The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals hasn’t always burned with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.
Unlike the feud between the Steelers and Ravens, which is calibrated almost point for point, the balance of power between the Steelers and Bengals often has leaned Pittsburgh’s way, so the matchups haven’t always been marquee material.
This time, it’s different.
Sunday’s game between the Bengals (10-4-1) and Steelers (10-5) at Heinz Field decides the AFC North, and NBC made it a prime-time affair. These teams haven’t played for this many marbles since their 2005 wild-card game.
So bitter were the relations between the Bengals and Steelers back then that an anti-Bengals YouTube video was made. Posted by someone who went by the handle “meanjoecoop,” it was a spoof of the “WKRP in Cincinnati” theme song. Made by an entity known as Hell in a Handbasket Productions, the video correctly predicted a Steelers win in that playoff game and took several shots at the Bengals.
The video is harder to find in cyberspace these days, but I’ve always dug it up whenever the Steelers play the Bengals.
One of the video’s still images shows a swarm of Steelers defensive players, including Deshea Townsend, Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote, running off the field with their fists in the air apparently celebrating a big defensive stop.
When I watched the video in the days leading up to the Steelers’ Week 14 game in Cincinnati this season, that picture made me feel a little nostalgic. Days earlier, the Saints came marching into Heinz Field and plundered the Steelers defense for 35 points. I thought about how long it had been since the Steelers defense could celebrate any play that wildly.