I'm writing this in the middle of the Bengals' playoff game against the Colts. It's the beginning of the second half, after the Bengals went three-and-out. I'm going to be bold and post this when I'm finished writing it because I want to relate my feelings in the middle of the fray, regardless of the outcome. We're not winning this game. I'm fully resigned to this fact.
I grew up a Bengals fan. It's my birthright. Paul Brown was a brilliant football mind. Even when we didn't have the best teams, the franchise was moving in a solid direction. I was at the 1988 playoff game against Seattle that sent the Bengals to the AFC Championship. The 1989 Super Bowl was ours for the taking. It just didn't work out. But we had Boomer Esiason and a great crew of players; we'd eventually get it done.
Then came the 1990's.
Paul Brown died and so did our mojo. I attended the game where Icky Woods career ended. I believe that was the year that we took out Bo Jackson in the playoffs but the Raiders killed us. I had no idea that we wouldn't see a playoff win in the next two decades.
Unless there was a blackout, I watched the game. Even when we were horrible. David Kingler, KiJana Carter, Akili Smith, Dan Wilkinson. They played for us but never matched their anticipated greatness. The hope of 2005 was quickly extinguished with by a Kimo Von Oelhoffen shot at Carson Palmer's knee. Since then, we've always had good teams. But as Jim Collins made a fortune proclaiming, good is the enemy of great. In the meantime, our division rivals have won three Super Bowls.
As I tweeted a few weeks ago, the Bengals do just good enough to instill hope in me and then they Kimo Von Oelhoffen you. I'm watching this game now, and I just know, deep down inside of me, that it's going to play out this way.
This confession doesn't make me less of a fan; it makes me a realist. I'm exhausted from the disappointment. Why do I continue to support this team?
We're going to lose. And I'm writing this with twenty-five minutes left in the game when we're only down by three.
Who Dey, I guess.