The Bengals are rumored to be working out a deal with free agent linebacker James Harrison, which they reportedly hope to finalize on Monday. According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that move could make the Bengals and Steelers games this season much more "network attractive."
I think Cincinnati-Pittsburgh games next season all of a sudden got more network-attractive, assuming the Bengals and James Harrison get their deal done today. Harrison trying to sack Ben Roethlisberger (and Harrison will be revved up in a big way for those games, having been cap-purged by the Steelers) will be eight must-see quarters.
Harrison has been a linchpin on the stout Steelers defense for the last 10 years and his vicious hits, his outspokenness and his reputation as one of the league's dirtiest players have make him famous. Since the Steelers and Bengals share a mutual hatred for each other, seeing a player like Harrison in Bengals stripes would be weird for many.
However, it wouldn't ba hard to see why the Bengals signing Harrison would make the Bengals-Steelers games more interesting and worthy of a primetime slot. The two teams have consistently battled for a playoff spot over the last two years and watching Harrison go after Ben Roethlisberger the same way he went after other quarterbacks would be fun to watch.
Players always seem to go all out when playing their former teams. Cedric Benson had a career day against the Bears when he was the Bengals running back in 2009, carrying the ball for 189 yards and a touchdown. He was obviously fired up to play against the team that he felt didn't value him enough to keep him around. The same could go for Harrison. He is known as a pass rusher and has made some huge hits on quarterbacks in his time in the league. If he signs with the Bengals, he could be a force against the Steelers that, when paired with the rest of the team's talented pass rushers, gives the Bengals an edge.
Everybody loves a little revenge hit in football. Watching Harrison hit Steelers players would just be fun.