I grew up in a football family – my dad has had Bengals season tickets since he graduated HS so it was always going to be the Bengals for me.
A year after graduating college I joined a Bengals show and we did for over 6 seasons and I always thought it was one of the coolest things getting to interview the team I grew up watching.
Last week I watched the Bengals win a playoff game for the first time in my life – a night I’ll never forget and tears flowed it also had me go back and think about the times when it wasn’t good vibes and times at PBS. When the Bengals were losing by double digits and we stayed until the very end. Growing up a Bengals fan they were a laughing stock around sports teams, because they were known for …losing.
But for some reason I always remained optimistic about this club. Of course they had the Carson Palmer 2005 year when they returned to the playoffs and it ended in heartbreaking injury fashion – I begged my parents to let me stay home from school the next day because I was so sad or when Andy Dalton was drafted and they went to 5 straight playoffs and not one ended in a win.
Then we fast forward to April 2020 the day Joe Burrow was drafted – the vibe was different it felt like Christmas Day in Cincinnati and the new king was in town. This was going to be the guy to turn it all around. Last season Joe Burrow’s rookie year was cut short due to a terrible injury one that I still can’t watch on reply.
He rehabbed and a year and week to the day he learned how to walk again he beat the best team in the AFC at Paul Brown Stadium to clinch the AFC North. Shocking the world and myself. I couldn’t believe it – walking out of stadium high-fiving strangers and thinking they are about to go back to postseason.
I go back to me being optimistic about this club – I never saw a division title coming in Joe Burrow’s first full season, but I didn’t hate it.
So now it’s the day before the biggest game in my lifetime and I can’t help but feel optimistic again, because number 9 is the one leading the way.
Go Bengals – let’s get to one game away from the Super Bowl.