Cincinnati Bagels (Who Dey) & Other NFL Playoff Observations from My Couch
Unless my 70-plus year-old brain is failing me again, I seem to recall that when the newly formed Cincinnati Bengals signed quarterback Sam Wyche in 1968, Wyche’s wife thought his new team was the Cincinnati Bagels.
One could make the case that remark set the tone for most of the next 60 years of the franchise. To be sure, they did get to the Super Bowl in 1982 and 1989 only to lose to the San Francisco 49ers both times. But most years, the Bengals (AKA the Bungles) seldom made it to the playoffs and were rarely competitive in that environment.
Maybe … just maybe, things are changing. I have no illusions that the Bengals are likely to win again this coming weekend and get to the Super Bowl to possibly play against (who else but) the 49ers. Still, it is exciting to see my hometown team’s fortunes rising – in no small part because of a brash, once-in-a-generation quarterback named Joe Burrow.
Which brings me to some more observations about this past weekend of playoff games. I can’t remember any time when a series of high-stake games not only lived up to expectations, but actually exceeded them. Big time!
And much of what made these games so exceptional was the play of several new generation QBs. Burrow, Matt Stafford, Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garrapolo all led their respective teams to last second victories – and Josh Allen would have, had he not been facing Mahomes. Meanwhile, the old guard QB superheroes, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, will be watching the next round of playoff games from their own couches.
There’s no doubt that Brady and Rodgers have been elite quarterbacks for many years. And while their futures are uncertain, they have still performed at a high level this year. But it is refreshing to think what the years ahead will be like as some of these younger superstar QBs continue their ascendance.
Just a couple of other observations about the divisional playoffs. While the quarterbacks and skill position players get most of the attention, how about those place-kickers? Talk about performing under pressure. Lengthy field goals at the end of regulation decided virtually all the outcomes.
Finally, can I make a recommendation to league officials about overtime rules. I know it is all about television and reasonable time constraints but deciding the winner of a time game through sudden death just doesn’t seem fair. All too often, the team that loses the coin toss loses the game. Josh Allen and the Bills deserved an equal shot to advance to the conference championship game.
Non-Cincinnatians may wonder what the hell the significance of the Bengal “Who Dey” chant is – and understandably so. Contrary to some popular beliefs, it was not a rip-off of the New Orleans Saints’ “Who Dat.”
The locally based Hudepohl Brewing Company has sponsored professional sports in Cincinnati for many years and it was quite common for the beer vendors at the stadium to shout “Hudy” or “HuDey” while working the bleachers. (I remember vendors shouting “Get moody with Hudy” at Cincinnati Reds games.)
But I digress. Over time, the chant was adopted by the Bengals, and it soon became quite common for the crowds to exclaim “Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals? Nobody!”
Well, that’s my story and I am sticking with it. Here’s hoping this coming week’s games and the Super Bowl provide even a fraction of the excitement and expense of this past weekend.