I’ve been getting a lot of “Haha!”s lately thanks to the Bengals being ousted by the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
This is because I thought they were a neat story going into the playoffs. I thought the same thing last year when Cincinnati came up just short against the Rams in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Bengals were an interesting team in 2021/2022, but then again, so were the Rams, who entered the postseason as the fourth seed in the NFC. Los Angeles went all in before and during the 2021 regular season and really hit its stride once the playoffs began.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford was a great redemption story. Heck, so was Odell Beckham Jr., a diva receiver who managed to rehab his public image after being traded from the Browns and getting away from the supposedly very toxic Baker Mayfield.
And, of course, you had Pittsburgh’s own Aaron Donald, the modern-day Joe Greene.
I had a heck of a time watching Super Bowl XLVI without a clear rooting interest to attach my self-worth to.
Again, while I wanted to see the Bengals do well both this year and last, I didn’t go out and buy a Who Dey towel. I didn’t slide into the DMs of the very lovely Crying Bengals Lady and get all creepy. And, contrary to your incoherent emails, I didn’t cry into that Who Dey towel that I did not buy.
I just thought the Bengals were a fun team to follow.
The longer I write about football, the easier it becomes to simply be excited about a good NFL story.
I realize this is hard for you, the person who self-identifies so strongly as a Steelers fan that you can’t even fathom wanting to see any team from the AFC North do well—even if you are often a hypocrite with your silly “respect” for the Ravens. Screw the Ravens. Screw John Harbaugh. Any day is a good day when Baltimore doesn’t win the Super Bowl. If you ain’t a Ravens hater, you ain’t bleep!
That brings me to Super Bowl XLVII and an intriguing matchup between the Chiefs and Eagles next Sunday evening at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
I’ve seen a lot of Steelers fans say things like, “I can’t believe I have to root for the Eagles,” in the days since both teams advanced out of their respective conferences.
Truth be told, I’ve never had much of a problem with Philadelphia. I own the movie, Invincible. I grew up idolizing Dr. J. I own every Rocky movie, except V. I even thought the Phillies were pretty cool when I first got into baseball as a small child. Having said that, I do understand the cross-state rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It’s kind of like Los Angeles vs. San Francisco or Houston vs. Dallas. I get the intrastate thing so much that I, a person who doesn’t really follow hockey all that closely and couldn’t give a damn about the Penguins on most days, strongly hate the Flyers, a bunch of scumbags who haven’t won the Stanley Cup since before I was old enough to tie my own shoes.
Therefore, I can sympathize with your struggle to root for the Eagles. However, my question to you is this: Why do you hate the Chiefs so much that you feel compelled to cheer for a cross-state rival’s professional football team?
Are the Chiefs the new Patriots, a team that perhaps gets all the calls in the playoffs? If so, what did Kansas City have to do to earn that right? I remember not long ago when the NFL was favoring New England in postseason games involving the Patriots and Chiefs.
Is there another reason you hate the Chiefs? Is it Andy Reid? Is it Patrick Mahomes? Is it Patrick Mahomes’ wife? Is it Tyreek Hill? If so, he’s in Miami now. Is it Travis Kelce? If so, I can certainly understand that, but he’s just a tight end (no offense to them).
Maybe it’s simply the need to have a rooting interest in every game you watch. Perhaps it’s the desire to have an enemy in every game you watch.
But I would advise you to watch NFL games the way I do (at least, the way I do when they don’t involve the Patriots or Ravens—those pimples on the butt of life). Just watch for the love of the sport.
Believe me, the NFL is far more entertaining that way.