If the Pitssburgh Steelers were coming to town, the Raider Nation would have some gumption in their craw, eager to see their team stick it to their arch-rivals. Yet, even though the Bengals and Raiders are old AFL teams, there is no rivalry to speak of nowadys.
Cincy’s franchise and ownership are so conservative, that there is not even so much as a blip of animosity towards the Oakland Raiders or Al Davis. Nor between the fans for that matter. In fact, Cincy fans are overly polite with Midwestern notions of professional sportsmanship. I can’t find an iota of trash talking on any message forums leading up this Sunday’s game.
Does this mean not a single drunken lout with a chip on his shoulder exists within the Cincinnati fanbase?
If you can’t be ruffled by Al Davis through a 40-50 year existence, then you deserve some kind of credit for being so blissful.
On the surface, it is easy to get the idea the Bengals as the complete opposite of the Raiders. Cincy being so morally righteous (at least as far as the city's reputation) and Oakland being a troublesome environment for players, fans, coaches (and their wives, girlfriends).
Looking a little deeper, the Bengals are not a trouble-free team. They have had their fair share of players with brushes with the law. There is also Chad what’s his name’s consistent antics and subsequent wrist slapping by the NFL.
The difference is, the Bengals straighten their ship when they need to and are proving it with wins on the field and less attention off the field.
In terms of personnel, the Bengals could be labeled a quasi-outlaw type of team. It’s not often you think of the Bengals to give second and third chances to players who have made questionable judgment calls (Cedric Benson, Chris Henry and now Larry Johnson). Yet, that is exactly what a portion of their roster represents.
The bottom line is they have competent players, a solid quarterback, and competent coaching. With the exception of one game against Philly, the Raiders have been absent of competency so far in the 2009 season.
Maybe that’s why there’s no trash talking from Raider fans for this game. It’s not that they have abandoned all hope of an upset,Raider fans just need a reason to believe their team can step up and show they can deliver some competency—like the Bengals have.