Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fans wear ponchos during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The more dubious members of the fan base continue to profess the inadequacies of this Bengals’s team despite the fact they sit atop of the AFC North with a commanding lead 2.5 game lead and a 7-4 record. Both the outcome and the reaction should not be surprising to anyone. Bengals fans are preconditioned to experiencing the second half of the NFL season through draw-out laments, loud complaints, and wistful predilections towards the offseason moves. As one fan pointed out this past Sunday via Twitter, Bengals fans do not know how to win. He has a point.
The “Never Sunny” segment itself is born from historical orange pessimism, which has continued tongue-and-cheek whether in dutiful disdain or blithe criticism depending upon the mood of the masses. Nonetheless, as we push into the remaining schedule, one that is the fifth easiest in the NFL, only two fundamental facts are undisputable.
First, this team has been decimated by injuries; and second, after those players recover, this team will have fewer holes to fill in 2014 than they did in 2013.
Understanding this fully, the Bengals can thus be selective and even emphatic in their offseason needs, should they so choose. Like the Ravens and Steelers of the past decade, situations such as this is how teams “reload” rather than “rebuild”, keeping momentum going season after season. However, emphasis must be done selectively and pragmatically and not as a matter of principle, something that would be akin to placing all of one’s eggs in a single basket on too regular as basis.