Last week, SB Nation went to Twitter (as many wise and thoughtful people do) and posted a question.
What is your favorite rivalry in sports?— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 13, 2018
As Bengals fans, we could easily say Bengals vs. Steelers is a particularly heated rivalry. We could also say Bengals vs. Browns is a fun in-state rivalry to watch, if for nothing else but the blooper reel.
But we decided to go with a less obvious answer.
Russell Bodine despised blocking so much that he wanted nothing to do with it. But you gotta give him credit, he stood his moral ground while his teammates around him like Clint Boling and Kevin Zeitler stood their physical ground.
Note: See also: Russell Bodine vs J.J. Watt.
There are many other rivalries that Bengals fans may not know about. But here at Cincy Jungle, we are here to keep fans in the know. So here is a list of other rivalries that are just as pertinent as any other in sports.
Tyler Eifert vs his musculoskeletal system
When Tyler Eifert is on the field, he is one of the best tight ends in football. However, his feud against his own body has taken its toll on his performance. Eifert is in constant battle against his neck, back, shoulder, elbow, knees, and ankles. His joints have won out for all of Eifert’s career and have kept him out of more games than he has played. His injuries probably cost him millions of dollars this offseason.
Eifert is going to have to pull off miracle if he is to finally score one against his joints.
Andy Dalton vs Primetime Andy Dalton vs Playoff Andy Dalton
One of the biggest gripes about Andy Dalton is that he just can’t shake one of his biggest rivals, Primetime Andy Dalton.
While Dalton is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league, Primetime Dalton is far worse. In games that start between 9:00 AM EST and 6:00 PM EST, Dalton has a winning percentage of .637, a completion percentage of 63.1, 7.4 yards per attempt, and a rating of 90.7.
His primetime counterpart, on the other hand, has a .385 winning percentage, a 59.0 completion percentage, 6.3 yards an attempt, and a 79.3 rating.
But both Dalton and Primetime Dalton have yet another rival that takes the cake every matchup: Playoff Andy Dalton.
Playoff Dalton has no wins in four games, a 57.7 completion percentage, 5.4 yards per attempt, one touchdown, six interceptions, and a rating of 55.2.
Dalton’s numbers are better than Primetime’s and Playoff’s, but Dalton doesn’t get to play in the games that matter. So the rivalry will continue on into the foreseeable future.
Marvin Lewis vs halftime adjustments
Marvin Lewis once said this of halftime adjustments: “That’s more journalism jargon than truth.”
In other words, Marvin doesn’t believe halftime adjustments exist. It’s technically still a rivalry though, since a rivalry is just two entities competing for the same goal. It is unusual, though, since a rivalry usually involves mutual hate and Marvin can’t hate what he thinks isn’t there.
But here’s the bad news: Halftime adjustments are a real thing, and they have been dominating.
Everyone else seems to believe in adjustments. The Bengals blew a 21-7 halftime vs the Packers in Week 3 and a 17-3 halftime lead vs the Steelers in Week 13. It’s not quite as bad as the Falcons blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl, but if Marvin doesn’t believe halftime adjustments, he won’t have to worry about protecting leads in Super Bowls.
In 2017, the Bengals scored 20 touchdowns in the first half of their games, compared to the 11 they scored in the second half. The average yards per rush went from 4.3 before halftime to 2.8 after.
First downs might be the most important goal of an offense after halftime, since it either helps you keep possession if you are ahead or it moves you down the field to score if you are trailing. The Bengals converted 42 fewer first downs in the second half, which can really add up in a close game.
It’s not like we’re asking Marvin Lewis to believe in the Tooth Fairy or in the promises of politicians, we’re just asking for him to be reasonable. Why doesn’t he believe in something based in fact and science, something that we have enough evidence to prove, like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or the fake Moon landings.
Whether or not Marvin believes in halftime adjustments, they believe in him and are absolutely demolishing him. Let’s hope he comes around so that he might have a chance in this rivalry.
Paul Alexander vs ignorance
Before the Bengals and Cowboys swapped offensive line coaches, Paul Alexander served the Bengals faithfully for 23 years. This means he pre-dates Marvin Lewis, which is actually quite impressive.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are two other things about Alexander that are astounding. First of all, he is a published author. In 2011, he wrote a book called Perform, in which he talks about the similarities between pianists and offensive line coaches that perform at high levels.
The front cover has the subtitle, “NFL coach trains with a concert pianist...”, which in itself is a grammatical masterpiece. The book has five stars from 13 reviews on Amazon, so it's probably good (I dunno, I haven’t read it; I’m waiting for the movie to come out).
So if you have eight dollars and want a fun read about a man who had the same job for 23 years, you can find 224 pages full of scintillating enlightenment here.
The second thing that you need to know about Alexander is that he is a ketchup aficionado. He even devotes an entire two-page spread to the design of Heinz bottles in Perform.
Cowboys OL coach Paul Alexander wrote in his book "Perform" about how he can rule out certain offensive lineman playing for him by the way they dispense ketchup from a bottle. pic.twitter.com/zXDGT057jm— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) May 17, 2018
Some of the fun ketchup includes this saucy (pun intended) excerpt:
Are you the type of person who knows why the number “57” is etched on the neck of a bottle of Heinz ketchup? I’ve asked this question at seminars for years and typically about five percent of the people in the audiences know the answer. Perhaps the “57” represents the number of ingredients in the recipe, but why the location? It’s placed at the precise spot where if one taps gently on the tipped bottle, the ketchup flows freely from the bottle. Even the new plastic squeeze bottles have a perfectly placed “57” at its optimal squeezing position. The person who figured that out was a genius.
As it turns out, Alexander is the type of person who knows why the number “57” is etched on the neck of a bottle of Heinz ketchup. Alexander doesn’t say how he figured it out, though, so we should hold onto his genius certificate until he can very this information.
He goes on to reveal that he has no tolerance for anyone ignorant enough to not know facts about ketchup:
When I see a large football player turn a bottle of ketchup upside down and pound at its heel with tremendous force yet with limited success, I immediately make the mental note:
He must either play defensive line, or if he plays offensive line, he can’t play for me.
I’m an Offensive Line Coach. I coach the big, fat guys, and I love them. Offensive linemen need to be the smartest, most cohesive group on the football field because they are responsible for the combinations of problems that eleven coordinated defenders can cause. In football, there are eleven defenders and eight gaps that they can charge. Assuming each man can choose one gap, there are 437,514 possible defensive alignments that the offensive line must deal with. Football strategy can be complicated much like an advanced level math problem. Offensive linemen and their coaches seek to solve complex problems with simple solutions.
Alexander admits that only about five percent of the people he talks to know the Heinz bottle trick, so he just told us that his offensive linemen must be the cream of the crop. They are either the top minds in the country or they play for the defensive line. You don’t need brains to play defensive line.
Mike Brown vs spending Mike Brown’s money
Mike Brown, son of the legendary Paul Brown, has shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to bring a winning team to Cincinnati, except for spending money. But other than that, he will doe whatever it takes.
No, Brown has been rivaling spending money for years now. This is the oldest rivalry on this list, but it is also very one-sided. Mike Brown trounces spending Mike Brown’s money every single time.
In the 1990’s early 2000’s, Mike Brown was undefeated. Brown threatened to move the team out of Cincinnati — where they were playing their home games at Riverfront Stadium — until Hamilton county agreed to pay for the construction of a new football-only stadium. Business Insider calls this the worst stadium financing deal ever and says that Paul Brown Stadium takes up 16.4 percent of Hamilton County’s budget.
He also won out when it came to water, Gatorade, and jock straps. While most NFL owners had succumbed to these expenses, Brown stood alone in the winner’s circle.
Marvin Lewis came along and helped out spending Mike Brown’s money, and eventually suckered Brown into providing those things for his team. But even with Lewis’ help, spending Mike Brown’s money found few victories in the coming years.
Brown finds ways to keep more change in his pocket. The Bengals scouting department is about half of what most NFL teams have. There is no indoor practice facility (the Bengals are the northernmost team without one), so when it gets cold, they have to practice at the University of Cincinnati’s Sheakley Athletics Center.
So, this rivalry is completely one-sided, since Brown has found ways to keep not spending money. For a team that only spends 22 percent of its revenue, totaling a $278M profit, you would think that spending Mike Brown’s money would win out once in a while. You would be wrong.
But, keep in mind, Brown is willing to do anything to bring a winning team to Cincinnati.