Rather than provide a bunch of random of NFL links this week, I thought I'd use this to do a little Wizards-NFL analogy because I think in many ways that the NBA and NFL are running parallel storylines. For example, both leagues have a dynasty (the Patriots & Spurs) that people question due to scandal (CameraGate & Tim Donaghy) and alleged dirty players (Rodney Harrison & Bruce Bowen). Then there's the offensive minded teams (the Colts & Suns) that year in and year out are always in the running thanks to their 2 time MVP (Peyton Manning & Steve Nash) who can get them to the playoffs but can't seem to take them to the promised land (well, that part of the analogy worked better before Super Bowl XLI, not that I'm complaining). Of course, there's the team with the reigning MVP (the Chargers & Mavericks) that completely melted down in the playoffs. Finally, there's the team that lost in the championship (Bears & Cavaliers) who got there thanks to being in a weak conference and proceeded to have contract issues with their players in the months afterward (Thomas Jones/Lance Briggs & Sasha Pavlovic/Anderson Varejao).
So where do the Wizards fit in the analogy? We're the Bengals, and it's not just because of the obvious "great at offense, awful at defense" comparison. Don't believe me? Let's look at the facts.
Eccentric Star Player
I could (and probably should at some point) do a whole post about how Gilbert Arenas is the Chad Johnson of the NBA and vice-versa. But let's just look a few similarities in the time being.
- After scoring a touchdown, Chad Johnson jumped into the crowd, the problem was that he was in Cleveland so they threw beer on him. After hitting the game-winner against Seattle, Gilbert left his jersey on the floor for the fans to fight for, the problem was that he was in Seattle and no one really wanted it.
- Both played in the Pac-10 and both had critics who thought they couldn't make it at their respective colleges.
- Both have been known to have amazing hot streaks.
- Both players have nicknames that revolve around their number (Agent Zero & Ocho Cinco).
The Wizards and Bengals have both been known to pull out wins against some of the best teams in their respective leagues. Last year they had wins over Phoenix, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland but also had losses against Memphis, Atlanta, and Portland (twice). Last season the Bengals had big wins against Baltimore and New Orleans but also lost to Bruce Gradkowski and the Bucs.
Marvin Lewis and Eddie Jordan made the Bengals and Wizards relevant again after a decade of being among the worst in their respective leagues. Both coaches built their reputations with teams that had a superstar player before making the jump to head coaching. Lewis was the defensive coordinator who had a decent linebacker named Ray Lewis that he used from time to time. Jordan had some scrub named Jason Kidd running his offense.
Cleveland laughs in our general direction
The Wizards have been the Cavaliers first-round fodder for the last two years, the Bengals let a Derek Anderson led offense put up 51(!) points in their last match-up.
Some teams have bad games, we have bad decades
The Wizards and Bengals combined for three winning seasons during the 90's. Worse yet, had 5 games gone differently they would have combined for 0 winning seasons.
Left their heart in San Francisco
Both of the Bengals Super Bowl losses were to the 49ers, the Bullets lost the 1975 NBA Finals to Golden State.
The Wizards' hopes for playoff success were dashed after Arenas and Butler went down with season ending injuries. The Bengals had a playoff run go up in flames when Kimo Von Oelhoffen took out Carson Palmer's knee.
Terrible Draft Picks
Hey, at least Kwame Brown and Akili Smith might end up in Straight Cash Homey.