A longtime friend and Bengals fan texted me Monday morning.
“Happy birthday Mike! ” he wrote. “The Bengals didn’t give you a big present yesterday.”
He was right. Losing to Dallas was a disappointment.
I improved on Monday. I spent it virtually with you.
We all have to deal with 0-2 in the season of high expectations. I did this by tweeting Monday morning and asking how you as Bengals fans are handling 0-2. I want us to process this together, just like we went through the Super Bowl season. It was my birthday wish.
Players can look to each other and their coach to help them through the 0-2. So can you. Some players might struggle to deal with this. Why not you too?
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@ TonyaWh44925206: “No.”
@Alikhaleesi_: “Not good Mike, not good.”
@TMILANO44: “Not good!”
@SpudsMck: “Um, not good at all, I would say.”
@Rezurrect94: “(Bleep)ing horribly.”
@Dad3Boyz: “It’s been a (beep) week.”
@Pearl_Ann_: “I’m not well, Mike. Kinda blindsided tbh.
It might look like Groundhog Week. We are 2-0 blind. Last week was tough. This week is worse.
So what are you doing?
It starts with what many of you replied to me on Twitter. Acknowledge how you feel. It may look a lot like last week, only the emotions are more intense now.
@Cincymetaldrums: “Beyond lividity.”
@JamesWi11047973: “Angry to be honest. Too much talent for an 0-2 record.
@Djburke5: “How do you think (beep)ing, Mike? We’re all pissed!
@DBoechler: “In a word salty!😧”
@Wegemorot: “I am sad. we look awful.
@JPGeigs: “Very sad.”
You have every right to feel any or all of this. Again, Joe Burrow and the Bengals trailed early. Once again, they mobilized. Again, a lesser quarterback led a winning drive.
You are stronger by sharing your angst about it, in this way. Let him out in a secure space can prevent you from attacking others or holding back your emotions and torturing yourself. You used your words. Or your emojis. Or your gifs and memes. Oh, the gifs and memes were pouring in. Chris Tucker palms to the face. Spongebob is crying. Jim Carrey loses it. Will Ferrell drinks and cries. Tyrese Gibson paces. Emma Stone eats ice cream and cries.
High expectations can lead to big disappointment for a team you care about so much, and those emotions can affect how you handle the Super Bowl going 0-2.
@ChristineComb19: “I’m not. It’s horrible with all the buildup. Is it red 2.0?”
@Knucklepuck11: “Unfortunately it’s over. Losing those two games is the equivalent of the Reds losing twenty in a row to start the season against the Pirates and Nationals. Lose (against) the easiest teams on the schedule with the Toughest schedule remaining.(Zac) Taylor has to go.
@Footballcookies: “Quite disappointed, to say the least. Last year raised our hopes to an all-time high. To say I’ve seen bad teams would be an understatement, so if I really think about it, it’s not very surprising. 0-2 is a deeper hole to come out of than most realize.
@HxppyThoughtz: “Not good, I’m hugely overreacting.”
@Thatnavyguy23: “When I look at their roster I see a team that could have gone 17-0. But when I look at the performance on the pitch I wonder if they will become the first team 0-17.🤷🏻♂️🤔”
@Rezarf_nyrac: “It absolutely sucks and takes the wraps off of last year’s success. I feel like those two losses were less about other teams’ superior abilities and more about our lack of cohesion. We’re sitting on a mine talent gold and it’s wasted. Frustrating!”
Ventilating is healthy if it helps you release your stress, but not if it allows you to relive the anxiety. Living in anger, frustration, or sadness can bring you down, bring you down, and prevent you from seeing alternatives.
And there are alternatives.
Take on the Bengals penchant for hanging out this season. They have trailed 17-3 in every game. Ugh. Do you look at this and say you expect more from a Super Bowl team?
@Willko33: “Slow starts are killing this team. Same problem as last year for periods.
True. That’s also what you saw from the Bengals last season. They rallied to double-digit deficits in every AFC playoff game. Same thing with the Super Bowl, although we know how this one ended. Just like some losses in the regular season. What if it was just the Bengals. . . their?
The Bengals lost two straight games last season. Twice. Just so as not to start the season. What if it was another temporary problem?
History says 0-2 teams rarely make the playoffs. But three have won the Super Bowl. What if today’s expanded NFL schedule leaves more time to bounce back?
Look at it all this way, and how would you handle it?
@Charles5Collier: “Very good since it’s a 17-game season. Last year we could have started 0-2 as well, but we were 1-1. No need to worry at the moment. There’s a lot left ball to play.
@Antoinebrown95: “I see it as, since everyone in our…division took an L, I’m going to take it like we’re just one game down. We’ll have the Dub-ya against the Jets next week to turn the tide.
@Whodeynorth: “Feel like we just officially finished our pre-season. Offense finally got some reps together. And we’re now a ‘disappointment’ in the eyes of some commentators. So, thanks for the throwback chip on our shoulders I didn’t plan to go 17-0 this year We kick off this week🐅🐅🐅.”
@J_storie: “15-2 baby”.
Hope and faith can also influence you. If you can’t fully exploit them, you can “fake it until you can”. If that’s not you, which approach is right for you?
It’s not about lying to each other or ignoring reality. It’s about reframing your point of view in a credible way. You can’t turn 0-2 half full or half empty, but you can choose to see it as 2 for 17 – albeit an ugly 2 for 17.
It always hurts. The Bengals were supposed to look better than last season, not broke. You can’t control whether the Bengals can solve this problem, but you can control what you do. It may mean resetting your expectations. Or hoping for the best. Or prepare for the worst. Or letting yourself feel what you feel and then letting it go. I am here to help.
@Bengaljims_BTR: “Upset…disappointed…a bit shocked. But I think our guys are getting back on track this week against the Jets. To stay positive.
@KenS61316565: “Yeah, we’re going to do it together. Predicting a win over the Jets and a spectacular shutout win on Thursday night.
@Samalam83620909: “I’m not even going to look.”
Your choice. The Bengals can play one game at a time, and so can you. Both of you can feel empowered by last season to find hope for Sunday, seize the moment, and trust that you’ll handle whatever comes next.
@Mattj1229_v2: “Worst case scenario we just have to put up with a bad season, but we’ve all been through this before I honestly think they’ll pull themselves together.”
In any case, we will manage this together.