Close your eyes, give me your hand, Carson.
Do you feel our hearts beating, do you understand?
Do you feel ashamed, am I only dreaming?
Is this season an eternal flameout?
[First of all, let me apologize in advance to the editor of this website as he is a diehard Bengals fan. Now, let us proceed…]
With a 0-3 record this season, the Cincinnati Bengals have done little to avoid the nearly inevitable reference to 1980’s pop band the Bangles – who could easily have matched their current win totals had they themselves suited up in the orange and black. After perfecting Jeff George’s Prevent Offense in the first two weeks of the ’08-’09 season (10 offensive points combined), the Carson Palmer-led offense managed to put up an often-before seen 23 points in week 3. Unfortunately for them, under the current rules of professional tackle football, both teams are allowed to score points in a game. That illogical rule proved to be the coup de grâce in their overtime loss to the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that the Bengals are coping with a few key injuries, but they still possess a surplus of talent on offense – which makes their recent underperformance that much more of a mystery. If you’ll allow me to indulge, I’d like to offer a few explanations on behalf of head coach Marvin Lewis (for whom I have much respect):
Carson Palmer isn’t really as good as we think.
Prior to the arrival of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow to USC, Carson Palmer was considered by many as one of the largest disappointments in NCAA history. Although he was a four-year starter, Palmer didn’t live up to his presumed potential until his senior year – his second year as the field general of Norm Chow’s offense. So, it is entirely possible that Palmer was a product of the system, rather than a standalone success (see also Matt Leinart).
The ghost of Woody Hayes is sabotaging the Bengals’ season as payback for starting a former Michigan Wolverine at running back.
There are two universal truths about Woody Hayes that emerged during his legendary tenure as the head ball coach at The Ohio State University: his tradition of winning, and his hatred of Michigan. No other anecdote demonstrates his disdain of Big Blue more vividly than that of an assistant coach who accompanied Coach Hayes on a recruiting trip to “that state up north”:
The assistant, who saw the weather was starting to get bad, began to become worried about getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, and once again stressed his desire to pull over and get gas. Woody erupted: “No, goddammit! We do NOT pull in and fill up. And I’ll tell you exactly why we don’t. It’s because I don’t buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan! We’ll coast and PUSH this goddam car to the Ohio line before I give this state a nickel of my money!”
The last name of the Bengals’ most accomplished skill player is a number.
I know what Chad Johnson is getting at, but ocho cinco isn’t even the correct Spanish translation for the number eighty-five. Not to mention that at his current rate of output, Mr. Ocho Cinco will need two full 16-game seasons to log 85 receptions. When your fake grill is worth more than the quality of your performance on the field, it’s time to consider concentrating less on your marketing potential and much more on the job that affords you the luxury of such idiotic, narcissistic stunts.
As a fan of parity among teams in all sports leagues, I will undoubtedly receive satisfaction this weekend when either the Bengals or the Browns earn their first (likely) win of the season. The answer to the question of who will emerge as the victor lies in each team’s ability to suck slightly less than their opponent. Godspeed, Cincinnati Bengals – you may indeed require the assistance of divine intervention to avoid an eternal flameout to what was once considered a dynasty on the rise.
- Hugh Kaneshiro