Cincinnati Bengals fans are some of the unluckiest and longest-tortured fans in the NFL. As a lifelong Cincinnatian and Bengal fan, I should know.
Bengals fans have endured bad draft picks, an ownership out of step with the rest of the league and the Carson Palmer fiasco. Mostly, they have endured dreadful football.
For several years, Cincinnati Bengals followers have watched their team bumble around as if they are wearing blindfolds. Even when the team won, the play was as ugly as a bruise. Yet, the games sold out and were available on television.
Bengals fans watched in embarrassment.
Now, the Bengals have a team with some buzz, with some pop. The young players on the Bengals roster play with passion—something that has been missing from Paul Brown Stadium for some time. However, a jaded fanbase and an economic downturn have resulted in a dramatic drop in tickets sales and, thus, no television coverage.
Cincinnati Bengals fans cannot catch a break. But our fault lies not within our stars, dear Bengals fans, but within ourselves.
Cincinnati fans are clearly aware of this rule and have been narrowly escaping it for two years. When a blackout loomed in the last couple of seasons, fans of the orange and black were bailed out by Chad Ochocinco and local businesses. Ochocinco is in New England now, and businesses just do not have the money to buy up tickets to NFL games. The responsibility to purchase tickets rests squarely with the fans.
I know the total cost of going to a sporting event is outrageous. Tickets are pricey no matter how the team is playing. Parking is expensive and difficult to find. Charging nearly eight dollars for a beer should be considered an act of treason. The outlandish amount of money a person, let alone a family, is expected to pay for a few hours of entertainment on a Sunday afternoon cannot be ignored.
What else cannot be ignored is the fact that Bengals fans must share some of the guilt for the TV blackouts.
Each Sunday we let a kickoff go by without buying a ticket, we send a message. By not buying tickets and thus missing a chance to see the team, we silently proclaim that we understand the consequence of not filling the stadium is that the game will not be televised.
And that is fine with us.