Bengals: Is There Room For One More Steelers Story?

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Nov 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) runs after a pass reception as Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) chases during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Bengals won 16-10.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) runs after a pass reception as Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) chases during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Bengals won 16-10.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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It Seems to always come back to the Steelers. The 2016 version of the Cincinnati Bengals is moving on from the Wild Card Game. Maybe the nation should too.

By now, The Game has taken on the status of legend. If you don’t know anything about the January 9 Wild Card battle, just ask any Cincinnati Bengals fan. The answers may not be ones you can repeat to children. The opinions range from anger and disappointment to a dusting of apathy. The Pittsburgh Steelers have that effect on the Queen City. 

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Most fans remember the day like it happened just a few moments ago. Yet, in the world of most Bengals faithful, time froze. It was as if the alien from The Day The Earth Stood Still was slowly walking down that ramp again. Waiting for the outcome was torture. But, experiencing it was even more horrific.

The Bengals had the game on ice. It was a done deal. The mission? Run the clock out. A mere 90 seconds stood between Marvin’s Men and the fulfillment of their destiny. The 2015 campaign was every Cincinnati fan’s dream. They were able to erase a 15-0 deficit and take the lead. A rainy Saturday evening looked like the end of a 24-year drought.

The Insane Scenario

Jeremy Hill fumbled. Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict were identified as public enemies(no Flavor Flav pun intended).

Must that moment be relieved? Are Bengals fans doomed to be caught in a never-ending loop? It seems that may be the case. What’s causing the needle to get stuck in the Steelers’ groove? The Bengals are better than what transpired on that night. But, analysts aren’t willing to let it go. 

Burfict is ready to move on, with the rest of the Men in Stripes. But, the subject keeps popping up. There is a huge disparity when people talk about Bengals-Steelers lore. The end result makes it seem as though the Stilluhs will always be the better of the two teams (it would be easier to accept this if the Steel City crew stopped bringing up the past).

There’s a different vibe about the 2016 Bengals. Players are not willing to talk about the happenings of that January 9 night. Actually, that’s the best thing that could happen. Refusing to acknowledge the negativity of the past shows growth(that’s from watching Dr. Phil and indulging in my emotions). This edition of the Orange and Black is moving forward.

Safety George Iloka said it best. The failures of last year must be put away. But, is the rest of the NFL ready? It’s time to create new memories.

"“We’re not talkin’ about the Steelers no more. It’s a new season. Like, honestly. It’s mid-August, right? And that was in January? We’re past that. That’s not really in our head. We told the local media, quit asking us about it, because that was seven, eight months ago. People who aren’t local media, it’s always their first question.”"

If the local media can sense the change, the national pundits should follow suit. It’s a new season and a new dynamic. This January, things will be different.

Next: Bengals Offense 2016

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