The bitter Steelers fan will tell a jovial Bengals fan: "Enjoy it. We know it's your Super Bowl". And, you know what? They're right. The Cincinnati Bengals' victory on Sunday should show how much the win meant to "Bengals Nation".
In the 2005-2006 playoffs, Carson Palmer's once-promising career was cut short to an unfortunate injury. When Palmer made a miraculously quick comeback in the subsequent 2006 season, he brought the Bengals in position to make the postseason once again. Sitting at 8-5 and needing a lone victory, Palmer and Co. lost three straight and missed out on the playoffs that season, leaving Bengals fans heartbroken once again. Who beat the Bengals in Week 17 that season? Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers--in overtime.
When Marvin Lewis and his 4-5 Bengals head coaching record in Pittsburgh took Heinz Field on Sunday, it didn't look promising. The running game was pathetic and the offensive unit couldn't muster a touchdown as a group. It was the defense that kept them in the game, namely Geno Atkins. Sounds familiar? It should--Pittsburgh has used the same formula often.
But, the Bengals "out-Steelered" the Steelers, playing incredible defense and doing just enough on offense to solidify the victory. Kudos to the Steelers, as it was one of the craziest and most hard-fought games I've ever seen. It's safe to say that both teams wanted it equally, it was just that the Bengals were a smidgeon more resilient.
If I could sum up Bengals fans' emotions after they overcame a 30-year milestone, I'd leave it to Jim Carrey, circa, 1994.