Bengals’ rapid rise to greatness: just plain wrong
It was only a scant six months ago that Ohio writers were calling them a “juggernaut,” or “a dominant force for the next five or six years,” or the “team of the twenties.” Personally, I like the last one. Kinda just rolls off the tongue, much like the saliva of a rabid rottweiler, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, it was the Browns everyone was writing about. That’s the worst thing about the Bengals meteoric ascension to greatness: it was supposed to be our turn, remember? What the heck happened on our cakewalk to the Super Bowl? Super Bowl? Geez, now we’re not even the best pro football team in the stinkin’ state of Ohio.
And please, spare me the “but we beat the Bengals twice” argument. Where would you rather be right now: playing in the Super Bowl for the title of “Best team in the NFL in 2021” or have bragging rights to beating the other team twice in an otherwise colossal disappointment of a football season? Actually, that “accomplishment” is about as monumental as the Browns playing the Detroit Lions every fall in a meaningless preseason game for the bragging rights to winning the (so-called “coveted”) Lake Erie Cup. At least until everyone realized the players, fans, and in particular, the TV audience, couldn’t give two hoots about garbage promoted as gold. We’re dumb, but we’re not stupid.
I have a lot of friends and relatives who are Bengals and Ohio State Buckeyes fans who have yet to forgive Baker Mayfield for planting Oklahoma's flag on Ohio State's midfield logo in 2017 after upsetting the Buckeyes. Joe Burrow’s two-year, almost fairytalesque sprint past Mayfield as a dominant quarterback has not helped the suddenly injury-prone Mayfield in his on-the-field struggles.
It hasn’t exactly helped my argument which opines that Mayfield is capable of taking the Browns to the Super Bowl, either. Next season will be Baker’s fifth in the NFL, ordinarily a time where the true greats of the game have firmly established themselves as – at the very least – talent with a “very high ceiling.” It would be a stretch for me to say that Baker has done that. To be perfectly honest, right now Mayfield’s “ceiling” is about the same height as any of my floating ribs. Ouch. That hurts to say.
The icing on the cake is that the Bengals owner and GM, Mike Brown, has always been regarded as a cheapskate, with two of the smallest coaching and scouting staffs in the NFL. Mike Brown will never be confused with his father, Paul, when it comes to football acumen. In fact, it had been 31 years since the Bengals won even a single playoff game, yet there they were in the Super Bowl.
Jimmy Haslam, who has almost one coach for every player on the roster (I’m only kidding, folks, but not by a lot), has yet to reach the promised land.
It ain’t fair, I tell you.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!