Growing up in Cincinnati, I loved my Bengals and Reds above all else. As a kid though, you often look to Pops to find your way in the confusing world of sports fandom. Luckily, my Dad instilled the notion that even though you have favorite teams, you should still be able to acknowledge and appreciate greatness in athletes of other teams. One such athlete is still one of my favorite players of all time....Bo Jackson. Vincent "Bo" Jackson if you want to get technical.
I collected a lot of posters, trading cards and generally anything Bo Jackson related that I could get my grubby little hands on. My favorite one, and my current smartphone background is the Bo Jackson Black and Blue
He excelled at 2 of my favorite sports, and did so in a fashion that even young children would instantly recognize him as a once in a lifetime talent. "Why is he so much better than everyone else Dad?" "God given talent son, pay close attention, men like him don't come along very often" . He was respected and feared by opponents and fans all over America and if given a healthy career, would have almost certainly re-written the record books in the NFL and MLB. He was also the best video game athlete of all time "Tecmo Bo" 1989 was completely unstoppable if you figured out the zig-zag maneuver.
Fast forward to January 13th 1991. Divisional Playoff round where Bo Jackson's career and the Fate of a City would be changed for 23 years and counting. I'm not the best writer, so I've included the below excerpt from Wikipedia
"During the divisional round of the 1990 NFL playoffs in January 1991, Jackson was tackled by Kevin Walker of the Cincinnati Bengals, causing a serious hip injury that ended Jackson's football career and seriously threatened his baseball career. After Jackson was tackled and lying in pain on the ground, he allegedly popped his hip back into place. In an interview on Untold, his Royals teammate George Brett, who attended the game, said he asked the trainer what had happened to Bo. The trainer replied: "Bo says he felt his hip come out of the socket, so he popped it back in, but that's just impossible, no one's that strong."
Following surgery and rehabilitation on his injured hip, it was discovered that Jackson had avascular necrosis, as a result of decreased blood supply to the head of his left femur. This caused deterioration of the femoral head, ultimately requiring that the hip be replaced. Amazingly, Jackson was able to return to baseball toward the end of the 1991 season as a member of the White Sox after the Royals had released him. Jackson missed the entire 1992 baseball season. When he announced soon after his surgery that he would play baseball again, many thought that goal to be unrealistic, especially at the Major League level.
Before returning to baseball, Jackson tried his luck in basketball; he played briefly for a semi-pro team in Los Angeles before quietly retiring to focus on baseball.
Jackson was able to return to the Chicago White Sox in 1993, and in his first at-bat, against the New York Yankees, he hit a home run with his first swing.The next day Nike ran a full-page ad in USA Today; it simply read "Bo Knew." He would hit 16 home runs and 45 RBIs that season, helping lead the White Sox to the American League West Division crown. Jackson was honored with the Tony Conigliaro Award.
Yet while his power remained, he no longer possessed his blazing speed. During his time with the White Sox, Jackson had no stolen bases, although he did play in his only career postseason games. For the 1994 season, he was signed as a free agent by the California Angels for one final season, where he hit another 13 home runs in 201 at bats, before retiring during the strike."
It's been said that during the tackle, Walter's momentum landed/pinned down Bo's ankle as he was still running & trying to break the tackle, the cleat got stuck in the turf under Walter but due to Bo's superhuman strength; his momentum and power literally ripped his hip out of socket.... (watch the ESPN 30 on 30 about Bo for those details)
Yes, 1991 was also the year Mike Brown took over from the legendary God Father of Football Paul Brown...but has Mikey's ineptitude been his own doing OR a product of the Curse of Bo Jackson?!?! The Bengals were a good team in the years leading up to the freak injury, going to and losing the SuperBowl just 2 years earlier.That's important to note, because immediately following the Bo Injury, we spiraled out of control. Fast.
The Bengals lost that day 20-10 and didn't even sniff the playoffs for 15 years (2005). From that day forward, the Bengals have not won 1 single playoff game, and it marked the beginning of one of the most unsuccessful runs by an Owner in NFL history. Mike Brown became the fastest owner to 200 losses, and the slowest owner to 100 wins. Under Mikey we are also the only team with three 9 game or more losing streaks. We hold 6 of the 25 0-6 starts and 4 of the 13 0-8 starts.
Cursed indeed my friends.
To me, 2013 feels like the year the curse ends.
From after that day in 1991 to present day, we've been to the playoffs 4 times (5 counting this year) all under the same head coach. That head coach has brought us the ONLY winning seasons during that stretch. That same head coach has been given the opportunity to raise this franchise up out of the ashes 2 seperate times (Palmer Era/ Dalton Era). That same head coach who's been the only man on planet earth to win Mike Brown's trust and influence his decisions. That same head coach who won a Super Bowl and orchestrated arguably one of the top 2 defenses of all time (and for a Division rival I might add) That same head coach who then left sed Rival for a chance to coach in the Jungle. That same head coach who has NOT given up on our City, our Team, or most importantly our Fans.
Say what you will about Marvin Lewis, whether you like him or not; the man deserves our support RIGHT NOW more than ever. The players deserve to see every seat filled Sunday and deserve to have the Jungle rocking to epic proportions. This is the first time since the SuperbBowl years we've had Top 10 Offense & Defense (10th and 3rd respectively). We've got the Chargers in Cincinnati , during the playoffs again....Freezer Bowl anyone? Dalton has wiped the record books clean of the 2 most impressive QB stats in Bengals history this year. There are too many signs pointing towards something happening this year guys... I honestly think this is the year we break the Curse of Bo Jackson but we can't do it by allowing this game to get blacked out in the local market. I'll be traveling from out of state to attend the game, and I urge all of you with the financial means (local or out of market) to PLEASE buy tickets and get decked out in your Bengals best. Go to the Jungle and root your boys on to victory while helping to break this damn curse!
(sorry for being so long winded and rambling at times, I'm get all jacked up thinking about this game Sunday)