Sunday afternoon, I sat in Paul Brown Stadium listening to my fellow Cincinnati Bengals fans booing their own team after Zac Taylor decided to kick a field goal instead of being more aggressive in the red zone.
Booing your own team under this scenario is a pretty common way for fans to express their desire for the team to be more aggressive. Some probably hope that it will influence the coach’s decisions and encourage him to be more aggressive later on in the game. For others, it is just good to get frustration out.
Later on, the Bengals would be faced with another fourth and short, giving Zac Taylor the opportunity to go for it rather than take the conservative route again. Given the crowd’s negative reaction earlier in the game, it was no surprise that cheers erupted when the fans realized the team was going to attempt to convert the fourth down.
Unfortunately, this resulted in an almost comically ill-fated dive from Andy Dalton leading to him being held up in the air for several seconds, then unceremoniously dropped on his back.
Of course, the attempted conversion failed. What happened next was predictable, but a little confusing. Bengals fans began to boo their own players off the field. It was louder then the earlier protests for settling for a field goal, and nearly twice as loud as the cheers just moments ago when the Bengals revealed they were going for it on fourth down.
Is it fair to protest the decision to play conservatively, then turn against the team if they fail while playing aggressive?
Now, If you paid for a ticket and showed up in the stadium, then you are entitled to express your opinions however you see fit … Within reason. I even find it admirable when fans express their displeasure in unique and creative ways. If you are willing to create a ten foot banner, or go sit through a football game with a bag on your head while fully decked out in Bengals gear, your commitment to the team and the message that you are trying to get across should be respected.
With that said, despite being frustrated and disappointed like many Bengals fans, I will not be booing this season. Here is why.
It’s About Us
As a fan, do you consider yourself one of “us”? There is no right or wrong answer. The first time I heard the Bengals internal slogan, I considered myself, a Bengals fan, to be a part of the “us”.
In 2018, the Cincinnati Bengals were full of holes that were not likely to be fixed during one offseason. Still, we as a united Bengals community should be focused on us. This means ignoring the external voices that insist that the Bengals will never succeed because they never have in the past. Those external voices are the same type of individuals who told Orville and Wilbur Wright that they should give up attempting to do something that no one had ever done.
History is not on the side of every player who steps onto the field wearing orange and black stripes. Much like the Wright brothers attempting to achieve manned flight, every Bengals player is attempting to help do something that has never been done before. They are trying to win the city of Cincinnati an NFL championship.
So, you will not find me the booing this team, the players, or the coaches as they repeatedly crash over and over again. Sure, we fans may be frustrated watching them fail repeatedly, but imagine how frustrating it must be for them.
Despite being extremely well compensated, they are the ones whose bodies are battered and bruised week after week. They are the ones whose brains are riddled with stress trying to figure out how to do something that no one has accomplished before.
Unfortunately, All fans can do is sit around waiting for them to figure it out. Then, rejoice knowing that we witnessed the beginning of something special.
The team’s “It’s about us” slogan foreshadowed a difficult season focusing on internal growth while ignoring external criticism. It was a well chosen slogan.
Where do you fall on booing the home team? Feel free to leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing what your opinion is on this topic. Who Dey!