Friday, May 21, 1999

Pay for results? What about Mike Brown?




BY PAUL DAUGHERTY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Bengals want an incentive-heavy contract for their top draft pick, Akili Smith. Mike Brown feels he should get what he pays for. Money for achievement.

        “We have a plan in mind based on the player's performance, not just paying him for the mere fact he was drafted high,” Brown said.

        Do well first, then make money. What a great idea.

        Let's apply it to owners.

        We have a plan in mind based on the owner's performance, not just paying him for the mere fact he kept his team here. Win more games than you lose, or forfeit your $288 million stadium complex and your two-thirds portion of the central riverfront.

        The autumn would be instantly improved, don't you think?

        If we said to Mike Brown, “If three wins is the standard by which your team is measured, then let's replace the planned $2.67 million in office furniture, including the 679 wooden-backed, laser-etched chairs, estimated cost $135,800. Let's seat you in the comfort you've earned: On empty beer kegs, at a table of plywood and cinder blocks,” do you think his team could win four games a year, maybe even five?

        For every fan seen with a bag over his head, lose a chair leg.

        For every scout not hired, give back a door knob.

        Go 4-12, we kill the heat.

        The idea gets better and better.

A win worth ..
        It would be nice if winning were an incentive in the NFL, especially now that owners are robbing more taxpayers than the Democratic Party. But we know that's out of the question.

        Hamilton County is an all-you-can-eat buffet. The Bengals are a 400-pound man. Adjustments must be made.

        For every home game that isn't on TV because you can't fill the bigger stadium for which you held us hostage, we want a six-pack of Hudy and a television remote.

        Neil O'Donnell ought to cost you some light bulbs. At least.

        No $48,106 worth of window treatments for you, big guy. At three wins per, we'll give you a few nails and a bedsheet. If you win four next year, you get screens.

        Pay for performance.

        Does an owner presiding over the second-worst team of the decade merit a custom desk costing $4,853.55? We think not. Win six next year, get drawers for the desk. Break even, we'll throw in the drawer knobs.

        Why? Because we love you.

... a $4393 credenza
        Check out the list of goodies the Bengals suckered from Hamilton County. Ask yourself if Mike Brown's plan for Akili Smith's contract doesn't sound like an idea whose time has come.

        Stadium landscaping, $1 million. Wet bars. Video walls for the club lounge. Why would this club need to lounge? Hasn't it lounged enough lately? The Bengals are the lounge lizards of the '90s.

        A $4,393 credenza. Right. Excuse me. But are we playing football down there, or entertaining heads of state?

        Incentives are in order, you betcha. Incentives are definitely the way to go.

        How 'bout a Sign-The-Strong-Safety Incentive, whereby Sam Shade is still a Bengal? Where's the Keep-The-Cornerback Incentive for retaining Ashley Ambrose? A Can't-Anyone-Here-Rush-The-Passer Incentive: I don't see that one.

        During the Lost Decade, we could have used a Keep Boomer Incentive, a Fire James Francis Incentive and a Draft Offensive Linemen Incentive. There was room for a Hire-A-General-Manager Incentive. Definitely.

        In the expansion draft, the Bengals protected two quarterbacks they later released. They lost their third receiver, Damon Gibson, because of it, then had to draft someone (Craig Yeast) to replace him. They lost Shade for no good reason, then drafted a safety they likened to Shade. Can we get an incentive against this?

        For every loss, a phone gets disconnected. Lose 10 or more, we shut off the water. Go 3-13 again, we get Rocco and Vinnie to do a little redecorating. Like Mike Brown said: It's time to pay for performance.

        Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty welcomes your comments at 768-8454.

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