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Josh Kirkendall
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Josh Kirkendall

Lead blogger for Cincyjungle.com

Cinderella cats

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During summer minicamps and training camp, the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff pushed an "it's us against them" mentality on the players, many of whom were castoffs, labeled as players that no one else wanted. It gave them attitude and purpose. Cincinnati was one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2008, finishing with an unlikely 4-11-1 record.

In a single offseason, the Bengals rebuilt their image, their philosophy and their attitude to sweep the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens with a 7-2 record that's second-best in the conference. The NFL needs teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, proving that any team has the opportunity go from terrible, disastrous, laughable, to a division leader that swept last year's AFC Championship - both of them.

The Cincinnati Bengals aren't just a collection second-chance players. They are a team that no one else believed could run through the gauntlet of the AFC North and go undefeated in the division. They are the underdogs of 2009. They are the Cinderella story in a league dominated by superstar quarterbacks and high profile football teams. They are the little guy with an attitude problem that can no longer be ignored.

They are what many NFL teams strive to be - a small market team with a collection of hungry players achieving success in an increasingly celebrity-heavy league.

The NFL needs teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, to prove parity exists, even amongst small market teams, without greats like Peyton Manning. The Bengals are the small market team that doesn't have Daniel Snyder money to pay players more than they're worth. The Bengals are a small market team without the money to build a gaudy state-of-the-art stadium. The Bengals don't even have an indoor practice facility.

Even though there's parity of revenue sharing in the league, there is a gap between small and big market teams, such as paying for better coaches beyond the head coach, increased scouting departments, luxuries that could sway a coveted free agent, additional revenue from local advertising.

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of several recent examples of how teams can go from hopeless to hopeful in the span of a single offseason. Fans and the NFL should be encouraged that a small market team, with players who have redeemed themselves of their history, proving that every NFL team, every year, has a shot to reach their goals.

By Josh Kirkendall  |  November 17, 2009; 3:09 PM ET  | Category:  Cincinnati Bengals , Kansas City Chiefs , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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What a joke you are. Good luck with your team of punks and thugs and criminals. Real happy story. Ever wonder why no one wants to live in Cincy?

Posted by: redline3 | November 18, 2009 12:41 PM

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