The Cincinnati Bengals are on the doorstep of a new era in their franchise's history after securing the No. 1 overall pick at the 2020 NFL Draft and are slated to take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the consensus top selection.
While it does feel like a new day in Bengals football, especially after watching Burrow put together one of the greatest seasons in college football history, Carson Palmer is sending a word of caution in the direction of the reigning Heisman winner. As he explained to CBS Sports Radio's Damon Amendolara, Palmer never felt that the Bengals were totally committed to winning.
"That's why I wanted out," Palmer said. "I never felt like the organization was really trying to win a Super Bowl, and really chasing the Super Bowl. Because that's what today's day and age is. The game today is you can't just hope you draft well and not go after free agents and you just end up in the Super Bowl. You gotta go get it."
That feeling was even more illuminated to Palmer after he arrived to Arizona and played under owner Michael Bidwill, who he credited for being all in on trying to attain a Super Bowl title. In 2015, the Cardinals had a 13-3 regular season and made it all the way to the NFC Championship, but fell to the Carolina Panthers. Despite not reaching the mountaintop, that experience showed Palmer what an organization looks like with one goal in mind.
"Everything was about winning," he said. "The culture was about winning. And we -- very fortunately -- the year before I got to Arizona, I think they won a couple games, or three or four games. And Michael Bidwill dug his feet in the ground, and I saw an owner say we're gonna go after this. And we're gonna do what it takes to win.
"At the end of the day when owners do what it takes to win and have that type of mentality -- and everybody's on board -- you know I saw it right before my eyes. Ten wins, 11 wins, 12 wins -- whatever it was, those next three years.When the organization is completely behind doing what it takes to win, and you've got the right players, then that's the recipe for a Super Bowl. When you've got good players but you're not really forcing everybody in the organization's hand to do what we can to be better, to do what we can to win a Super Bowl, that's the difference in the NFL.
"You look at what Bob Kraft's done. You look at the teams that have had success year in and year out. You look at what goes on in Baltimore. I mean, that team is always good. That team is doing whatever it takes. They are willing to do whatever it takes to win. And that's why they're consistently in the playoffs, regardless of who their quarterback is."
Of course, Palmer's experience in Cincinnati doesn't necessarily mean that Burrow's tenure with the franchise will go down in similar fashion. It is, however, something to think about as this uber-talented quarterback is about to make his way to town. It's up to the Bengals to get the most out of him and possibly learn from the mistakes they made with Palmer.