Bengals President Mike Brown to Miss 1st Game Ever on TNF Because of Pandemic

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 16, 2020

FILE - In this July 23, 2019, file photo, Mike Brown, owner of the Cincinnati Bengals NFL football team, speaks while being interviewed at Paul Brown Stadium during the team's media luncheon in Cincinnati. The 2020 NFL Draft is April 23-25. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals president Mike Brown told Geoff Hobson of the team's official website that he will not attend his team's Thursday Night Football road game against the Cleveland Browns due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm the age I am and I check all the boxes and I'm told it's foolish to do it," the 85-year-old Brown told Hobson. "It comes down to a decision and maybe it's time to start doing stuff like this. I'm just at the age I have to go about life a little differently."

The Bengals have played 805 regular-season and 19 playoff games since the team's NFL debut in 1968, and Brown has been there for every one.

He missed one preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 2, 1991, to be with his dying father, ex-team president and founder Paul Brown.

Per ESPN's Ben Baby, the Bengals will still have a representative from the Brown family at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday in executive vice president Katie Blackburn, who is Brown's daughter.

Bengals club director of strategy and engagement Elizabeth Blackburn, Brown's granddaughter, will also be present.

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"When the streak started, Katie would have been about three years old and Elizabeth was far, far in the future," Brown told Hobson.

The irony of the streak ending against Cleveland is not lost on Brown.

The Cleveland Browns are named after Paul Brown, who was their first coach from 1946-1962. He was also the team's general manager and part-owner.

"It was going to be somebody," Mike Brown said regarding the opponent following the streak's end. "The fact it's Cleveland and on a Thursday night is all sort of ironic and not normal."

Brown told Hobson he still plans to watch the game despite not being able to attend in person.

"I'll get excited at moments. Get upset at moments," Brown said. "I'll get joyful at times. I hope it's at the end when that occurs."

The Bengals and Browns both started their year with losses. No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow nearly led Cincinnati to a comeback win against the Los Angeles Chargers, while the Browns lost 38-6 to the defending AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens.

NFL Network will televise the Bengals vs. Browns matchup, which is slated for Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET.