At least boos directed at Kordell Stewart back in the day were reserved for football games only.
It's clear that Bengals fans have almost reached their tipping points with their quarterback and their team after three consecutive seasons of first round postseason exists.This kind of negativity is never good for a young quarterback, and it's something teams like the Steelers could surely take advantage of when they take on the Bengals in Cincinnati this season.
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How good has Dalton been in Cincinnati though his first four seasons depends on who you ask and what their bias is towards Dalton. One can successfully swing the question either way to support your opinion, as Dalton has experienced both good and bad though his first four years in the league.
Dalton's a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has gone 40-23-1 as a starter and has helped lead the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his four seasons as starter. He's thrown for nearly 15,000 yards while tossing 99 touchdowns to 66 interceptions with a career completion percentage of 61.6 percent. His best statistical season came in 2013, when Dalton threw for 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns while leading Cincinnati to an 11-5 record and the AFC North division title.
Dalton's enjoyed a good career thus far, you'll find few objections to that statement, but, as his detractors will tell you, he's seldom great when it matters most.
The Bengals are 0-4 in the playoffs in the Dalton era, with the first two losses taking place in Houston against superior Texans teams. Dalton and the rest of his teammates played poorly a year later in the Wild Card round against a visiting Chargers team that barely squeezed into the post season. If it weren't for these three previous post season woes, the Bengals may have been forgiven for their most recent playoff loss, a double-digit defeat at the hands of the Colts in Indianapolis. Handcuffed by the loss of their top-two running backs and Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green to injuries, Dalton and the Bengals fell short against a vastly superior Indianapolis squad that would reach the AFC title game two weeks later.
Unfortunately for Dalton and his teammates, Bengals fans only care about the bottom line now. They don't want to hear about injuries, they want the franchise's first playoff win since the 1990 season. That quarter century of losing has taken it's toll on Cincinnati fans, who will now turn on their team quicker than ever. If they're booing their quarterback in a celebrity softball game in the dead heat of summer, imagine how they'll react when Dalton faces his first taste of adversity in Cincinnati's first home game against San Diego in Week 2.
All this negativity around the Bengals could be sweet music for the Steelers, who have won three straight games against the Bengals dating back to 2013. The Bengals have a tough slate of games to start the 2015 season that includes road games in Baltimore and Buffalo and home matchups against the Chargers, Chiefs and Seahawks. If the Bengals stagger to a 2-4 start, pressure will certainly be swarming around them heading into their Week 8 showdown in Pittsburgh. Hopefully, the Steelers, who are 6-2 against Dalton, can take advantage of the Bengals weakened state while giving their fans even more reason to turn on them.
Vocally turning on your young quarterback is never the way to go. It almost crushed a young Terry Bradshaw, who in the years since then has openly talked about how painful his first five seasons in Pittsburgh were. It did crush Stewart, who lost his starting job several times before losing it for good in 2002. Dalton is at a crossroads now, where only postseason victories will get the fans off his back. Dalton will also have to beat the Steelers more often, something that's even more daunting when you have the home crowd just waiting to pounce on your every mistake. Hopefully, the Steelers take advantage of this when they play Cincinnati this fall, while giving the Bengals all the opportunities they want to boo at their team.