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My Bengals Fandom Trained Me for Rapids Fandom

Believe it or not, seeing the change of direction in my Cincinnati Bengals gives some hope for what can change with our Colorado Rapids.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As far as American football goes, I am a diehard Cincinnati Bengals fan (as many of you affectionately call the 'Bungles').  That's OK.  There were times when that name fit.

You see, I grew up a Los Angeles Rams fan--until they moved to St. Louis.  Then I went to my second team, the Cleveland Browns--uuuuuntil they moved to Baltimore.  I liked Tony Dungy a lot, and I spent a great deal of time growing up near Tampa, so I pulled for the Bucs--uuuuntil they got rid of Dungy.

Moving to Kentucky in 2001, and after Dungy left, I decided I would throw my lot in with the Bengals and stay with them.  They were close to where we lived, plus all the games were on TV.  I was hooked.  Even with this, they found ways to kill their seasons by laying down and missing the playoffs, not showing up in big games against the Steelers and the Ravens.  And now, with Red Rifle Andy Dalton, we've made the playoffs four straight years but can't get off the schnide.

But I always admired the fans who stuck with them during the 1990s.  You know, the 2-14, 3-13 teams that were flat embarrassing.  While other stadiums were being upgraded and front offices were moving with the times, Mike Brown still had paper files, very few on staff in the front office--and all of them were his family. He inherited very few of the genius skills that his father, Paul Brown, possessed.  They loved their team, while hating them all at once.

They were fueled by heartbreak.  Your heart doesn't get broken if you don't care.

But this is a Colorado Rapids blog, so let's turn there.  I remember the lean years with the Bengals, and now the Rapids are facing lean years.  Boycotts, questions of whether to renew season tickets, sparse attendance (at least by the eyeball test), all coming from headscratching decisions on the field.  Lean times!

But you stay with it, don't you?  Sure, some of you may have jumped ship or have turned your full allegiance to another local team (like the Switchbacks), but the majority of you love the Rapids even in the lean times.

What I would say to the Front Office when some dissent comes along is not a sign of loathing the club, but is actually a sign of deep, abiding affection for the team.  I've whistled that theme in all its variations numerous times here, but it goes without saying.

But, we also see that everything turned around while keeping the same owner.  Mike Brown had a reputation of being a cheapskate.  Time will tell what the ownership's legacy will be.  But the fact is, things can turn around with the same owner.  How?  They brought in Marvin Lewis.  Over time, his personality, experience, and know-how brought significant changes.  The main change?

Whereas the Bengals were happy just to make the playoffs, now we're bummed because we can't win.  He set the level of expectation higher.  And ownership adapted. On paper, that seems entirely backwards.  And granted, what the NFL and the Bengals have in ownership is markedly different model, one wonders if bringing in a coach or at least a staff to help an inexperienced coach wouldn't do wonders to, over time, set a new direction that's desperately needed.

Just some thoughts.  What are your thoughts on the matter?  Leave a comment.  Any talk about soccer is good talk.