As a Cincinnati native, I believe it is my duty to explain to fans of both the Bengals and the NFL in general, of the truth beyond the relationship of our own Chad Johnson and the city itself.
Since the conception of No. 85 in 2001, Bengal fans have madly been in a state of infatuation with the wide receiver. Whether it was because of talent or marketability, it has been almost impossible for anyone in the city not to drawn his antics and cockiness.
Let me make one thing straight: Cincinnati has ALWAYS loved it's football, no matter if it was 1996 or 2005. People here have always cared about the Bengals, but for the longest time there was nothing to actually cheer about.
Chad Johnson is more then just a player to Cincinnati... he's a living representation and symbol of Bengal's return to...well... respectability.
Even though the Bengals technically have only made the playoffs once during CJ's time as a Bengal, the team has no doubt become much more of an "authentic competitor". The majority of the city believes there were three crucial pieces to the puzzle. Marvin Lewis, Carson Palmer, and of course, Chad Johnson.
Think of Carson and Marvin as more of the "silent contributors". There is no doubt they indeed were the crucial broth and noodles to the soup, Chad was the chicken.
As the Bengals became better and better over the past several years, so did the expectations of Bengal fans everywhere. It was almost unbearable for some to wait until the season to begin, as many were expecting another playoff visit or another AFC North Championship to again be crowned by Cincinnati.
...Chad Johnson was how people expressed their feelings.
Ocho Cinco's constant talk and beaming charisma is what so many people here in Cincinnati would represent themselves by. As Chad would say one thing, a fan would become more and more drawn into hope of the next season.
Unfortunately for all of Cincinnati, 2007 wasn't what many planned for.
With only half of the season played, already fans were throwing in the towel for the season. People were clueless or shocked. Someone had to be blamed.
The obvious answer people should have thought about was defense and the lack of linebackers on the field, but apparently a few extra drops were enough for people to become obsessed with hating on Chad.
Johnson ended up with a franchise record 1,440 yards, yet still it was inevitable to fans that Chad was the problem.
For weeks after the season ended, blaming Chad and insisting trades was all the rage. Chad obviously got the memo, and quickly responded.
"What? It can't be! Chad want's to be traded? But why? We love Chad here!"
Have you ever heard the saying "Be careful for what you wish for?"
Now, as Chad demands either being traded or sitting out if he doesn't leave Cincinnati, people are actually asking themselves how it got to this point.
I guess Cincinnati is most likely going to get their wish.