How To Enjoy Watching The Bengals: Pretend It’s a Netflix Series
By: Alex Marcheschi
At this point, watching the Bengals has become like watching your girlfriend parallel park. You know what’s going to happen, but you might as well observe just in case a miracle happens. At the very least it will be entertaining, at the very worst a catastrophe will occur.
Sports fans born in the Cincinnati Tri-State Area are born a cursed people. We witness atrocities on a cyclical basis: Kenyon’s leg, Carson’s injury, the Reds collapse against SF, the Steelers playoff game, the UCONN buzzer beater, the Octavius Ellis tip in and so on and so forth. All of this sorrow has often led me to a very dark place, and I am tired of living my life like this. I need to find a new fandom strategy. I’ve been meditating on this idea for quite some time now, and I think I’ve finally figured out how to watch Cincinnati sports without simultaneously developing a heart disorder. Here’s how to do it: pretend it’s a Netflix series. Seems weird right? Let me explain.
Let’s take the infamous Steelers playoff game for instance. The most extravagant and elaborate plot twist of all time. A city rejoicing, relishing an imminent victory in the playoffs over a hated rival, only to be left weeping on the doorstep like a child who was once again duped by his rolling stone of a poppa. The best writers in the world couldn’t script the ending to that game.
AJ Green scores with 1:50 left in the game to put the Bengals up by one, Marvin then calls the worst two point conversion play of all time and actually loses about seven yards on the attempt. The Bengals are up by one with under two minutes left, but the failed two point conversion hangs in the air like a stinky fart at a sports bar. “That doesn’t matter, right?” a fan turns to his friend and asks. The friend simply smiles, shrugs and says a prayer.
On the ensuing drive, Vontaze Burfict intercepts the ball with 1:36 left in the game in what can only be described as a moment of pure euphoria for the city of Cincinnati. All of our dreams are coming true, ‘Taze just made an amazing play and our backup QB led us to victory over the Steelers. Life is sweet.
On the very next play Jeremy Hill fumbles! What a plot twist, the writers room for this game must have been experimenting with peyote. But still, all is not lost, the Steelers still are pinned within their own ten yard line. We can do this.
Big Ben Roethlisberger, who was thought to be injured, emerges from the tunnel with pupils the size of black olives and breathes fire into the souls of The Jungle. “Oh shit,” the fans collectively exclaim, “We’ve seen this movie before!” The Bengals force a 4th and three for Big Ben and his boys around his own 45-yard-line and he dumps it off to Antonio Brown for a 15 yard gain. Pittsburgh is now across midfield with 22 seconds left! Pregnant women are now leaving the game and fathers are covering their children’s eyes.
This is the point in the Netflix show where you pause it to see how much time is left and become dumbfounded when you see there’s much more time left than you assumed there would be. “What could possibly happen?”, you wonder aloud to yourself. This is followed by other questions like – Is there a God? Do these writers have no sense of human decency? How many painkillers is Big Ben on?
On the next play, the refs call an illegal hit on Vontaze even though he led with his shoulder pads and made no form of helmet to helmet contact. The hit, however, was indeed unnecessary. Now, you have a pit in your stomach. Is the protagonist really going to die like this? Why did your friends tell you to watch this? It’s 2:30 in the morning and you have work tomorrow!!! Oh well, let’s see what happens. It’s gotta end soon, right?
WRONG BITCH, WRONG.
A retired player, yes you read that correctly, a retired player, will now play a huge role in the game. Joey Porter emerges from the sideline and baits Adam “Pacman” Jones into a personal foul that will be added on to Burfict’s penalty. It’s truly a stunning and malevolent plot twist, you wonder to yourself, “who are these writers and what went wrong with their childhood?”
The Steelers are now in position for a 35 yard field goal with 18 seconds left, and since Marvin called the worst two point conversion play in the history of the game a while back, it’s for the win. They drill it of course, and at this point it’s raining. The stands are filled with wet, crying fans and children are literally stunned by a sense of confusion they’ve never felt before. “Wait, Santa isn’t real AND this just happened?” the children exclaim. “What is the meaning of life? Why am I going to school? I just want to be a mechanic and raise a family with wholesome values in rural Kentucky. What’s so bad about that? Why am I being prepped for AP classes?”
It’s all over, but damn that was right up there with the “Ozymandius” Breaking Bad episode. And thus ends my hypothesis: if you watch the Bengals like you watch a Netflix series, it’s actually the most well rounded show of all time. Laughs, tears, sorrow, smiles, pain, anguish and confusion. What more could you want from a show? Mike Brown is the greatest director of all time.