Selling out Sunday's game was great. Of course, it wasn't really a sellout in the traditional sense. Over 4,000 fans didn't swamp the ticket window for the season opener against the Denver Broncos. Several area companies had to ride in and supplement where fans couldn't, for one reason (economy) or another (boycott). After much of the reported improvements in personnel this year, along with a good draft, expectations increased over the offseason from a team that finished 4-11-1 last year. Is this typical Bengals fan optimism where our excitement reaches its peak in August, or is there a reason to be optimistic? Was this one of the best offseasons during the Marvin Lewis era, or are Bengals fans like me simply reverting back to our annual expectation that "this team will be better than last year"? We could be worse? Either way, I believe that if the Bengals beat the Broncos convincingly and play the Pittsburgh Steelers competitively, there's a chance that Cincinnati starts out 3-2 at the very least, heading into their third home game of the year; both losses against the two AFC Championship game teams, Steelers and Ravens). If that's the case, then will the Bengals fans respond, making our storyline of home sellouts a one-time thing? If they start 0-5, then the Bengals won't sell out another game.
While the Bengals players and coaches and front office personnel are reminding us the benefit a packed house gives a football team a bit of an edge to beat opponents, they have to know that their season will depend on the first month of the season. They have to earn the Bengals fan trust again; or else there's no way Bengals fans respond. They have to come out of the gate firing. They have to beat the team's that they're expected to beat and take the games that they may lose into the final possession. If the team, most of whom feel really good about this year, follows through, then the Bengals fans will fall in step and do our part.
WDR responds to the "sellout", by writing, "If anything this helps our cause, as we don't expect the three hour commercial that Krogers and WKRC just purchased to be particularly enticing, given who the director was (and continues to be)." We're surprised that a boycott wasn't called against Kroger and Channel 12, and by extension charities and the military for accepting the tickets. But in truth, when the Bengals play on television, they dominate the ratings at that time slot. And Kroger makes sense also. Now fans can gather, grill out, drink beer, and cheer on the Bengals, whereas before, they would be less likely to do so. But I highly doubt either company does this a second time.
One Man Crimewave was prevented from ranting about fan loyalty and passion when the team announced that there would be a sellout Sunday, instead saying that WDR got the best of both worlds; "sorta" accomplishing their goal while being able to watch the game.
We'll avoid having to talk about a sellout during the second home game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers; it's already sold out. Sadly, the house could be filled with as many Steelers fans as Bengals fans.
Even though they made the Super Bowl last year, the Arizona Cardinals narrowly avoided being blacked out in their own market.