You aren’t going to win a championship every year, and that’s okay. And, to be entirely honest, it’s enviable to perennially have a team where such expectations are held. However, it is refreshing when, even if a team has X amount of titles, or X amount of championships, one of its fans can—for once—live in the present and acknowledge if they just aren’t that good. For example, the Patriots are good this year, and just last night they clinched the #2 seed in the AFC with a bye in the first round. Yeah, they have Super Bowl rings, but even better in 2013? They’re still relevant, and could potentially add to the three they already have. Conversely, the Pittsburgh Steelers have six rings, yet aren’t even in the playoffs this year. Call me crazy, but instead of dwelling on past successes, I would want my team to be in the postseason this year. We aren’t discussing the Steelers as a franchise (because you can’t deny how great they have been), but they just aren’t very good this year. Simple as that.
With the Bengals still in the conversation this season, our number one hope as a fan base is to make it past the first round of the playoffs. Seems elementary enough, but at least the Bengals made it to the postseason this year. As Bengals fans, we withstand the trials and tribulations of Mike Brown and the ups and downs of our favorite team, but just because we occasionally feel down on our team, that does not make us bad fans; it makes us realists. When a team plays well, the fans feel great, but when they play horribly, the fans feel sour. Just like the ebb and flow of the play on the field, fans reflect the same.
Now that Cincinnati is no longer the laughingstock of the NFL (thank you, Tampa Bay) and we have expectations, it’s about time the Bengals not simply make the playoffs (like they’ve done in four of the past five seasons), but make it past the first round. Sure, our expectations are small compared to Super Bowl rings—which your favorite team may have—but at least we are still in contention this year.
And now I ceremoniously jump off of my soapbox to bring you my three favorite pop culture-related football comparisons of all time (in order):
1) Domata Peko (DT, Cincinnati Bengals) and Barf (Spaceballs) are the same person/thing from the back; ponytail/tail included.
2) You cannot deny the uncanny resemblance between Joe Flacco (QB, Baltimore Ravens) and Margaret McPoyle (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)