Being a Bengals fan in New York, there aren’t too many opportunities to attend games, unless you’re going to travel. So for the last three years (since I realized what was ahead), I’ve been anxiously waiting for 2016, the year in which the Bengals play the Jets and Giants in New York! When the schedule came out back in April I was even more excited to see the Jets first up in Week 1.
So I got my tickets, found an awesome Bengals tailgate that was being planned and arrived at 10 a.m. on the first train available out of Manhattan, ready for gameday!
The day got off to a great start as about 100 Bengals fans gathered for a tailgate. It was awesome meeting some Cincy Jungle readers and so many Bengals fans from New York! We’re not a big group, but we’re definitely a proud group. We ate, drank, played some games and enjoyed the festivities of Week 1 of the NFL season. Is there any more exciting time of the year?
Nearly as soon as we headed inside (and right after we saw Geno Atkins’ wife walking around the stadium) Jets fans were ready to let us know about how the Bengals were “trash”, that Andy Dalton “is a redhead” (thank you, captain obvious) and that the Bengals were going to lose. I wouldn’t expect much less, but that was just the beginning.
The game got off to a memorable start with a dedication to the September 11th terrorist attacks which took place 15 years prior and the crowd was certainly pumped up. I don’t think the pre-game ceremony had much to do with it, more so that it was Week 1 of a new NFL season.
I’m pretty vocal at games, and love cheering for my team. Proof of that can be found in my voice which has been lost for the last three days... Please let me know if you find it! And, it’s safe to say, Jets fans like being the only loud fans at MetLife Stadium. Some of the words thrown the way of myself and those I was with included, “we’re going to bloody your face”, “Kirkpatrick? Where’d you get that $10 jersey? The clearance rack?” And, “sit down and shut up” after the Bengals scored and there was nothing for Jets fans to see and no need for us to sit down, nor shut up.
The last Bengals game I attended in Cincinnati was the 2014 tie with the Panthers. There were tons of Panthers fans in attendance and many in my section. I can attest to there being absolutely no threats or even mean words directed at those opposing fans. In fact, we were talking and joking around with a bunch of them prior to the game.
But, back to the Jets game. We saw numerous Bengals fans getting either kicked out, being forced to move seats or being spoken to by security, for no reason, other than Jets fans texting the security number to try to get rid of the Bengals fans in their section. There was a point in which security visited our area, but, with no reason to be there, they swiftly left.
We had water bottle caps thrown at us and adult women and men acting like they were children trying to torment us. But guess what, the Bengals won and we were never upset nor threatened for one minute. I enjoyed every moment of the game... Well, maybe with the exception of when the Jets got first downs and the stadium announcer says, “That’s another New York Jets…” and everyone in the crowd screams, “first down”. That was not enjoyable. At all. In fact, it could be used as a good form of torture.
For the record, there were some kind Jets fans. Numerous Jets supporters approached us to apologize for their fellow fans’ behavior and encourage us to not let it bother us... Still, on Sunday, the bad outweighed the good when it came to fans of the enemy.
But, when Josh Shaw grabbed his first career interception with 46 seconds remaining in the game, there was nothing that could have bothered us. The Bengals won, on the road, in a tough game that many thought they wouldn’t be able to claim. In reality, who would think the Bengals — or any team — would win after allowing their quarterback to be sacked seven times and for the total rushing yards on the day to be capped off at 57.
As Andy Dalton took a knee and secured the Bengals’ third straight season opening win, it felt great to be a Bengals fan. And it felt great to show all of those Jets fans who attempted to bring us down throughout the game who the better team was on Sunday.