The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated, de-cleated and unseated the Cincinnati Bengals by 18-16 this past Saturday in the so-called “Queen City.”
Shortly after the game concluded, I called a taxi driver that I had previously met when he dropped me off before the game at Paul Brown Stadium. While I was waiting for him to to pick me up, there were a rash of fights and disturbances between Bengals and Steelers fans, which was to be expected in light of the way that the Bengals “thugged” the game away.
The Bengals, the city of Cincinnati and Bengals fans don’t deserve to win an NFL championship, yesterday, today or tomorrow. Many of them acted as if they were rabid dogs running around just looking for something to maim.
A few fans reflected the sleaziness of a few Bengals players and their head coach, yes I said their head coach, Marvin Lewis that exhibit a total disdain and disregard of the rules.
As a result of the Bengals latest failure, folks are whispering that because of his losing ways, Marvin Lewis has lost the respect of his players, his city and his fans.
I beg to differ with that most obvious assessment of Lewis. It is my contention that he never had control, or at least it never appeared as if he did. There were specific instances when Bengals players exhibited unprofessional and negative behavior, that Lewis appeared to have a slightly discernible smirk on his face.
If you want to argue the point, I have two names to present to you, former Bengals wide receivers Chad (Ocho Cinco, Afro-Blinko, I don’t think so) Johnson and the late Chris Henry.
It was always an “As the Bengals Turned” reality show/soap opera going on when both of those often “troubled souls” attempted to navigate themselves through the NFL as well as through life because as we all know, sometimes art often goes on to imitate life.
On December 17, 2009 ESPN.com news services reported that; “Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry has died, one day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck in what authorities described as a domestic dispute with his fiancée. Henry was no stranger to trouble. Indeed, his multiple arrests during a five-year NFL career were among the factors prompting the league to toughen its personal conduct policy.”
Remember when Steelers Hall-of-Fame cornerback Mel Blount athletically terrorized and brutalized unsuspecting wide receivers from opposing teams to the point that the NFL outlawed “bump and run” coverage?
Well the negative behavior and antics of the Chris Henry socially brutalized society in general and the Bengals in particular prompting the NFL to toughen its personal conduct policy.
During one of the many court hearings that involved Chris Henry’s legal trouble, Municipal Court Judge Bernie Bouchard once called Henry “a one-man crime wave.”
With all of the talk of bounty’s on players’ heads in the NFL, could there be some sort of covert, unspoken “bread for blood” reward system now in place in Cincy? If not, why are some of the Bengals players continuing to operate outside of the “legal” NFL competition box?
A few years ago, Steelers linebacker James Harrison and ex-Steelers safety Ryan Clark were singled out as “dirty hitters.” Both players were constantly demonized about their competitive juices flowing maybe a bit too freely. They were also fined and scrutinized more than the average NFL defensive players but Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin eventually seized and continues to attempt to maintain control over any of his players’ negative actions whether they be on or off the field.
Ex-Bengals and current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer never voiced it publicly or privately but I suspect that if I could drop a few cc’s of “truth serum” in his Gatorade, I would bet my grandmother’s last box of “Depends,” that Palmer grew weary of the “thug” culture that existed in the Bengals locker room and bailed to the black hole of the Oakland Raiders, his first stop before eventually landing in Arizona.
No one can dare play the race card here. I don’t want to hear the weak “rush to judgment” excuse. Marvin Lewis has had more than a decade to win an NFL Championship. It is not the lack of talent that is the problem. Marvin Lewis has proven to be a weak leader and motivator, regardless of the personnel that he puts on the field.
A team usually mirrors their headmaster. There is an old Schenley High School cheer that our student body used to chant when the Spartans had the game well in hand. The chant was; “get you hat and coat and leave.”
Things have gotten out of hand as far as Marvin Lewis being the head coach of the Bengals is concerned. Seeing as though he may not be capable of bringing home a Lombardi Trophy. it just now may be the time for him to save face by getting his hat, his coat and leaving. (The source for this article was espn.com)
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.583.6741
Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe.