When you become a fan of a team, you sign into an agreement. I'm talking about the type of fans who live and breath their favorite teams. You sign on and hold on tight for the ride. You know it's going to be full of ups and downs, there will be tears, there will be anger, frustration, unbridled joy, pride, basically the emotional human experience. It's generally this roller coaster that locks you in. It's a drug that you're constantly waiting for to kick in, because you know the high can be unimaginably good. You just have to deal with some bad trips and depending who you root for, maybe a lot of bad trips.
This agreement also coincides with a trust. That's a huge part of rooting for your team, trust. Like in any relationship, trust is the foundation.
Cincinnati has had a resurgence at the quarterback position. Andy Dalton has been a revelation for the undefeated squad. Boasting impressive numbers around the board and striking fear on every step back this season. With all the cogs in the machine healthy and doing what they're supposed to do, it's really been Dalton who has driven this recent success.
"The quarterback gets all the credit for wins and all the credit for the losses."
We've heard this phrase countless times. It's the phrase that is tied to arguably the most difficult job in sports. So, in the wake of a perfect start, Dalton has been on cloud nine. Collecting gratitude wherever he goes and deservedly so. It really has been Dalton as the wild card, performing when he needs to.
So when Dalton ends up with a sub-par outing, sporting a couple of interceptions and a meager 64.7 quarterback rating, as he did against the Steelers, then the world who for so long loved to hate on the red headed chucker, has a quick reason to revert to their old ways. But the deed was done and the Bengals won, so the scrutiny would seem to be minimal.
But what happens when a game similar (or worse) happens again and it costs the Bengals a win? Sports are a very, "what have you done for me lately?" medium and no one knows this better than Dalton. While his overall work through the first half of the season won't be tarnished, his future will be very much up in the air for the authorities looking to pounce. Speculation in sports reporting is the meat and potatoes of the industry. Everyone is looking for answers and you are guilty until proven innocent, yes, Andy Dalton knows this all too well.
The truth is, everyone stumbles. Everyone will fall down. Mistakes will be made and games lost; but what we're all looking for is consistency. We're looking for a leader and someone who can handle the pressure. Rightfully or unrightfully Andy Dalton was criticized in his leadership characteristics in the past. But all signs this season point to something new; something is clicking for the signal caller. We're seeing a leader on the field. I can tell in my own disposition while watching games, I have a new confidence in Andy; there is a trust that is growing. With each performance, he's finding a way to win; he's finding a way to drive, to be where he needs to be. Like any relationship in life, trust is key and there is a trust blooming right now.
Good game or bad.