There was a time when each one of us experienced that thrill trickling down our collective legs when the Bengals qualified for the postseason. It started in '05 when the Bengals wiped out a 15-year streak since their last postseason. Fifteen years! Yet, Carson Palmer's knee was destroyed and Chad Johnson picked a fight at half time.
Cincinnati went on another four-year hiatus, eventually translating a 4-11-1 team in '08 to a team that shockingly swept the AFC North and claiming another postseason berth. Following a disappointing four-win season '10, everything changed for when the team posted consecutive postseason appearances in '11 and '12.
But change also translated to something greater. Three of the last four years in the playoffs has shifted satisfaction in the postseason requiring higher expectations. And that's not just from fans. The players have the same attitude.
"Guys are not going to be satisfied just getting to the playoffs anymore," receiver Andrew Hawkins told the Associated Press. "Now that we've been there a couple of years and our core guys have been together for three years, you see guys all focused toward that. There's a little better atmosphere for it."
The perceived window is a term for a time-frame in which a team has a chance to win the Super Bowl. The beautiful thing is that Cincinnati's window is wide open and who knows for how long.