"There still are scoreboards and they will still be turned on and used during games," said head coach Marvin Lewis. "It's obviously not what any of us wanted. And the league also still plans to record wins and losses and publish the standings in newspapers. It's a tough pill to swallow."
Bengals' player rep and offensive lineman Andre Whitworth received the brunt of the complaints from his teammates, who had specifically asked him to fight during negotiations for a game format that would be less embarrassing to the team.
"Fellas, I did what I could," Whitworth told his teammates after the meeting. "But every time I would stand up to talk, someone would say: 'Not now, guy. We need to focus on the needs of real NFL teams.'"
In addition to the bad news about the scoreboard and standings, the Bengals were also informed that tackling still exists, as well as interceptions and turnovers.
"We wanted the NFL to be kind of like a rec, flag football league run by a bunch of hippies, if that makes sense," said Lewis. "No scoreboard, no pain, just FUN! We're tired of getting our feelings hurt by the other teams."
But with the same structure in place, Lewis says it's time to get to work.
"It is what it is. I guess it's time to teach these guys the rules of football and how to hold and throw and catch a football, and what shoulder pads are, that sort of thing," he said. "But there's not much time. The regular season is almost here. I'm afraid there's a good chance we're really, really, really going to suck."