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Caught on the Web: A look at Web sites worth sports fans' time

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

By Seth Rorabaugh, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Shannon Sharpe said the only way he would play for them is if he was allowed to wear a jersey that didn't show his last name. Carl Pickens and Corey Dillon refused to play for them at various points in their careers. Suffice it to say, the Cincinnati Bengals are one of the most pitiful franchise in professional sports.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna is sacked by Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell during the first regular-season game at Heinz Field, Oct. 7, 2001. Not that getting sacked is anything new for the Bengals, who have 123 losses since 1992. .(Gary Tramontina, Associated Press)

And it's more than a coincidence that the Bengals haven't played in the postseason since "Bo Knows" was cool and Chuck Noll was still coaching the Steelers. That was 1991, the same year Paul Brown -- legendary founder of the the Bengals and Browns -- passed away. His bungling son, Mike, took control of the Bengals' reins and has "led" them to a 57-123 record.

Mike Brown's ineptness has been so ridiculous that it has spawned an almost official fan movement for his removal as the team president. He's even provided inspiration for a Web site that has but one purpose: to point out his many mistakes and hopefully force the team to sever its ties with him.

Welcome to http://www.mikebrownsucks.com/.

What's There: Bengals fans can access perhaps the finest forum in which to express their frustrations. The site offers message boards and a petition in favor of the suspension of Brown from day-to-day operations of the Bengals.

You can even find the official "Mike Brown Sucks" T-shirt ($20) and bumper sticker ($5) and use them to cover your chest and decorate your car.

A source of potential litigation also is prominent throughout in the form of "Fraidy Cat" -- a timid version of the Bengals' logo -- is featured on most of the site's pages.

According to a letter from NFL Properties, Inc., which is posted on the site, the NFL has threatened to sue for the removal of "Fraidy Cat" on behalf of the Bengals and Brown.

David Young, who founded the site with Chase Peel, had this to say in response to David M. Proper, a legal representative of NFL Properties, Inc.:

"I'd suggest that NFL Properties would be better served by trying to ensure that those who generate the value of your merchandise stop shooting their pregnant girlfriends, slashing their ex-wives throats, and soliciting $20 prostitutes the night before the Super Bowl. These incidents truly destroy the value of the NFL, not Web sites that, no matter what their name, actually serve to promote the very properties you sell."

Upon Further Review: The site tends to go long stretches without updates and "Fraidy Cat" looks more constipated than timid, though it must be pointed out that such a condition is understandable considering that the Bengals' high-water mark under Mike Brown is eight wins in 1996.

Overall: Should the Bengals be subject to this mountain of criticism? Most definitely. Remember, this is an organization that once cut punter Lee Johnson a day after he criticized management ... and then fined him. The Bengals deserve anything bad said about them. They certainly deserve this site. If you don't like the Bengals, visit http://www.mikebrownsucks.com/.

Score: out of 5.

Just Surfing

You weren't among the thousands of geeks who bought tickets, got your Mario Lemieux bobble head and just left the Penguins' game against Montreal Dec. 19? Don't want to pay $66 (how cute) for his bobbly likeness on eBay? Well here's your chance. A limited supply of Lemieux bobble head dolls are available for a mere $24.95 at his official Web site, http://www.mariolemieux.com/.


If you have any web sites that might be worth a look, e-mail Seth Rorabaugh at srorabaugh@post-gazette.com.

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