The Cincinnati Bengals have returned to the NFL playoffs following a six year absence from the league’s postseason. With the team making a worst to first turnaround to win the AFC North title, cautious optimism has grown among fans in the region that this version of the Bengals could break a decades-long winless streak in the postseason.
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Its been 30 years since the Bengals last won a playoff game, a Wild Card round victory over the then Houston Oilers on January 6, 1991. The Bengals would be knocked out of the playoffs in the next game to the then Los Angeles Raiders in the divisional round.
A 15-year playoff drought would plague the team before a 2005 berth, but the elusive playoff victory still hangs over the franchise. This team will have its chance Saturday to change the record books against the now Las Vegas Raiders.
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“Thirty years is a long time to go without (a playoff win) — and the last time we were in the playoffs was six years ago — I mean that’s a decent drought itself. But I mean, getting that victory on Saturday will really change the culture of the organization,” Bengals Fan Justin Greear from New Carlisle told News Center 7′s John Bedell.
“As a Bengals fan, it’s hard not to get my hopes up just because I’ve been crushed before.”
Greear has already bought tickets for Saturday’s game and said he’s confident in the team’s young stars.
“Joe Burrow, you know he’s awesome to watch. He’s kind of led the team. Ja’Marr Chase, Zac Taylor the head coach has done a great job. All the pieces are there. They’ve just got to go out and play the game they know how to play,” Greear said.
“Joe Burrow, if you’re watching this for whatever reason, I love you. I believe in you. Who Dey, baby! I’ll see you on Saturday.”
While Greear hasn’t seen his team advance in the post season, fans who saw the Bengals advance to the teams’ two Super Bowl appearances share the same excitement.
“It’s exciting. I mean this is something that you look forward to every year. You always have that optimism when the season starts. And then a lot of times when the season goes along, they just kind of let you down,” Jeff Fisher of Kettering said.
Fisher has been a season ticket holder for 48 years, since he was 9-years-old, and saw the team play in both Super Bowls in the 1980s. Despite the pain as a fan, Fisher said he remains hopeful the team will find its way to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989.
“We’re excited. We finally get a playoff (game). We hope we continue past this weekend. But being relevant this time of the season is always a good thing. Hope we can take it to the next step. Who Dey!”
Both Fisher and Greear already have their tickets but the Ohio Attorney General’s Office also issued reminders to those still looking to go and to be wary of scams.
A spokesperson for the Ohio AG’s Office warned fans to be skeptical of offers that appear too good to be true especially sellers on online marketplaces that might be offering tickets at or below face value. Additionally fans are warned to be careful when dealing with third-party sellers and to be wary of sellers requesting specific forms of payment.
While tickets still available, both Fisher and Greear are hoping for a loud, intimidatingly atmosphere and the chance to watch team history.
“I was born in 1991. I started watching when I was young … I don’t know what a playoff victory looks like. So I’m hoping that changes on Saturday,” Greear said.
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