Time For The Cincinnati Bengals To Think Like Champions

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Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (right) celebrates scoring a touchdown with teammates against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (right) celebrates scoring a touchdown with teammates against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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With a roster full of championship talent, how are the Bengals not yet a championship team? Maybe it’s all in their mindset. This team has to believe they are champions in order to become champions.

When Marvin Lewis took over as Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, his first job was to change the culture. The organization had been downtrodden for over a decade and was the laughing-stock of the league.

What Lewis has accomplished since he took over has been remarkable., when you look at where they were. The team started winning games and soon after a division title. I can admit– as a fan myself–that 2005 was a dream season. At the time, winning the AFC North felt like winning a Super Bowl.

For a long time, I felt like maybe that has been part of the problem. No one really cared about winning the crown because everyone was happy to simply make it to the dance. Then 2011 happened. With a new quarterback and roster came another culture change. Along with that change came a run which has never been seen by this organization.

Winning games became the norm. Unfortunately, so did first round playoff exits. The culmination of this run came in the 2015 season, during the first round of the playoffs against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. With a lead and less than two minutes to go, the Who Dey Nation was able to experience something that had not since the early 90’s.

Return Of The Cliche

For a few brief moments, the Bengals knew what it was like to be playoff winners. That’s when it happened. The dreaded ‘Bungles’ decided to make a cameo appearance and just like that, it was gone. Ever since that cold winter’s night, there have been nothing but questions and another sub-par season.

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As we evaluate this offseason full of free agency and draft picks, we will try to collectively figure out a way to make this roster better as we watch our favorite team put together next year’s squad. I’m not trying to underestimate the importance of roster decisions but maybe it’s time we all dig just a little bit deeper. As important as personnel is, there is also a physiological aspect that must be taken into account.

I believe that in order to become a championship team, The Bengals organization, from the front office to coaches, players and even fans must completely believe that this is a championship team. Everyone involved should carry themselves in a manner that says this is a championship organization.

Look at this year’s Super Bowl champs. Yes.  They have a Hall of Fame coach and quarterback. However, if you look at their roster, They really are not loaded with All-Pro talent up and down the depth chart. That’s no disrespect to the Patriots, however, there is a point to be made. They won the championship, and they win because they enter every game fully believing they are going to win.

Next: Time To Go 'All In'

The Mindset

Before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady became legends they were underdogs. They went into that first Super Bowl believing as a unit, and five championships later, they are a dynasty. I say, why not us? The Bengals can be champions. Attack every aspect of the game from March to February with the mindset of a champion. It’s simple. If you carry yourself like champions and think like you are champions…then you will act like you are champions. You just have to believe.

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