There’s a certain amount of respect that comes with winning. But, the Bengals need to go beyond the W’s to turn the negative talk around.
So far, the Cincinnati Bengals are not getting a ton of respect. Even though it’s an annual occurrence, it never fails to irritate fans. Under most circumstances, a team that posts double-digit wins will garner some attention. The Bengals have been able to do that, in four of the past five seasons. When the Bengals cranked out 12 wins in 2015, all signs pointed to a solid postseason. But, once again, the same results. To get the respect they truly want, it’s going to take more than W’s.
Okay, it’s true. The 2016 season was a disappointment that came out of nowhere. After the humiliating playoff blunder of the prior year, Bengals backers were ready for something–anything–to make the pain go away. Instead, fans were handed a 6-9-1 record and asked to keep the faith. Yeah. It’s like that, and that’s the way it is (pulled out the old Run-D.M.C.).
With that losing campaign, Cincinnati solidified its chances of having absolutely no respect this year. Analysts have been quick to blast the team for a sub-par free agency period (as usual) and the selection of Joe Mixon. Even when the Bengals do something good, the love is nowhere to be found. The big need was obviously the offensive line. But, going with Mixon and the speedster John Ross shows concern. The aim was to get younger and faster. Honestly, they did just that. Yet, it’s still not enough.
Can You Blame ‘Em?
To get the attention and constant praise of the talking heads, there has to be more than 10, 11 or 12 wins. There has to be something substantial happening after the regular season is done. Frankly, from 2011-15, the Bengals were an exercise in futility. Getting to the Wild Card round always ended with a mediocre showing. Taking an L during the regular season is bad enough. But, doing it over and over in the Big Dance is maddening.
How do they change the national viewpoint that seems to be prevalent this year? Actually, it’s not that hard. Well, it’s difficult from the player’s point of view. They’re the ones who have to start the run. But, it’s all about finishing.
It’s understandable for the consensus to be negative. Most of the national opinion about the Bengals hinges on one thing: Marvin Lewis.
Lewis will have to find a way to rally his team and get the job done. It’s no longer okay to have a stellar 16-game run and go one-and-done in the postseason. There needs to be an immediate turnaround that proves the Bengals are able to do more than just bake the cake. Now, it’s about the icing (playoff win).
At this point, it may take even more than a single win in the playoffs. The mediocre play under pressure has been going on too long. The 2017 campaign has to be the beginning of something special. When the year is over, hopefully, the Bengals will be in Minneapolis proving the doubters wrong.