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Bengals need to build rivalry with the Browns

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When we made light of the Browns, after becoming convinced that we were going to beat them, we did so in a mocking tone. Basically, I was a man given a laptop after a Bengals victory over the Cleveland Browns. In truth, the Bengals need a rivalry again. The base needs to get fired up. The Bengals need a counter-force, a villain of sorts. For a very brief moment, it was Sports Illustrated that coined "Nastiest Rivalry in Sports" with Caleb Miller blowing up Hines Ward on one of its covers. There was even a wiki-page. Palmer said he hated them more than hating UCLA. The Bengals stopped winning, the Steelers didn't. Rivalry dissolves.

A rivalry between the Bengals and Browns? Not at all. Maybe a few players (Bobbie Williams) wanted to go into Cleveland and smack them around a bit; but so few we heard anything about the rivalry while we wallowed in our what can we do to make this team better haze; Browns fans not exclusive to that feeling, by the way. Was it after Paul Brown died, thus going into our losing funk that we've revisited this season? I say yes.

A rivalry can only be a rivalry as long as it means something. In the end, I couldn't even come up with a reason. I brought up how the Bengals shutout the Browns, in two of the past three meetings in Cleveland. Nope. How about the game we knocked the Browns out of the 2007 playoffs (though not mathematically)? Not really.

However, Mary Kay Cabot might be trying to fire that base, headlining that Chinedum Ndukwe and Braylon Edwards could plant a rivalry between the two Ohio teams. After Edwards crack blocked (ala Hines Ward) the safety, Ndukwe tried to destroy Edwards, leaving his feet for a high impact hit, with the added bonus of making a defense play to prevent the Browns from gaining a first down. Then, after Leon Hall's third pick, Ndukwe was on the prowl, seeking and nailing Edwards on the interception return -- even though Edwards was no where near the play.

Winning football games is great, and the ultimate goal. But rivalry games are games that are remembered for a long time.