Tuesday Trenches: How do you watch the Bengals?

Syndication: The Enquirer
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Live in person? Live on TV? Recorded and watched later? How do you watch the Bengals?

A friend and I got season tickets for the Cincinnati Bengals, nosebleeds, mind you, the summer before the 2008 season. What could be better than watching Carson Palmer sling touchdown passes to Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh while they dominated the AFC North on their way to winning their first Super Bowl?

And I was going to be there to see it all unfold!

I still remember the home opener. It was against the Tennessee Titans, and hurricane-force winds blew through the city, literally shaking our seats. The Bengals lost, which was a trend that season (they finished 4-11-1). Just two weeks later, Palmer would shred his elbow against the Giants, and Ryan Fitzpatrick would take over.

It wasn’t a waste of money at all. I was young, I partied hard, made a lot of friends, and had the time of my life.

We got season tickets in 2009 as well, this time in the North end zone. It was a better season. The Bengals swept the division, and I got to go to a home playoff game, which the Bengals lost to the Jets in infuriating fashion.

All that was to say this: I really enjoyed having season tickets. I loved tailgating, I loved the people, I loved the Bengals, and I love football.

I did things the same way when I thought it made the Bengals better. I’d note the time I arrived at a stadium after they won a game, so I could make sure I arrived as close to that time as possible moving forward. For some reason, I could see how my turning gear was locked with the team’s gear, even if just on one notch very far away, and that I was helping them.

Obviously, I didn’t, and I wasn’t, but I allowed myself to go with it.

Maybe…. just maybe.

After those two seasons, life changed, and I had to give them up.

I can’t complain because I have a great spot to watch the games on a big TV with free drinks and food and no lines for the bathroom.

It’s called my basement, and I still have rules:

  1. Potato skins must be present. During the 2021 season, I had leftover potato skins from New Year’s Eve, so I ate them for the Chiefs game. The Bengals won, and it spurred them to the Super Bowl, so yeah, magic potato skins are a must.
  2. I have a chair. Actually, it was my father-in-law, Bernie’s chair. It’s one of those massive, oversized, lazy-boy type chairs that is big enough to hold both of my kids (11 and eight and not tiny) and I comfortably. That’s my chair because the Bengals win when I sit in it. No one else gets the chair. I’m sorry, but rules are rules.
  3. Want to talk about something that actually requires me to listen, and it’s non-football related during the game. I’m sorry, but no. Unless it’s an emergency, please wait for a commercial. My wife loves that rule.
  4. Want to see a highlight or watch a play over again? That’s fine, but we need to wait for a break in the action. Don’t worry, if it’s a real highlight, they’ll show it. Oh, the highlight is how the play formed, or how an offensive lineman pulled, or how a defensive tackle stunted? Ok, let’s look now so we can pretend we know as much as the guys on the sideline! (The rules don’t make sense, I know).
  5. Don’t touch my swords. They cannot be disturbed during football games (no explanation necessary).

Obviously, I’m not telling you all this because I’m expecting you to act accordingly if and when you come to my house to watch a game. I’m telling you all this because I know, for a fact (I hope), that you do some stuff too.

Do you go to every game? That’s awesome! Do you have some lucky tokens you carry with you? Do you have some sort of game-day tradition? Something a little extra you do to help the team win while you’re in the stadium?

How about those of you who watch from home? What do you do that’s unnecessary in the real scheme of things but feels absolutely IMPERATIVE to complete, or the absolute worst thing that could happen to the Bengals?

I know Joe Burrow and company don’t need me to eat potato skins in an oversized chair with my stupid (they’re not stupid; they’re incredibly cool, and they’re all from Lord of the Rings, which is the greatest trilogy of movies ever released. I have Gandalf’s staff too!) untouched swords, while silent to win a Super Bowl. They don’t need me at all.

But if I don’t do the things… and they don’t win……

Then maybe it’s a little my fault.

So this is your space. Tell me what you do. What crazy stupid thing do you do because your dumb brain convinced you it helps the Bengals in some cosmic way?

If you don’t do anything, I’ll take it as a sign that I have some mental issues that I need to work through.

Who Dey!

Relevant Song Lyrics:

Thirteen-month-old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck
The good things in your past

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Title: Tuesday Trenches: How do you watch the Bengals?
Author: Jason Garrison

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