The Bengals Must Prove that the Super Bowl Hangover is a Myth

Via SI.com

The Bengals Must Prove that the Super Bowl Hangover is a Myth

Football

The Bengals Must Prove that the Super Bowl Hangover is a Myth

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The Cincinnati Bengals are coming out of their bye week in a very similar situation to this time last season. In 2021 Zac Taylor and his team found themselves sitting at 5-4 at the halfway point of the year. Even though being one game over five hundred was considered a major accomplishment for a young upstart team in 2021, this year the stakes feel higher.

Granted, winning games in the NFL is never easy and is a major accomplishment in itself, for Cincinnati the big picture is, quite frankly, bigger. The Bengals are no longer the feel-good, underdog story. Cincinnati is no longer the same young and upcoming team that gave NFL fans the warm and fuzzies last year. 

Now the team that resides by the Ohio River is the defending AFC Champions. With success comes expectations and for the Bengals, those expectations have become very real. Championship expectations are somewhat of a new concept in the Queen City, at least in recent times, however, having your name tied to the Super Bowl truly changes the game for a franchise.

Of course, the Bengals are not only fighting the battle of meeting those expectations. They are also fighting a legend long rooted in football lore, that being the Super Bowl hangover. Throughout the Super Bowl era of the NFL, this “hangover” curse has been considered a figurative ‘monkey’ that few teams have been able to get off their back.

The truth is this, earning the opportunity to play for a championship is hard. Sometimes teams go on amazing runs that can almost feel like destiny. Sometimes, they can make it look so easy that we can take it for granted that one can snap their fingers and get right back there again. However, that is far from the case.

That being said, superstition and curses can feel like a reality in sports as well. Thus, bringing us back to the dreaded Super Bowl hangover. Here is the thing, you cannot play in, let alone win championships by mere fate. Sure, a little luck is needed in terms of things like injuries. However, championships are forged through hard work and execution. For the Bengals., that case still holds true.

Is it true that teams that finish second in the Super Bowl struggle to make a return the following year? Of course. That being said, the same can be said for any team, including teams that win the big game. With this, how do the Bengals prove that curses are just myths and that last season was not just another feel-good story, but rather a stepping stone?

They do this by handling the business in front of them. As of this writing, the Bengals stand at 5-4 at the halfway point of the season, as previously mentioned. From this point going forward, the Bengals must win the games they are expected to win. Losing to rebuilding teams is not an option for supposed championship contenders. Beating the Panthers a few weeks ago was a step in that direction, respectfully.

Afterward, you have to show can compete with your championship-contending counterparts. Cincinnati will have that opportunity over the next few weeks when they face the Titans, Chiefs, Bills, and Ravens. Should they be expected to win all those games? Probably not, however, they must win their share of those games. The first step is getting back to the playoffs, you can’t dance if you don’t make it to the party.

If the Bengals can get back to the playoffs, then at that point, it is a whole new season and it’s anyone’s game, including Cincinnati. That being said, the road back to the Super Bowl begins now. Can the Bengals prove they weren’t just another feel-good story? Can they prove that the Super Bowl hangover is just a mere myth? We shall soon see.

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