As you may know, on Thursday the Bengals will play their first pre-season game of 2013.
For most of us, this is an opportunity to check out our backups and scrubs to see who might show a spark of potential and grow into a productive player. This isn't a game to watch Andy and AJ light it up or to see Geno shut it down-- it's a game to look for the next Gilberry, or god willing, the next Burfict. We don't care who wins, or how many points we score/allow, we just want to see progress and potential amongst players who are unlikely even to make the 53.
But for you, dear Freaker-Outers, Thursday is your first chance to declare that the sky is falling. This is your season opener for making mountains out of mole-hills and your first chance to practice overreacting after every single downturn. Since we can't win the Super Bowl in August, you will undoubtedly find reasons to proclaim that we can't possibly get there.
Prepare yourselves, pessimists. Someone will under-perform on Thursday. Several someones in fact. Andy may throw an interception or three, and the defense may allow an unthinkable amount of points. But it's all meaningless. We could lose by 12 touchdowns after 26 fumbles and 103 interceptions and it means nothing. This is the preseason; it doesn't count.
So instead of practicing your tantrums and wailing, I ask you to instead practice your restraint. Because, believe it or not, the rest of us don't enjoy spending every Sunday listening to you think of reasons why we suck. It isn't fun hearing you make the same debunked points over and over and over and over and over. We get it, you don't like
Bratkowski Benson Dalton. Good for you. The rest of us just want to watch the game. We may criticize the team, but it will be thoughtful and restrained and based on facts, not wild conclusions that we jumped through twelve hoops of fire to get to.
Because some of you seem to be a little dense, I will give you some examples:
-- I know AJ is double covered, but Gruden should really just take the risk and force him the ball; he's our best player and Gresh isn't catching the balls he's thrown.
-- GRUDEN SUCKS! I'VE SAID ALL SEASON HE SUCKS! WE NEED TO FIRE HIM RIGHT NOW, IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS GAME!!!! WE WILL NEVER WIN AS LONG AS GRUDEN IS THE OC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- Wow that was a brutal pick by Andy, he should not have thrown that ball. Sanu was wide open on the other side.
-- DALTON SUCKS! I'VE SAID ALL SEASON THAT HE SUCKS! WE NEED TO FIRE HIM RIGHT NOW, IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS GAME!!!! WE WILL NEVER WIN AS LONG AS DALTON IS THE QB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- The defense isn't tackling well. They really need to step up the effort.
-- THE DEFENSE SUCKS! I'VE SAID ALL SEASON THAT THEY SUCK! WE NEED TO FIRE ALL OF THEM RIGHT NOW, IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS GAME!!!! WE WILL NEVER WIN AS LONG AS THIS DEFENSE IS THE DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know, for some of you, the only enjoyment you seem to get on game day is from criticizing the Bengals. While I would hate to be you (or one of your children), I hope that you will at least respect the wishes of the rest of us who don't revel in losing games, and who don't see poor performances as a joyful moment to proclaim that we suck.
The rest of us like the Bengals. We root for them because we want them to win, not because we enjoy pointing out how prophetic we were to say they suck.
I am sure it takes great mental fortitude to remain so endlessly pessimistic, but no one else appreciates your efforts. So please, friends, for the sake of the rest of us-- keep it to yourself this year.
When there is a bad play or three, remember that there will also be good plays. When we lose a game, remember that we will also win games. The season will be judged by our record in January, not by one errant throw or one poor challenge. When we lose, I ask you to remember last year, when you collectively proclaimed the season over after we had lost to three bad teams in a row. You were wrong, dear pessimist, flat wrong. We went 10-6 and made the playoffs. The season always goes on.