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” Why not us ? » : A memorable football match

“WE’RE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!” I screamed after Bengals kicker Evan McPherson threw the game-winning field goal in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

I avoided talking about the game for the week leading up to it.

“Are you ready for Sunday? I asked my father on the phone.

” Yes ? ” he has answered.

“Yes,” I replied.

That was the extent of the conversation.

Call me superstitious, but I didn’t mean to jinx it. It was like a baseball pitcher pitching a no-hitter. Nobody talks about it.

Sunday morning, I did everything not to think about the match. I drove to my organization’s storage locker and made some homemade applesauce. I wasn’t even wearing my Bengals shirt. (It’s also a superstition of mine. I wore the jersey once this season and the Bengals lost, so I never wore the jersey on game day again.)

It’s not that I doubted my hometown team. They beat the Chiefs in the regular season, and they proved they were done with being seen as the “mediocre” team fans were used to.

But after many years of disappointing seasons, I couldn’t help but be nervous.

After the Chiefs scored their first touchdown, I started to worry a little. And when the score was 14-3 and then 21-3, I lost some hope.

My mom emailed me, telling me my dad was out for a walk in the middle of the game, and she took it as a sign the Bengals were losing badly.

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My friend was watching the game with me. She didn’t know much about football, so I tried to explain what was going on to distract me from the 18-point deficit.

I told him that our defense had to be stepped up. I knew no matter how many good plays the offense makes, and no matter how many long throws Ja’marr Chase catches, we were never going to win if our defense couldn’t stop the Chiefs.

At the end of the first half, the Bengals were down 21-10. The Bengals kind of ended up being a “second half” team – a team that makes incredible comebacks in the second half of the game – but I knew that if Patrick Mahomes was still on his A-game, the Chiefs would win.

It was like the Bengals heard me through the TV screen because the defense had improved a lot. It also looked like Mahomes got a little choked up as his performance fell short of the damage he created in the first half.

When the Bengals intercepted the ball in the third quarter, I went crazy. (That’s the problem with the Bengals’ defense. They may not be the best at pressuring the quarterback and making quick tackles, but they know where the ball is going.)

And when the Bengals tied the game and then took the lead for the first time, I was so excited. 30 minutes ago, I didn’t think they had a chance.

My dad called me and was amazed at what happened while he was away. We have an ongoing inside joke about how he walks away from a game and all the exciting plays happen while he’s gone.

“Dad, maybe you shouldn’t watch the rest of the game,” I joked.

My hands started sweating and my eyes were glued to the screen as the clock ticked down. The Chiefs were fighting back, but we were able to fire Mahomes to prevent them from scoring a touchdown.

The Chiefs tied the game at 24 and we went to overtime.

I laughed at the Chiefs fans cheering loudly after winning the overtime toss like they just won the game. Even the TV commentators had something to say about it.

The sweat from my hands spread throughout my body as the Chiefs moved around the field with big plays, until the Bengals intercepted the ball.

Suddenly all my hope was back.

The Bengals moved onto the field and decided to let “Money” McPherson kick a 31-yard field goal for the win. I had my Snapchat camera open, ready to record and share the historic moment.

The basket was good, and just like that, the team that a lot of people didn’t expect to get this far got to the Super Bowl.

I immediately called my dad who answered while my mom yelled “WHO DEY!” background. (My mother is not a sports fan, so I couldn’t understand why she was so excited.)

I called my friend and my cousin afterwards, and they were just as shocked as I was.

“I can’t believe this just happened,” we kept telling ourselves.

I ran out of my room to get some fresh air.

“Did anyone hear the fireworks outside because of the Bengals? my roommate asked me in the hallway.

“Yes!” I said. “We’re going to the Super Bowl!”

Even my friend who was watching the game with me was happy to have been able to experience and celebrate this accomplishment.

31 years without a playoff win. 33 years without having played in the Super Bowl. We finally made it, Bengals Nation. Who Dey!

@LLFreiberg

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