3 reasons why the Cincinnati Bengals lost Super Bowl LVI

Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Suspect officiating (at best)

Yea, yea, I don’t wanna hear it. I know there is a large contingency that will say, “you can’t blame the refs”. Guess what? Sure I can, it’s my article.

Not only is it my article, but I also HAVE EYES! Yes, I am aware that if the Bengals take care of their business, they could’ve made it such that shady flags would have a limited effect on the game. Sadly it didn’t play out like that.

I also am aware that the Bengals were beneficiaries of a missed face mask on Tee Higgins’ long touchdown, though to be fair the Rams defensive end was across the line well before the snap with no call, so at worst it should’ve been a do-over.

Forgive my tin foil hat and conspiracy theory mentality for just a moment, but let’s look at this objectively.

For 38 minutes, the officials allowed both teams to play almost penalty-free. We saw missed calls on both sides of the ball, but generally, the refs let DB’s hold, were very forgiving with holding on both lines, and allowed the players to dictate the flow of the game.

So with two minutes left, when the home team, in their home stadium, in a market the NFL desperately wants is losing, the laundry starts falling from the sky.

Why let both teams play unfettered for 58 minutes, only to start calling ticky tacky, or in the case of the phantom Logan Wilson holding penalty, nonexistent penalties?

On the aforementioned Wilson flag, the Rams entire offensive line committed a false start. No call. That being a third-down play in the red zone, could’ve been a key penalty.

The officials have ONE GUY dedicated to watching the line for such things. How did that get missed? Sun in his eyes? Did the ref see John Candy? (Joe Montana Super Bowl reference from 1989).

Whatever the case the miss was egregious and costly.

On the Bengals’ final offensive snap, needing one yard, Aaron Donald lined up with his ENTIRE HEAD over the line of scrimmage. Kids, that’s offsides all day, errday.

Again there is an official dedicated to watching such things. What was he looking at? Did he see a squirrel? Did he see Tom Cruise? Was the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart on the sidelines with a metal chair? Get where I am going here?

That should’ve been an automatic first down and extended drive. I’m not saying it looked bad for the NFL, but I’m not saying it didn’t. I hate to think the officials are shady, so I just have to default to they are incompetent. Not sure which is worse.

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There you go! Rant over. It was an amazing season, and the feeling is we haven’t seen the last of this core bunch this deep in the playoffs. Let’s hope next time, the Lombardi can be located in the lobby of Paul Brown Stadium and I don’t have to yell at my dog again. (Just kidding).