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....