- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Cincinnati Bengals were rated the worst sports franchise in ESPN The Magazine's annual rankings.
In all, 122 professional teams were rated in numerous categories such as players, fan relations and affordability. The Bengals brought up the rear out of all the teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.
"The best teams in sports find ways to reward their fans' devotion," ESPN The Magazine editor Peter Keating said in a statement. "The teams at the top of our Ultimate Standings are winners on the field, but, as we write in the magazine, they’re truly notable for returning fans' love."
For the past 20 years, there has been little reward for being a Bengals fan.
Recently, we interviewed one Cincinnati fan who grew tired of the losing and gave up his allegiance to join Steeler Nation. Another more famous Bengals fan, Nick Lachey, also expressed his displeasure with the organization to the AFC North blog.
Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game in two decades, doesn't put enough money into its product and ownership continues to make head-scratching decisions. The Bengals' franchise player -- quarterback Carson Palmer -- recently quit on the team, which only adds to its awful reputation.
I don't cover all four professional sports, so it's hard for me to say if Cincinnati deserves to be rated dead last. But there is no debate the Bengals should to be near the bottom of this list based on their poor and lengthy track record.