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Tuesday Trenches: Feelings and facts

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By: Jason Garrison

Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

If I’ve learned anything from 40 years of being my own worst enemy, it’s that the two things are very different and hard to separate.

When our ancestors heard rustling in a nearby bush, they either approached the situation with caution or acted like a typical sorority girl in a slasher (“What was that noise? Let’s go look!”). The latter was sometimes killed by whatever was in the bush, and the cautious survived, passing the trait of being a big wuss down through generations. So it’s not my fault I’m afraid of spiders, you see.

Anyway, that has had unintended evolutionary consequences. We’re hardwired to react negatively to anything relatively new. That’s why bad news sells, and the thing we fear the most is the unknown and unknowable.

It has also made it so we sometimes can’t see the forest through the trees, making things seem so much worse than they are.

Now, there are a lot of differences between different Bengals fans (I AM NOT GATEKEEPING…… ALL ARE WELCOME!!!!). Some younger fans, like my kids, don’t know much before Joe Burrow. There are others who came along during the Carson Palmer or Andy Dalton eras, and there are those who signed up just in time to suffer through the lost decade of the ‘90s. There are even those who were there to witness how good Greg Cook could have been.

We’re all affected differently. Some of the older fans are getting impatient, and I get that. I’m getting impatient myself. I want to see the Cincinnati Bengals on top of the mountain before I go under the mountain. I can feel the time now, and while I’m not “old,” for the first time I can feel the age on me.

My feelings about what will and won’t happen with the Bengals have largely been influenced by my experience as a fan. My experience has shown me the Bengals can certainly go down to the bottom, but the best they can do is to be doomed to spend eternity on Camp 4 of Mount Everest, the last stop before the summit.

I imagine that’s how a lot of Bengals fans feel, from any age group. The only thing that changes is the degree of scar tissue that has built up over the years. My kids are 11 and 8, and they have the scars of the Super Bowl loss. I have that scar, as well as several others. Many more have scars on top of scars on top of scars.

But, there are facts that cannot be disputed that would step into the ring to challenge our feelings and scars.

Just some are:

  • The Bengals are the only team in the AFC to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in the Playoffs.
  • The only two quarterbacks to beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs are Joe Burrow and Tom Brady.
  • Ja’Marr Chase is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
  • Tee Higgins is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
  • Joe Burrow is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
  • Trey Hendrickson is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
  • Mike Hilton is one of the best in-the-box corners in the NFL.
  • The Bengals have had more postseason success in the Joe Burrow era than ever before.
  • The Bengals still have Lou Anarumo, one of the league’s highest-rated defensive coordinators.
  • says the Bengals are among the five teams with the best odds to win the Super Bowl in 2024.

Those are all facts. Yes, I know one of them doesn’t say, “The Bengals have won a Super Bowl,” but there are fans who would kill to say the above 10 facts described their team

We’re pretty spoiled right now. While the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns made the playoffs last year, they didn’t make any noise. While the Chiefs won another Super Bowl, they didn’t have to play the Bengals in the playoffs. While the Bengals haven’t won a Super Bowl, take a look at the teams below who also haven’t, and then tell me if you want to trade places with their fans.

  • Bills
  • Panthers
  • Vikings
  • Titans
  • Falcons
  • Cardinals
  • Lions
  • Browns
  • Chargers
  • Texans
  • Jaguars

Would you rather be a fan of any of those teams? We have a lot in common with the Bills, but that’s about it.

Don’t let your feelings guide your brain. Remember the facts, and you’ll be a happier Bengals fan.

We have a lot to celebrate, and I have a feeling we’re going to be looking back at the 2020s as the glory days of the Bengals.

Relevant Song Lyrics:

Glory days, we’ll they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days

Originally posted on Cincy Jungle – All Posts