Bengals vs Steelers: It’s not just another game on the schedule

epierce
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dre Kirkpatrick #27 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates his interception with Adam Jones #24 in the second quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dre Kirkpatrick #27 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates his interception with Adam Jones #24 in the second quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Steelers Week is in high gear around Cincinnati. Bengals fans understand how important this game truly is. But, it’s being played down.

Let’s face it. Few things get the attention that this time of year does. In fact, twice a year, Cincinnatians can say they have an annual Hate Fest that lasts all week. It’s the complete opposite of Woodstock and any love and peace event. Two times each season, Bengals fans are allowed to be the meanest, foulest beings on the planet. Playing the Steelers is…sort of a big deal.

In recent years, Marvin Lewis has taken to watering down the meaning of the battle. He’s instilled a mindset with his teams that sounds like a broken record. There seems to be a new mantra that’s getting more and more mouth time. It’s just another game. There isn’t anything special about Week 7. It’s all about execution and sound play.

Okay, that would be all good…if it weren’t the Pittsburgh Steelers on the schedule. Tangling with the Black and Gold tends to bring out the best and worst in players. Hey, even Big Ben was wise enough to notice what happens.

"“Seems like every time he plays us, something else comes out,” Ben Roethlisberger said, concerning Vontaze Burfict. “I don’t know if it’s the Black and Gold or what. We’ll have to see on Sunday.”"

Does that sound like…another game?

The Truth Of The Deal 

More from Bengals News

Honestly, there’s not a Bengals fan in the ‘Nati who has fond feelings for the Steelers. It’s not a situation that lends itself to partiality. You either hate them or you’re an outcast. How can there be so much disdain for a team? Like Lewis preaches, it’s…just another game. But, then there’s this little gem about the importance of staying focused.

"“It is. It’s really important. Just stay within ourselves and keep playing. For whatever reason, there’s an excitement that builds up for this game. We just have to stay within ourselves and play. We know it’s an important game for both teams.”"

So, is it a huge deal, nothing to worry about or what? Didn’t he just say…nevermind. This. Is. A. Big. Game. See what I did there? The periods denote emphasis and dramatic pause. If I were an actor, each time I uttered the phrase, “Just another game,” the director would yell, “Cut! You’re an idiot.”

Families have been torn apart by this yearly clash of AFC North rivals. Heated debates about how much better each team is than the other. Bengals fans have to put up with the same nonsense about Super Bowl rings and watching them twirl those mustard-yellow towels in the air. Yes, it’s frustrating. But, it is what it is.

Obviously, it’s not an ordinary game. Lewis is 6-8 when the Bengals venture into Pennsylvania.

Let’s Be Honest

Outside of the obnoxious nature of most Steelers fans, Bengals faithful understand the hoopla. They are an organization that wins. The Stilluhs have successfully acquired the hardware the Bengals are still seeking. They have a collection of Lombardi trophies to stare at.

Any football purist will appreciate the fact they’ve done what it takes to get Silver. There are questionable calls, blown decisions and head-scratching moments in all Bengals-Steelers games. But, they all seem to go in favor of the guys from Pitt.

Next: Remembering The Carson Trade

Truthfully, most of the disdain comes from losing. If the wins and losses were a bit more even, the anger wouldn’t be as deep (maybe…we talkin’ ‘bout Pittsburgh). Essentially, the bitterness won’t end until there’s a couple of Super Bowl trophies at Paul Brown Stadium. Until then, it’s not just another game. It’s a statement.

facebooktwitterreddit