It has rained most of the week here in Cincinnati, but tomorrow is sun is finally supposed to break out in the early afternoon.
Ever since that fateful day in January 2006 (and most of the time prior to 2005), rain clouds have hovered over the Bengals franchise and fan base...reducing us to be a nervous, silent mass during Steelers Week.
By the time 4:15 rolls around on Sunday, the 50,000 or so Bengals fans in attendance will have had enough time to fuel up, and should have enough passion, energy, and alcohol to account for the 10,000 or so fans in Black and Gold. But what happens if Pittsburgh scores first. What happens if they go up 10-0. 14-0?
For the first time in a long time, I'm excited about a Bengals game. Here at WDR, we are all HUGE Bengals fans first. That's the only way this site would be possible. If we didn't truly have an unhealthy obsession about the Bengals and the city of Cincinnati, there is no way this site would be what it is today. All of us would literally give body parts to see this team win a Super Bowl.
But, you can't win a Super Bowl in Week 3. You can win one game though, and this game would be a huge step.
A win against the Steelers means more than going 1-0 in the division, 2-1 overall, and putting Pittsburgh at 1-2. It means the Bengals have the mental toughness to go against the team that sets the standard for mental toughness in the NFL. It means that Pittsburgh's dominance at Paul Brown Stadium over the past eight years is over. Quite frankly, it means that this fan base can start to have a swagger found only once for a brief four month period in 2005 in the past 20 years. Think about that...we were confident about our football team ONE TIME in 20 years. All the parity in the NFL can't overcome that fact.
Marvin's message this year is to 'fight back'. The Bengals need to fight for 60 minutes on Sunday, and they won't just be battling the 45 active Steelers. I ask the Bengals players to do the following on Sunday:
Fight through the muddling, mediocre, losing ways of your ownership. It's inexcusable that they never announce their expectations to win a Super Bowl, and pathetic that winning is not their number one priority...but fight through that.
Fight through the Steelers walking in here with the full expectation they are walking out with their ninth straight win in Cincinnati.
Fight through a quarterback who has not really taken 'the leap' yet, while the opposing quarterback has two rings in five seasons.
My final plea to the fellas on Sunday? Give us something to believe in again. UC's fantastic run in football right now withheld, the fans in this town have been so beaten down for so long, that it has affected our entire mental psyche. I'm not just talking about sports psyche. It affects us in all walks of life...at least everyone that is a true Bengals fan and a true Cincinnatian.
Starting on Sunday, you can start to give us hope again. Here at WDR, we don't believe with the current ownership structure that a Super Bowl is possible. But you, as players, can win this game. And that's a start.
Oh yeah, and beat the hell out of Hines Ward.