There were injuries and suspect play, during each Bengals-Steelers hookup. The “rivalry” has to move beyond those antics. The fighting must end.
With the advent of training camp, thoughts of football have turned to dreams of the regular season. The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers will face off in Week 2. The game’s early scheduling has taken some fans by surprise. But, the bottom line is the thirst for entertainment. The NFL wants to cash in on the antics that may happen. Bengals players need to focus on more than just the rivalry.
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There’s more at stake than just a couple of teams hooking up for ratings. After the insane ending to The Game (aka the January 9 Wild Card event), fans and media moguls have been licking their chops in anticipation of a rematch. Yet, the games played this year will be more than rematch fodder. The battles will have to be played to show how far each team has come.
Recently, Ben Roethlisberger has claimed that he wants a cleaner “rivalry.” Yes, Stilluh Nation. Big Ben called it a rivalry. Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Roethlisberger has had enough of the excessive activities. Do the Steelers want an end to the insanity?
"“I want it to be a good, clean rivalry. I don’t want it to be a rivalry where people are tuning in to see a fight, to see penalties. I think it can get out of control, and it did at times. I am out there and you see all the stuff going on under the piles. It is one thing to talk a little trash and another thing to say some of the things that are being said.”"
Ben can be a prima donna and cry baby, but his reasoning is on point. The Bengals-Steelers matchup is about more than fights and name calling. Both teams are stocked with talented players that rock. I may be a homer, with 41 years devoted to the Bengals, but the truth is evident. The rivalry needs to revert back to football. The two divisional games should showcase the best of each team.
While some fans and analysts have turned the games into a Vontaze Burfict Hatefest, the true essence of the game has been lost in translation. That’s an idea. Bill Murray can give a rousing pre-game speech, before each game. That could help the Bengals and Steelers find their muse. Hopefully, that won’t be a case of Japanese whiskey.
Tons of injuries—most of which could have been avoided—marred the outcome of important games. Tyler Eifert, Andy Dalton, and Giovani Bernard went down at the mercy of the Pittsburgh defence. Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown bit the bullet against the Bengals’ defenders. What could have been excellent games were tainted by unnecessary battle scars.
The history of Bengals-Steelers is brutal. The Game has left many with mixed feelings. That shouldn’t be how the rivalry is remembered. Adam Jones is still seething, but moving on.
“We kicked they a** the whole game; that’s all I can say,” Jones politely remembered, via ESPN. “And it hurt me to my heart that we let it go like that. It’s over with. It’s in the past.”
Hopefully, 2016 will see true competition from both teams. Head coach Marvin Lewis has vowed to keep the focus on the field. Now, it’s time the players follow through.