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How did you become a Cincinnati Bengals fan?

This is more for my personal curiousity than anything else, but I think it could also be a fun community activity to get to know each other. Comment away!

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Say what you will about Cincy Jungle, but I think it’s the best team blog in the SB Nation network (am I allowed to say that?) and the best Bengals blog on the Internet. I’ve felt this way long before I started writing for the site. “So what exactly makes this community so great?” you might ask. Well, I’m glad you did.

1. Cincy Jungle covers anything and everything related to the Bengals, from news to opinion-based blogs to Rebecca’s social media recaps. That’s not a shot at the mothership or other Bengals sites but rather a testament to how much hard work is done behind the scenes at Cincy Jungle to keep everyone in the loop.

2. The people I’m able to interact with on the site — fellow authors, as well as commenters and Twitter followers — are amazing. We have such a diverse audience, in terms of age, football knowledge, opinion, fandom and geographic location. I love being able to interact with so many people and having the opportunity to talk about a sport (and team) I love with so many people from all over the world. I learn something new every day from the people I’m able to interact with, and I love that aspect of what I do here.

3. The work done on this site means so much more than clicks. So many blogs churn out content as a way to simply generate revenue, but that’s not how Cincy Jungle operates. Everyone’s work, my work — it matters here. And as someone who aspires to write about sports for a living, that means a lot to me. In the past year, two Cincy Jungle staff members have been hired by NFL teams, several writers have landed interviews with members of the current Bengals roster and millions of fans have come to read the work published on the site. I could go on and on about how awesome the site is, but that’s not what this blog is about, so on to the next point.

I wrote a blog last month asking people to follow a few steps and enter their geographic location, which resulted in this beautiful map. As a follow-up, I’m writing a blog asking our audience one simple question: How did you become a Bengals fan?

My fandom began around 2006, when I looked for solace after being heartbroken from yet another Chargers (my hometown team) playoff loss despite a 14-2 season and the ensuing firing of Marty Schottenheimer, a coach I still believe should’ve had more time with what was, at the time, the NFL’s best roster.

My heart has since been broken several more times, but I still love the Bengals. The team originally sparked my interest with the jaw-dropping playmaking abilities of guys like Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh. That the Bengals boasted one of the NFL’s best young cornerback duos in Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall — who grew up about 15 minutes away from me — was icing on the cake. Entering my final semester of college, I’m still treated to an exciting team with Super Bowl-caliber talent five years after it drafted A.J. Green and Andy Dalton and made the playoffs with a 9-7 record in the rookies’ opening season.

I’m sure I’m missing a couple of details, but for the most part, that’s my Bengals story. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments, but now it’s your turn. Tell us how you became a fan!