For sheer bitterness and dislike, nothing comes close to Bengals-Steelers.
There’s a certain feeling in the air. A warm breeze brings thoughts of summer and picnics. Baseball is in full swing and school’s out for summer. That Alice Cooper song always comes to mind, when those words are strung together. With all the distractions of hot weather, Bengals faithful are still thinking of one thing. Since The Game, there has been no deviance of thought. September 18 is D-day. It’s part one of the battle. Bengals-Steelers…is there anything better?
The big game used to be playing the Cleveland Browns. Most Bengals fans know the details. Paul Brown helped establish the team by Lake Erie. Eventually, he formed the Orange and Black. Recently, the rivalry lost it’s luster. It ran it’s course, after the Browns began impersonating a real football franchise (NOTE: See Karlos Dansby for details).
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When did Bengals-Steelers become the main event of the century? Who cares? At this very moment, there are undoubtedly aliens buying t-shirts to watch the games. The rivalry has taken on epic proportions that transcend reality. In fact, Doc Brown and Marty McFly are getting the DeLorean ready. They’ll be front and center at both battles.
During a brief exchange with Paul Daugherty of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Giovani Bernard stressed that the Bengals were leaving the past behind. He refused to acknowledge the January 9 Wild Card showdown. George Iloka has also stated the Bengals are not looking over their shoulders. Head coach Marvin Lewis is setting the foundation for increased focus.
"“That’s the end of it. That’s what he told us to tell y’all, that was the end of it. A lot of guys moved on from it like a month or two after the season. So that was more so speaking points for the media, like listen, we’re not talking about the past. We’re just answering questions about the future.”"
For those who like their future immediate, September 18 is around the corner. Then, with the help of Doc and Marty, Week 15 will seem like the blink of an eye. Bengals warriors are strong and determined. But, they’re also human.
Domata Peko remembers that last Bengals-Steelers hook up with passion.
"“Everyone in the stands is crying. My family in the suite is crying. That was our year, you know? We have to get back to that situation.”"
For everything there is a season. This year is the season of the Bengals. It starts in 91 days. But, the real deal begins with Bengals-Steelers. That game drops in 101 days.
There’s nothing like it.