The Super Bowl on Sunday between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams is intriguing because neither franchise has been very good for very long. The Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001, and while the Bengals are now in the Super Bowl, they had not won a playoff game since 1990 until this year. Now with a superstar quarterback, the Bengals have ascended to the Super Bowl; could this mean the Mariners could reach similar heights in the near future?
The Mariners have only been above .500 in eight seasons since they last made the playoffs, and the Bengals have similarly had 8 winning seasons over the same period. The Bengals had made the playoffs 7 times since 1990, the year they last won a playoff game before this year. The Mariners, however, have not made the playoffs since then.
The Bengals got a franchise-altering player in Joe Burrow
Cincinnati had their fortunes change when they drafted Joe Burrow, and put other young players around him. He has now led them to the Super Bowl in only his second season in the NFL. The Mariners similarly have amassed a plethora of young talent, both on their current major league roster and in their minor league farm system. Logan Gilbert, Jarred Kelenic, and Kyle Lewis have all made it to the big leagues, and they still have plenty of young players on the way.
The Mariners could have a future lineup that is riddled with young talent:
Possible Future Lineup
Catcher – Cal Raleigh
First Base – Ty France
Second Base – Abraham Toro
Third Base – Noelvi Marte
Shortstop – J.P. Crawford
Left Field – Jarred Kelenic
Center Field – Kyle Lewis
Right Field – Julio Rodriguez
Designated Hitter – Mitch Haniger
Possible Future Rotation
Looking at that roster, there is some real potential there to be one of the best teams in baseball. The M’s should follow the Bengals’ blueprint of drafting and developing young players, which they have done, and the next step they need to follow is adding other players around their young core.
Despite coming off of a down season as a team, the Bengals signed defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who had 14 sacks for them in 2021. The Mariners could similarly sign players like Kris Bryant or Trevor Story to be their star players around their young talent.
The Mariners might already have their own Joe Burrow-type player(s)
Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez could be the type of players that lead the Mariners franchise from the bottom of the league to the World Series. They have the potential to be star players, and to be leaders like Burrow. Both have the “cool factor” that “Joe Cool” has. Cal Raleigh and the young pitchers could make a great pairing, just like Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, who have spent tons of time together to become a great player combination.
It will be very fun to watch the Bengals in the Super Bowl on Sunday, and hopefully continue to pave the way for the Mariners as they look to have a meteoric rise in 2022. Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez are the faces of the franchise going forward, just like “Joey Franchise” is for the Bengals. Keep an eye on the Mariners in 2022, and don’t rule out a deep playoff run from the boys in blue.