Bengals Parting Message to Dalton Focuses on Legacy on and off the Field
When a professional sports team drafts a player they see as a franchise superstar to build around, the clock measuring time for a major change immediately starts ticking. That clock began in Cincinnati when the Bengals drafted quarterback Joe Burrow number one overall. Not long after, it was announced that the team had released Andy Dalton, a quarterback who, in about a decade with the team, now holds many franchise passing records.
Dalton can now see what other jobs might be available elsewhere, a clean break from the team that is clearly going in another direction. That could have been it, a “that’s just business” send-off and everyone moves on, but that isn’t how Cincinnati chose to play it. Team owner Mike Brown chose to send Dalton out with solid fanfare, talking about what the player meant to the team and the man meant to the community:
“Andy will always hold a special place with this franchise, and I know that he holds a special place in my heart… This is a hard day for our club, because we know and appreciate what a consummate professional Andy has always been… we respect and appreciate him…,” he said.
On social media, the team put it more simply: “9 years, 204 touchdowns, 2,757 completions, an unquestionable impact on the community…”
Clearly, the message being communicated is that this guy is the real deal and we appreciate him, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment. When the team gave Dalton players to work with, he was one of the NFL’s most efficient quarterbacks, boasting a 106.3 passer rating in 2015.
But, there had been some writing on the wall that this was coming. Dalton rode the bench for three games last season, during which the Bengals only managed to win two games. After that rocky season, Dalton wanted a trade. He didn’t get it, and there was speculation that the Bengals might let him play out the final year of his current contract as a mentor to Burrow.
That kind of shaky communication created some issues between the quarterback and the team, and sending him off with a year to go on his contract likely became inevitable. So, the Bengals switched tactics from playing it close to the vest to giving Dalton a send-off that celebrated not only his work on the field, but also the work he and his family did in the community.
Well-executed messaging around a business relationship that was not going to get any better.