Football. As another disappointing Reds season winds down, football begins to take precedent. Let me preface this, however, with the fact that the 2006 year was probably the best in most recent memory for Cincinnati sports. Particularly because the Reds played over their heads most of the season and made it interesting to be a sports fan in late August/early September. It was enigmatic year for Cincinnati sports. The Reds were in the hunt for the Wild Card (before they choked it away), and the Bengals were coming off their first playoff appearance in years. I dispel this as a fluke though, which will now allow me to continue towards my initial discussion. Football.
Football brings out the fake sports fans, God love them. People who just can't handle the vicious ups and down one must endure throughout the entire sports year in order to truly call himself or herself a sports fan. Football's one day a week (well two...well three), and doesn't take as much plot deconstructing. That's cool. It is. Because if any sport warrants an all-out flurry of fanaticism, it's football. As intense as it gets, and that's why I love it. Regardless of the posers that come out of the woodwork when the season begins (that's right I just climbed up that high horse and am now confidently perched at the top), I still love it.
However, I've run into a bit of a snag since moving to Chicago, well aside from Cubs fans (see the reference to "posers" above), I have to now seek out the Bengals game. No more rolling out of my bed at 10:55 AM to begin the pregame festivities. Oh and by "pregame" I don't mean drinking. I mean getting ready to coherently watch eight full hours of football. That's what it's all about. Anyway, the Reds season hasn't been that bad because they suck, and I canceled my mlbtv.com subscription a while ago. I mean I'm kind of looking forward to going to a bar or something to watch the game because I think it'll be fun, but that also means that I have to go to a bar at noon and watch football for four hours. That could get old really quick. Hopefully it doesn't because I'm definitely the type that will watch the entire game, regardless of the score. I always hold the hope that my team (football mind you) can orchestrate some miraculous comeback.
Another thing that bums me out about being in Chicago for football season is that there will be no more football get-togethers, which I absolutely fucking love. I really can't remember the last game I watched alone because friends will always come over and listen to me rant and rave at the players, announcers, or commercials for hours on end and not seem to get too annoyed. This brings me great pleasure, and that will be missed. Well, I will get to subject Carley to it...poor sap. I will still be back in Cincinnati for the Super Bowl though because there is no way that I will miss out on throwing or being involved in the fantastic Super Bowl parties we have been hosting for going on four years. Aside from finding parking spots, it's one of the best things I do and is always a fucking good time.
Now on to the Bengals. I hold hope for this season for several reasons, many of which have recently been occurring. First off, no more Rudi Johnson. Hooray! Never bought into him from the get-go and I have witnesses who can attest to my consistent doubts concerning his running back abilities. He's a poor man's Sean Alexander, and dear God that's not saying much.
Number two, we got Chris Henry back. The analysts on SportsCenter have to lambaste this Bengals maneuver (meaning it would look bad for ESPN as a whole to do otherwise) because he's had so many run-ins with the law, but they all fucking know that Henry is a goddamn great receiver and shows flashes of brilliance. It comes down to this...I want my team to win, and if that means taking chance after chance on a troubled but great receiver...so be it. Ray Lewis murdered someone and Jamal Lewis snorted cocaine out of a hooker's butthole and they were forgiven and seem to be doing okay.
Third reason, Carson Palmer...enough said. I want him to be my roommate and make me pancakes in the morning. I bet he'd be awesome to sit down with and watch an episode of the Cosby Show. He makes me happy because he's awesome and keeps the team together...in a quiet manner.
Final reason, Chad Johnson has to play well because if he doesn't, the city of Cincinnati will tear him to pieces as a result of what happened in the offseason. If he plays well...okay then, we can deal. If not...fuck you, you worthless piece of shit. You don't want to be here? Take a fucking hike. He basically has to win a city back, and the only way he's going to do that is to catch everything all of the time. I rate this as being good pressure.
My prediction for the AFC North? Bengals 10-6, Browns 9-7, Ravens 7-9, Steelers 1-15
Steelers subplot: Hines Ward is killed in a freak skeeball accident, Willie Parker shatters both of his kneecaps simultaneously after falling off his roof while in the process of re-shingling, and Benny Burger realizes that all he has to throw to is a pretty okay tight end in Heath Miller, a rookie wide receiver, and Santonio Holmes who will be on the verge of suicide all year from a crippling depression sparked by USC's utter annihilation of the Buckeyes at the Coliseum. Burger will therefore break his own right arm with a sledgehammer because he knows he's fucked without Hines or a running game...you know, because he's not really any good. Get it?
I fucking hate the Steelers.