Is it possible to have a “12th Man” if you are the visiting team in a playoff game? It would appear that fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have answered emphatically “yes” to that.
For spectators watching at home, we were treated to the perfunctory visuals of Bengals fans throughout the stadium in Buffalo. However, the sounds emitting from televisions around the world were piercing.
When teams battle all year for playoff seeding and home-field advantage, it must be somewhat disorientating for a home team and home crowd to be shouted down by the visiting team’s fans. At least, that is what the television feed made it sound like.
On Cincinnati’s second drive, on what was a seemingly normal play with 8:50 left in the first quarter, Tee Higgins caught a pass from Joe Burrow for six yards. What was not expected were the cascades of “Teeeeee” raining down as clear as the snowfall.
Later, after the touchdown that put the Bengals up 13-0, while waiting for the extra point, the “Who Dey” chants were louder than anything the Bills fans could come up with pretty much all afternoon.
For the spectators at home, we do not know how it sounded from within Highmark Stadium stadium, but we know it was very loud. Hearing such a rambunctious crowd cheering so enthusiastically for the away team could not have been fun for the Bills to hear.
As Bengals fans who were used to being overrun by Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the not-so-distant past, we know it was indeed an unpleasant feeling for the Buffalo fans and players.
Of course, at the end of the game, Bengals fans made their voices heard loudly and proudly once again with choruses of "Who Deys" as Burrow took a knee to run out the clock.
Something else to remember was the angst over where this game should be played. After the avoided “coin flip” fiasco, some felt it would be fairer to play a Bengals-Bills divisional game at a neutral site. Seemingly in the same way the team took care of business against Baltimore rendering a coin flip a moot point, Bengals fans rendered a home game for the Bills futile.
So for all the fans of the Cincinnati Bengals who made the trip up to Buffalo, we saw you, we heard you, and your presence was felt by Bengals fans around the world. And by the players as well.
It will be a tall task for any fanbase to make that happen in Kansas City the way the Bengals’ did in Buffalo. But if there is one fanbase that appears to be up for such a challenge, it is the one from Cincinnati.
We love the Bengals 3,000. Who Dey?!