When the Bengals and Steelers face off on Monday night, there will be a lot more than primetime pride on the line.
In a perfect world (or picture perfect Monday night), the Cincinnati Bengals would beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. There would be a mob of fans scrambling onto the Paul Brown Stadium turf and mass chaos would be the order of the evening. Shouts of “Who Dey” and fans refusing the stadium should blanket media coverage. But, as mentioned earlier, that’s in an ideal setup. Realistically, most Bengals fans are looking for the same results. Yet, if it happens, there must be changes.
How does an entire city get to this point? Why are Bengals faithful on the fence when it comes to their team beating those goons from the Northeast? It’s quite simple, actually. Andy Dalton is 3-10 against the Steelers and Marvelous Marvin Lewis is 8-21 during his Cincinnati reign. There’s a glaring connection most fans are fed up with. The losing culture associated with this rivalry has made Bengals fans stir crazy.
So, when those pessimistic wisecracks dominate social media…who can blame them? For guys like me, it’s easy to look at the situation and go…meh. Looking at the matchup both ways can be intriguing. There are reasons the Bengals should win their Monday Night Football matchup with the Steelers. On paper, Cincinnati has the talent to pull off the upset. But, there are also reasons to sigh and invite the typical results to take control of your psyche.
It’s getting old
Since beating the Steelers at Heinz Field in Week 7 of 2015, the Bengals have lost five straight to their division rival. Saying it’s an all-out rivalry has almost lost the luster it once had. The only thing that keeps this matchup interesting each year is the drama. The verbal battles on Twitter can sometimes be funny. But, it would be more satisfying to see the Bengals put together a string of dominating wins against Steelers. Unfortunately, with the current franchise, fans will be subjected to the same subpar results.
Lewis and Mike Brown have become the bumbling coach and owner duo that tear franchises apart. The decisions that have been made are coming back to haunt the Bengals in more ways than keeping Lewis as head coach.
When there were zero moves made at the NFL trade deadline, it was evident this team was going in the same direction as before. Nowhere, fast. To be playing such a meaningful game in November is truly a surprise. But, that doesn’t mean the Bengals will come out focused. Sorry, that’s the Mikey Boy brainwashing speaking. Like so many others. I’ve become more inclined to believe the Bengals will come out flat. After all, it’s a huge game. You know, one of those must-win gigs that define the character of a team. Honestly, the same results are getting too predictable.
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If the Bengals should get their heads pounded in by the Steelers, Brown should have the courage to do the right thing. Okay, I get it. Lewis is a nice guy and has done some terrific things for the franchise. But, everything must change (see George Benson).
In the event of a Steelers victory, Marvin Lewis should be escorted from the premises immediately. He should have no contact with the players and his belongings should be shipped to him in a cardboard box. Okay, splurge Mike. Use two boxes if necessary. At this point, fans are about as connected to Lewis as they were Butch Jones and Brian Kelly. He turned things around, but it’s not enough. The aforementioned UC coaches did wondrous things also. But, they were still jerks. Time to go.
This is it
Speaking of the coaching staff (ahem), they can be shipped out of Cincy too. Tragically, Brown is too cheap and unwilling to yield his control and power. That means Bill Lazor and Paul Guenther will be retained for consideration as the next HC. Sad.
To be honest, I’m sure every coach in the Bengals organization is a “swell” guy. But, a loss to the Steelers on MNF is inexcusable. Lewis has already explained the magnitude of this game.
"“Obviously, with Monday Night Football and what the game means to us, we have to keep pushing forward. And the only way to keep pushing forward is to come up with the ‘W’ on Monday night. It’s very important, it keeps us on track. It’s a ‘control our own destiny’ kind of thing. We know the importance of it. We have to have a great week of preparation, and then exhibit it and play well on Monday evening.”"
No more excuses. It’s time to pay the piper with a decisive win. Anything less deserves serious consequences. But, does Brown have the guts to do it? There have been too many embarrassing moments from Lewis and Co. on Monday night and other big games.