Public Comments Doom Palmer-Cincy Relationship
The lack of audio/video footage of the $80 million quote means it was probably taken out of context but it doesn’t matter. Its time to divvy up blame and there’s a lot to go around.
The 24/7 media blitz is like water seeking weakness in a dam. Until Palmer is traded, articles will not stop coming out -- some saying Carson is done and this is good for Cincy, and some saying Cincinnati is cursed, they screwed everything up, they should expect things like this to happen.
The ironic thing thing about the blame game is that, sometimes, things just don’t work out and it’s nobody’s fault.
The reality is that Palmer, the Bengals, team owner Mike Brown (and everyone else in the organization for that matter) gave it their all and it wasn’t good enough.
If it wasn’t for a fluky (dirty?) hit by Steelers defensive tackle Kimo Von Oelhoffen in the 2005 playoffs, this could be the latest in a long line of “Carson and Cincy Win Another One” articles.
At 11-5, they were arguably the best team in football in 2005, and Palmer was knocking at the Elite Quarterback door. He threw for 3,836 yards in his third season, with a league-leading touchdown-to-interception ratio of 32 to 12, and he had a quarterback rating of 101.1 -- second only to some guy named Peyton. Wide receiver Chad Johnson was an All-Pro that year (no, seriously. All-Pro “First Team;" he was actually relevant) and the defense was stout for most of the season.
The Bengals were 1-1 against the Steelers in the regular season, won the division, and, even though they probably would rather have played someone other than a division foe in the Wild Card round, they were confident coming into their playoff matchup.
On Cincy’s second offensive play of the game, Von Oelhoffen went low on Palmer and ended the Bengals’ year, decade and, maybe in the end, the team's relationship with Palmer.
Palmer has never been the same, at times looking afraid to plant that front left leg and gun the ball downfield.
Pittsburgh went on to defeat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL that season. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has sailed into the abyss.
Due to the $80 million quote, Carson will no doubt be painted as a spoiled, rich QB demanding a trade, but the truth is that even though his and the team’s performance has suffered in the last two years, Palmer has always worked hard on his game and hasn’t been handed anything. He was beat out as a freshman at USC by the not-so-famous Mike Van Raaphorst. He waited his turn and got better every year, and his college career peaked with a Heisman win.
The sad part is that Palmer’s NFL career may have peaked in 2005.
In January, Palmer decided there was nothing left to wait for and notified the team that he would like them to explore options to trade him out of town. If the team had traded Palmer, pundits would talk about how professional it was of Palmer to handle things in-house. By giving the team advanced notice (and with an impending lockout making this offseason a sort of free-for-all), the team could have traded Palmer for a basket of picks and players, take Blaine Gabbert with the No. 4 pick and rebuild their franchise.
These days, events and stories rarely spin toward the positive. Bengals owner Mike Brown went public at the Senior Bowl, saying, “[Palmer's] key to our plans. We were in no position to trade him.”
Brown’s mistake was caring about Carson and not wanting to trade him. Instead of saying, “Carson, let’s keep this quiet. We’ll explore it and make it happen. You think it over and make sure it’s what you want to do," he just said no.
Once Palmer and the team both spoke on the issue publicly, it was over. Cincy will not get as lucrative a package as they could’ve gotten a month ago, and Carson will garner less interest than he usually would due to the impending lockout.
It’s a lose-lose situation enthralling only to NFL junkies and talking heads.
America loves the blame game and lives by the “out with the old, in with the new” mantra. When something doesn’t work out, there has to be a reason. Something or someone screwed up along the way and must be made to pay for their mistake.
In the case of Palmer v Brown, nobody is at fault. It’s like The Sopranos. It’s just over.
In the end, only the fans will pay…for new jerseys.
Carson and Cincinnati are finished, Cincy is officially in the Blaine Gabbert business, and now the real mudslinging begins.
To reach writer Ryan Nunez, click here.