One day when Hall of Fame sportswriter Red Smith was asked about writing, he simply replied,
After one of the most memorable Bengals victories in the 45-year history of the franchise, our staff got together and “bled” out the emotions they had Sunday and just how much the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers met to them:
I woke up Sunday at 6:30 AM. Not because I am an early riser by any means, but a friend of mine in St. Louis is also from the Springfield (MO) area, and needed a ride home on to visit family. Since he had to work Saturday night, I managed to shake him awake and hit the bricks before eight just so we could make it back to Springfield in time to catch the Bengals vs Steelers game.
With neither of our families having Sunday Ticket in their homes and not wanting to risk a streaming disaster in the middle of the biggest game in recent memory, he and I headed to a local sports bar, which, unsurprisingly, was packed with Cowboys, Saints and sheepish Chiefs fans. We petitioned our waitress and the manager to play the Bengals game, which they finally obliged on a smaller, corner television. There is a Steelers bar in town, but I usually find myself in a heated debate.
As the game progressed, it became harder to stay seated, despite the calming help of the products of Mother’s Brewery, a Springfield gem. As the game progressed, I began gushing about A.J. Green and lauding the praises of drafting Geno Atkins and Marvin Jones. As the game came down to the wire, i moaned loudly as Big Ben received the ball with 3:18 left in the game as two mega-beared hoosier-hipsters watched me out of the corners of their eye. That is pretty much the point at which I lost any amount of self-restraint/respect as I pleaded for the Bengals’ defense. As Vontaze Burfict received his delay-of-game penalty, I began a less-than-dignified tirade.
At this point, the game was put on the big screen in the middle of the bar. As I walked, transfixed, into the middle of a sea of Cowboys and Saints jerseys, I felt a sort of omen that the Steelers were going to hiccup. As soon as I saw the ball in Reggie Nelson’s hands, I began howling “Reggie NELSON! REGGIE NELSON!” to the dumbfounded Cowboys fans. The lone Bengals fan in Springfield, Missouri triumphantly strutted around the Roost and its teeming patrons of teams much larger followings, but none as appreciative of their teams as I was at that moment. It had been since 2005, right before I saw Carson Palmer shred his knee, that I had been so ecstatic about football.