One of the telltale signs of a rivalry is in both sides' inability to let go of past transgressions, while letting it add fuel to the so-called fire. In the NFL world, now that Peyton Manning has officially retired to end the rivalry between he and Tom Brady, the next fun rivalry grabbing the nation's attention very well could be between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
While the animosity can be traced back to the days of Ken Anderson and maybe even before then, things have really heated up in the Marvin Lewis era. Incidents ranging from Carson Palmer's knee injury more a decade ago, to the most recent Bengals implosion on the national stage in the Wild Card match against Pittsburgh are chapters in the saga. The recently-conceived FC Cincinnati soccer club has made it known they are supporting the Bengals and many Bengals have returned the favor attending their games.
Now, FC Cincinnati is nominating a few members of the Bengals as honorary captains in an upcoming match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Both Pittsburgh and FC Cincinnati are part of the U.S. amateur soccer division known as the United Soccer League, and the rivalry from both cities' "other type of football" is bleeding onto the pitch. The captain group consists of Vontaze Burfict, Adam Jones, Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, Kevin Huber, Domata Peko and Dre Kirkpatrick. It's part of an "Orange Out" promotion the team is pumping for the upcoming match.
"Cincinnati and Pittsburgh is probably one of the nastiest rivalries in football," Peko, the longtime Bengal said via a news release from the club. "Whenever we play Pittsburgh, everyone wants us to beat them. That's how I feel when it comes to soccer. Hopefully we can get this big win."
Peko has proven to be one of FC Cincinnati's biggest supporters since the start of the team's inaugural season this spring. He has attended many of the games and frequently Tweets his support for the club.
Issues aside, you want Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones on your team
The two star-crossed Bengals have made a name for themselves as talented football players with powder keg personalities. They have rightfully caught heat for the team's Wild Card loss, but they are still players you want on your team despite their baggage.
Burfict has to be one of the players Steelers fans hate most. A clean tackle on Le'Veon Bell in the first of three 2015-2016 season contests ended the Pro Bowl back's campaign. And, while Jones and Burfict were crucial in Cincinnati's comeback in the fourth quarter of the Wild Card, both were also responsible for embarrassing incidents at the end of the game. The elements were both in and out of their control, but it nevertheless cemented the Steelers' conversion of a last-second field goal to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
FC Cincinnati is fielding a team for the first time in 2016, and while attendance has been solid, the team's P.R. department definitely wants to fill Nippert Stadium for the upcoming match. They are using the rivalry as a platform to do so when the match kicks off at 4 p.m. ET (while also being broadcast on Local 12).
The Riverhounds have come under some scrutiny lately because of an unbelievable on-field action from a player of theirs, Romeo Parkes. The team terminated his contract after the incident.
US soccer team, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, have fired Romeo Parkes after he intentionally kicked Karl Ouimette.pic.twitter.com/xL7hIPoQTi— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) May 9, 2016