Someday someone somewhere will read this article and wonder what happened to make the writer so jaded that they actually hoped the Bengals would be good.
A perennial deep playoff contender with either a Super Bowl loss or barely won, the Bengals of 2014 were the team that 1988 hoped to be and never was—world champions.
Facing the upstart Detroit Lions (stocked to the cheek with pro bowl players), the Bengals would bring the top tight end (the new and improved Antonio Gates) in Jermaine Gresham.
Sure, Carson Palmer came back in 2013, when a desperate Pete Carroll unloaded two first round draft picks (along with a second rounder and two third rounders) but still was fired at the end of the '13 season when Carson's lack of arm caused a new league leading interception total.
It was seconded by Cam Newton's extreme, bi-polar annual performance, new record in kamikaze passing of plus 4,000 yards with plus 35 interceptions.
Could this be the NFL in two years? Maybe three or even four? For a Bengals' fan, the term "any given Sunday," keeps the dream alive.
After two decades of futility, the future is just around the corner as the Bengals are guided to modest decisions mysteriously after Marvin Lewis agreed to return for two more years....
Sometimes we all need to stop and smell the roses, err grass...
Andy Dalton came to Cincinnati on a dream and a prayer.
He led TCU to a spectacular season where a national championship was stolen by a perceived weak schedule which nevertheless saw Dalton torch the Wisconsin Badgers and rise to second in the nation.
After falling into the second round, Dalton was picked up by a desperate cleaned out team known as the Bungles to some.
Dalton brought his orange hair (some call it red) to the banks of the Ohio river to match the roaring red of the desperate Cinci faithful.
Game 1 saw a conservative attach with some highlight reel scenes but then at Denver in Week 2, a cornered Cincinnati offensive attack opened up the hanger to the aerial acrobatics of Dalton and....
Plant that back foot baby!!!!
...Sunday, September 18th 2011, with 11:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, a five yard pass was fired to a biblical messiah in Adriel Jeremiah—a.k.a. AJ—Green.
He promptly moved with laser precision and cosmic forces to score the final pivotal touchdown in week two of 2011....
...which had followed an impressive ten-yard strike to Andre Caldwell who replaced the effervescent Jordan Shipley (who had just torn his ACL to end a to be determined 2011 season)...
...and middle receiver, the scorcher, Jerome Simpson—who finally found his rhythm without the Ocho-TO distraction to emerge with a BANG from the starting line in week two with 135 yard on four receptions.
Season over... We will miss you...
Sure, the future slot receiver legend went down in week two with a safety literally unhinging Shipley's knee.
Despite the critics which thought a concussed season followed by a lower body injury would psyche out Jordan, the new Michael Jordan of football's slot receivers would come back to become the anchor for a wayward ship in 2013....
He reaches and makes it!!!!
Super-human and inexplicable athleticism propel Jermaine to the middle of the pack to burst into the future as the Bengals propel forward.
You ARE MINE!!!!!!!!
With the strength of several ferocious beasts, Maualuga delivers the stability of a young, in control middle line backer.
The defense's quarterback (as the middle linebacker is) delivers a masterful playbook, making Ray Lewis look less in control, slamming the league as the newly most feared defensive leader.
Zim D to the FENCE!!!!
Like an artist forming clay, Mike Zimmer reaches the zenith of an epiphany by taking over the defense with a determination not seen in since 2009, slamming the competition into the grass.
Seeing the young up-and-coming offense, Zimmer finds his spirit and the Bengals roar to life in 2011.
Having put the secret pact in place, Marvin and Mike Brown set upon the 2011 season with the intent to rebuild and Brown to make money.
Two activities now determined to be mutually exclusive behind closed doors—Lewis would show that he had taken control of the team subtly with a tip of the respect cap to Brown.
He found the sensible balance to inspire a team and city to believe that the Bengals and Cincinnati could emerge to be winners again behind the new Big Red Machine embodied by Andy "Big Red" Dalton.
Shortly thereafter, the practice bubble was built (not too cheap after the Dallas tragedy).
The team added the to be determined keys in the 2012 draft.
After a respectable 7-9 2011 campaign, the Bengals emerged as the AFC champions roaring through the playoffs to...
The Dream Returns....
Its on the horizon...... Keep up the pressure, do not believe—demand it! Cincinnati will emerge from the dredges of the NFL and into the light.....