With the NFL Divisional Playoff Round upon us later today, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that Cincinnati is once again left out in the cold in important sports moments. Why do the two professional teams in the Queen City have the inability to finish teams off when it matters most? Is a Championship too far out of reach for the home town teams?
The last time that Cincinnati saw a Championship Parade was 1990. Fans graced the streets of downtown to celebrate the Cincinnati Reds’ victory over the Oakland Athletics in the World Series of the same year. The Nasty Boys were alive and well and the champaign was flowing freely in the locker room and days after the four game sweep.
It was also a big win for other reasons in city on the riverfront. Cincinnati’s faithful sports fans were picking up the pieces of their hearts after watching their beloved Bengals lose their second Super Bowl to a 49ers organization that was quickly becoming synonymous with fear in Cincinnati. The Reds victory gave them the joy they had missed out on just months before.
Once the celebration of the RedLegs came to an end and the streets were swept clean, people made their way back to normalcy. What they didn’t know then, was that 23 years later, they would still not feel that same adrenaline rush or have the feeling of small confetti pieces on their faces again.
That momentous occasion in October so long ago, would be followed up with a punch in the gut and heartbreak year after year. Their local pros would go on to give the city hope and then tear it away at the worst possible moment at the end of every season.
The owners of the teams try to satisfy us with “promise”. Their teams show promise; they have promising talent, promising young players waiting to step up from the farm leagues or on the brink in the upcoming draft, and the promise of a new season just right around the corner.
Those promises remain just that…promises. Their words never come to fruition. In 2012, with all of the promise in the world, we watched as guys like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, and Jay Bruce gave us hope week after week and wrapped up their division early. It was just another broken promise, though, when the Reds swept the San Francisco Giants on the road and then came home to watch the tables turn as the fans looked on in disbelief.
Cincinnati fans were optimistic, though, as they looked on to another promising season of NFL football. Their beloved Bengals had the promising talent of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green pairing up for what was supposed to be their best year yet. As the season drug on, though, fans were treated to the same rollercoaster of highs and lows they have come to know all too well from their hometown heroes.
When the promise carried in to the postseason, fans were led to believe that this could be the year that the Bengals could cause havoc in the Playoffs and win their first postseason game in years. Instead, the fans were left with a sour taste in their mouth as the promising offense failed miserably, once again, and their promising season was still just a promise.
One thing Cincinnati fans do have left after having their hearts ripped out for the second time in the same season by men that they put all of their faith in time after time is…wait for it…the promise of another new year.
So after all of the promise, where does that leave us Cincinnati? Unlike Jay-Z, we have 99 problems, but a promise isn’t one. When is it our time?