The Cincinnati Bengals managed to avoid a humiliating 0-16 season by defeating the New York Jets 22-6 in Week 13, but it wasn't the most exciting of atmospheres at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.
According to Joe Kay of the Associated Press, only 39,804 fans attended the Bengals' first win of the 2019 season. This marked the lowest attendance in Paul Brown Stadium since it opened 19 years ago.
Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic added that it was also the lowest attendance for a Bengals home game in 24 years - dating back to their Week 17, 1995 showdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
As is the case with most professional sports teams, constant losing leads to a decline in ticket sales and attendance. The Bengals are headed towards their fourth consecutive losing and non-playoff season, after qualifying five years in a row from 2011 to 2015.
ESPN's NFL attendance figures show that the Bengals are averaging just 45,434 fans per game. That places them 31st in the league, only ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers (25,385), who are playing in a soccer stadium until SoFi Stadium opens up next year.
Bengals owner Mike Brown has received plenty of criticism for not spending enough money to shore up the team's needs in free agency. Not only that, but Cincinnati didn't trade away any of its top talents at this year's deadline.
Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green is a pending free agent, while quarterback Andy Dalton is likely to be cut loose this offseason. The Bengals are in prime position to land a top-three pick (perhaps even the first overall selection), which would allow them to draft their next signal-caller.
As evidenced by the massive drop-off in attendance, the fans in Cincinnati have grown disgruntled, and they want their voices to be heard. It's up to Bengals ownership and the front office to put together some hope in the offseason, or else attendance will continue to plummet.