I started to watch NFL football when I was 12 years old, it was 1992. The Cincinnati Bengal's where the local televised game for my area, this is how the loyalty began. The Bengal's fit exactly what I believed in when I was 12 years old, which was that anything was possible if you put your heart into something.
In 1992, the Cincinnati Bengal's finished 5-11. For the decade of the 1990's they where 52-108. Those numbers actually made me love them more. Each and every year we would be at the top of the draft, I would hope we would draft some player who would change the face of the franchise and I would start watching the Bengal's win and remember where we came from and realize how sweet it is to be on the top and be the Super Bowl Champion. Year after year was a disappoint though. Dan Wilkinson, Ki-Jana Carter, David Klinger, John Copeland (was solid but not a franchise changing player), and good old Reinard Wilson from Florida State. It was very disappointing to see these high profile college players but on the black and orange and all of a sudden forget how to play good football. How does this keep happening? I never gave up hope though.
In 1996 we got a great investment with Willie Anderson out of Auburn with the #10 overall pick. He is currently the backbone of our offense line if not the Bengal's franchise. Then you throw in the 2001 draft which was in my eyes our best draft where we picked Justin Smith in the first round, the Chad Johnson in the second round, Rudi Johnson in the fourth round and stole T. J. Houshmandzadeh in the seventh round. I see now that this was the turning point.
This is 2005, the Bengal's are 2-0 in a very young season with a very optimistic schedule. In week 3 we have the Bears, should be 3-0. I feel this Bengal's team will be 6-2 after week 8 and the national media will be all over this team. Carson Palmer is the real deal, not a doubt in my mind. The number one overall pick in the 2003 draft have become a man right in front of my eyes. He is surrounded by talent as well, for the first time since I became a Bengal's fan in 1992 I can actually say that and be correct. Chad Johnson is one of the leagues top receivers, Rudi Johnson is one of the league top running backs. Not to mention the depth, we have Chris Perry a former first round draft pick backing up Rudi, we have T. J. Houshmandzadeh, Kelly Washington, Chris Henry, Tab Perry and Kevin Walter as wide receiver threat behind Chad Johnson. Our offensive line is very talented has has played several seasons together basically, along with our defense which is coming around quickly with promising young rookies David Pollack and Odell Thurman.
In 2005 I see the Bengal's greatly improved and a legitimate Super Bowl Contender. Week by week I predict more and more people will jump on the bandwagon. That is ok, I will make room, I have been waiting for years for this moment. Thank you Marvin Lewis!
Eric Schumann - AmericanSportsOutlet.com