Cincinnati Bengals: The Unfortunate Legend That Is the Carson Palmer Injury

Tim DanielContributor IIIMarch 8, 2012

CINCINNATI - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals lays on the ground after being hit in the knee on the first drive of the AFC Wild Card Playoff Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on January 8, 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio.   The Steelers defeated the Bengals 31-17.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

How is it possible to have a whole stadium be at its loudest and then its most quiet in a matter of 20 seconds? When you have that ultimate moment of satisfaction turn right into depression.

That was the second play of the Cincinnati Bengals' opening drive in the 2005 Wild Card game versus the arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

For those of you who don't understand what that game meant to us Bengal fans, I'll gladly explain.

That was the year we felt was ours; we sat through season after season of bad football teams. We saw multiple players that either got injured or just didn't pan out, but this season was different.

We had finally found our big name quarterback, we had a strong offensive line, a great receiving core and a running back who was a yard eater. There was no way we were going to lose, the momentum was on our side.

I remember just being so excited for the game. My Dad and I drove to the stadium fired up; it was finally here: The Bengals were in the playoffs. It was not just the fact they made the postseason, but the fact that we were fortunate enough to have the game in our hometown and be able to attend the game.

Like every Bengal-Steelers game, the crowd was split; we saw way more terrible towels and Steelers jerseys than we wanted too.

The reason this game is considered legendary is because everyone remembers where they were when the game happened. Everyone remembers their reaction of sadness and anger when the infamous play happened.

The Bengals ran a no-huddle with a run play but didn't have much success on the first drive. Then in the next play, Carson Palmer took the snap and threw it deep down field where Chris Henry took it in. We couldn't believe it.

I remember looking up on the jumbo tron in anticipation of the replay just to see Carson Palmer laying on the ground. I felt my heart drop into my stomach and immediately had the thought,"Uh oh."

This couldn't happen. This was the biggest game since the Superbowl loss to the 49ers; it was finally our time.

After seeing the replay over and over and over, I just felt like it was a dirty hit. Anger and frustration wouldn't allow me to reason with anyone arguing it was clean. To me, Kimo Von Oelhoffen was the bad guy. I was so fired up I wanted to run down on the field myself and give him a piece of my mind.

This was when the word "curse" came in my mind. The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth. The Cubs had a billy goat. The Bengals lost their one chance at becoming an elite football team.

To me the, Steelers' Super Bowl victory was tarnished. I'd never give them credit all because of that one hit, the hit that deflated the crowd at Paul Brown Stadium and, by the look of things, the team on the field.

It was our time... Why did it have to happen this way?

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