The Bengals made the playoffs in 2005, 2009 and 2011. Prior to 2003 they hadn't been to the playoffs since 1990. If that doesn't count as an improvement I'm not exactly sure what does. And we have a really young talented team, how is there not reason to believe they'll get better?
The infatuation with Mike Brown is another mind boggling thing to me. If he made being a Bengals fan that miserable for me I'd find a new team. Sports are supposed to be fun afterall.