I have gone through several times in my head in about 41 years wondering why, time and time again, why the Cincinnati Bengals are my favorite team. I mean, I grew up in Cincinnati, but that doesn’t mean anything to me, really. I grew up with a lot of friends that abandoned the “home team” and became Pittsburgh Steeler fanboys, or Brown fans, or Chief fans.
Now for 41 years Bengals have shown flashes of greatness, and they have had their share of great players, but the issue was that they were never good enough to handle primetime games, or playoff games.
Cincinnati Bengals are the only NFL team that still does not have an indoor practice facility, no team chef and worst of all, no scouting team. Owner Mike Brown said that the coaches are the scouts, so that means the coaches never have an offseason. You might understand now why the Bengals have had their share of terrible draft picks, when they do not have a fulltime staff devoted in scouting.
The Bengals practice under a freeway, a bridge, outside as if they are homeless or something. But now we are in 2022, and the Bengals somehow, against all odds, against all preseason predictions, and low expectations have made it to the Super Bowl. 31 years since they won a playoff game, 33 years since they were AFC champs. 2022, Cincinnati Bengals can finally claim that they are the best team in the AFC conference. They are one game away from being the best team in the NFL in the year 2022. This is absolutely bonkers.
I was going to happy this year if Bengal’s won 7 games, but they are in the Super Bowl. Finally, it actually feels good to be a Bengals fan! But why, through all those years, I stayed as a Cincinnati Bengals fan? I mean I could have changed allegiances, just pick another team to cheer for. Why choose and stick to be with a team that is still practicing under a freeway bridge.
It is not because I love underdog teams, that’s not it at all. But it mostly comes from my first experience in football. It was this 1981 Bengals AFC champs pin that my father gave me when I was a baby. I kept it the whole time. For some reason, when I was younger I loved this pin. I loved playing with it like with my toys. And I think because of this, I just cant see myself cheering for another team. I met Anthony Munoz, Standford Jennings, mimics the Icky Shuffle. I cried when Carson Palmer broke his leg in a playoff game. I adored TJ Houshmanzadah. I loved Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) crazy antics and celebrations. I looked up to Andy Dalton and AJ Green. All these players who I cheered for throughout the years gives me just good memories. I can’t just change that. I stuck with my team, spent most Sundays after church, screaming and yelling at the TV.
But finally, it feels good to be a Bengals fan. I never buy any sport team stuff, no T Shirts, mugs, or accessories. But I have now bought about $200.00 worth of Bengal AFC stuff for my entire family. And I may have to buy more when they are crowned Super Bowl Champions. It is going to be a very expensive February.
Not too sure what the moral of this blog would be... maybe it's never give up on what you love and who you love.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).