they were USC. (and as the LA TIMES’ FABULOUS FORUM points out, maybe celebrating a touchdown to close to 21-7 isn’t such a great idea, Ronald Johnson.) And the coaching staff was incapable of adjusting until halftime, when they had dug themselves too deep of a hole. But really, who could have seen this being anything but a Trojans blowout. Except maybe for Brooks right before the game:

I like the Beavers and the points tonight, which means I’ll be laughing in about two hours, or waist-deep into my sixth Boilermaker* at Coach & Horses around 12 bells.

…or our own Jason K. in the USC/Ohio State Live Brog two weeks ago:

“And Mark will have plenty of time to recuperate, as USC doesn’t take the field again until Thursday, September 25, when they travel to Oregon State. But remember what happened the last time the Trojans took a trip to Corvallis - a 33-31 shocker.”

Far less of a shock is that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally clinched the NL West title, thanks to the Diamondbacks’ 12-3 thumping by the Cardinals. Now Los Angeles’ notoriously fickle sports fans can forget about USC’s collapse and focus on the Dodgers in the playoffs - until they lose in four games to some team like the Cubs. But by that point, hey, isn’t the Lakers’ season starting?

The Dodgers’ clinching the NL West leaves three playoff spots to be decided: the AL Central race between the Twins and the White Sox, and the Phillies/Mets/Brewers mess for the NL East and/or Wild Card.

The Mets and the Brewers remained tied for the Wild Card, both winning in dramatic fashion: New York using a ninth-inning single by Carlos Beltran for a 6-5 victory over the Cubs, while Milwaukee knocked off the Pirates 5-1 on Ryan Braun’s two-out grand slam in the tenth. The Phillies could only sit home idle and watch their lead in the NL East shrink to one game.

Minnesota Twins celebrate

Meanwhile, the Twins and the White Sox also went ten innings. In this case, Minnesota put together a five-run rally of their own to win 7-6 to complete a series sweep of Chicago and take the AL Central lead for the first time in a month. Even worse, the White Sox seem to be imploded, as the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES reports that Orlando Cabrera seems intent on destroying team chemistry as he heads out of town.

Other late-breaking news last night, straight from the sports desk of Tank McNamara:

Eva Longoria

What was the biggest upset so far in 2008?

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Blog Jam: Kerry Wood Caught In A Flippant Mood

• LARRY BROWN SPORTS flips through the channels, and finds FOX cameras catching the Cubs’ Kerry Wood flipping the bird in the bullpen.

Kerry Wood flipoff

Wood really shouldn’t be doing that - such hand gestures might land Kerry right back on the DL.

Stephanie Stradley of AOL FANHOUSE floats along rumors of Cedric Benson joining up with the Houston Texans.

• DEADSPIN discovers that Kevin Love is well-versed in the Cheez Doodle aura of Stephen A. Smith heckling.

• WITH LEATHER turns green at the news that this year’s Olympic sailing competition is threatened by algae.

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Blog-A-Roni: Benson Needs Breath Tester For Car

• SPORTS ILLUSTRATED gives a toast the judge who has ordered Cedric Benson to install a breathalyzer in his car.

Cedric Benson smiling mugshot

• The KANSAS CITY STAR can’t sleep, knowing that a Missouri basketball player has turned his team’s locker room into his bedroom.

Jose Canseco and Pacman Jones aren’t the only ones suffering a housing crisis, as the MORTGAGE LENDER learns that former NBAer Vin Baker - who’s already lost a restaurant - is having his home foreclosed.

• RUSH & MOLLOY of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS spot Tiger Woods hobbling around Vegas.

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Blog-Eat-Blog World: Evaluating The Benson Era

  • FAN NATION wonders if Cedric Benson was the worst draft pick ever. At least Ryan Leaf made us laugh.

Cedric Benson smiling mugshot

Glazer: Bears Tried To Deliberately Injure Benson

Jay Glazer, the official retirement announcer for Michael Strahans everywhere, dropped the bomb on Dan Patrick’s radio show yesterday by letting the world know that Cedric Benson’s teammates tried to injure him in training camp in 2006 to allow Thomas Jones to start for the Super Bowl-bound Chicago Bears.

Orson Welles as Macbeth

(We’re pretty sure we know how this one ends)

We don’t really understand where this misguided anger comes from. The Bears defensive team members seemed so level-headed that year. Under duress, they always seemed to take the best action. They never took undue chances. Frankly, we’re shocked. Heavens, that’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

Oops.

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Stabler Can’t Slither Out of DUI; Peter Plows Plenty

Jerry Buss would have come to Boston, but he had a really good hand.

Kenny Stabler tried to slither his way out of a DUI arrest.

Ken Stabler then and now

(The Snake - then & now)

Jason Peter is too much man for one Manhattan brothel.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has trouble getting into the Garden.

Michael Strahan says he’s sailing off into the sunset. Sure he is.

Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter gallops off to the Olympics.

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Bears Waive Benson After Latest Austin Brew-haha

ESPN’s John Clayton reports that the Bears have had enough of Cedric Benson, as the team finally waived the troubled running back on Monday.

Cedric Benson smiling mugshot

(Cedric’s not smiling today)

The Monsters of the Midway figured they didn’t need the monster headache Benson was becoming, after Cedric was charged with a DUI last Saturday - his second arrest in less than a month, but his first on land.

Maybe the Bears would have been more forgiving had Benson been a better player. Read more…