Despite an impressive 2015 campaign, the Bengals still get no respect. What will it take to make the doubters notice?
It seemed as if the Cincinnati Bengals were starting to turn things around. The Orange and Black attack had made the playoffs five consecutive years. There was an increase in interest towards the team. Bengals faithful were coming out of the woodwork and proclaiming their allegiance. Yet, the hoopla over the stripes hasn’t been enough. The respect level is still missing from the Bengals’ resume.
Despite placing a league-high six players on NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2016, the Bengals are still fighting an uphill battle. The only other team to be represented at the same clip is the Denver Broncos.
The most frustrating thing Bengals fans face
Geno Atkins (29) Carlos Dunlap (70), Andrew Whitworth (67), tight end Tyler Eifert (44), and quarterback Andy Dalton (35) made it for the first time. A.J. Green topped the list (16). Bengals fans can actually poke their chests out. Oakland Raiders safety Reggie Nelson also made the list. He was considered a major cog, in last season’s division clinching defense.
What makes it so hard to respect the Bengals? For some analysts and football purists, it’s the equivalent of pulling teeth. No matter how far the Bengals evolve, the respect quotient won’t be solved, until a series of events happens. For some, there will have to be an immediate trip to the Super Bowl. That accomplishment will have to be followed by two more “winning” rings. Is it really that serious? Isn’t their recent performance enough to show progress?
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The most frustrating thing Bengals fans face is simple. The success of the team is marred by the lack of a playoff win. Yes, it’s true. It doesn’t take the skills of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, to get a handle on the jeers. Cincinnati has had a great run in the postseason. But, collecting L’s and expecting to be media darlings is a chore.
Making it to the postseason has become a habit, for the Bengals. Winning a playoff game is still a mystery. Many longtime followers believe in a curse. Cincy Jungle recently addressed the issue of a curse. Before we go on, I will admit to believing in many things. But, a postseason hex isn’t one. The Bengals merely have to execute, to break out of their primetime slump. The recent NBA Championship Series should be motivation.
Regular season victories will keep the vultures away, for a little while. But, when the real hunger needs to be addressed…nothing satisfies like a playoff win.
Head coach Marvin Lewis has done a bang-up job. He’s turned the Bengals franchise into an easily recognizable postseason commodity. Yet, for all his success, there has to be accountability. Giving Lewis another chance is dependent upon the outcome of 2016. He has to win. The Bengals have to rise to another level.
Most fans have a “what-have-you-done-lately” relationship with NFL teams. One playoff win will push the Bengals over the top.
All sign posts point to this being the year it comes together. As for that respect thing…it’ll happen, when the Bengals transfer their 16-game dominance to the post season. Until then, no matter how many games Cincinnati wins, they’ll get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment.