The first five games for the Cincinnati Bengals this season came down to the final seconds. With a record of 4-1 and the new nickname “The Cardiac Cats”, the team decided they needed to give fans a break, so they let the sixth game get away without a wild ending.
“The ‘Cardiac Cats’ thing is all fun and games until someone has an actual heart attack,” said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer at the post game press conference. Wide receiver, Chad Ochocinco, added that “We felt another last second win would put our fans at risk, so the responsible thing to do was let it end with a wide point margin.”
The two players were assaulted with questions by shocked reporters, asking how the team could go into the game with the intent to lose.
“This was not a preordained decision to lose,” Ochocinco responded. “We wanted to win. But, near the end, down by 14 points, we knew that pulling ourselves within one score would start adrenaline pumping in the fans, creating an unsustainable heart rate which would only be exacerbated by a subsequent tying TD.” Palmer interjected, “That’s when we agreed I should throw a pick.” (Carson threw an interception with just over a minute left in the game, effectively sealing the victory for the opponents).
“You threw the game?!” shouted one local sportscaster, vocalizing the concerns of the group.
“Do you even listen to yourself talk?” asked Ochocinco. “You used the right word. It’s a GAME, man!” Palmer put a hand on his receiver’s chest and positioned himself between the reporter and the player. “Chad’s right. In the overall scheme of things, this is insignificant. We are just playing a game.”
Ochocinco had more to say, though he was more subdued and contemplative. “When I was a kid, football skills was all I had. It was embarrassing. I’d be outside working on this game, but looking inside at the kids who got to practice piano or do homework. Now those kids are teachers or doctors or product development engineers at P&G; they help people improve their lives, their health, their cosmetic appearance. The only way I can give back is by making their lives a little less stressful. If they can relax during the last five minutes of the game, knowing the outcome, they are better prepared to move on to their next task.”
A reporter responded by quoting a study published recently which showed that people identify with local sports teams and the fortunes of the team affect the mood of the people. When a team wins, people feel better about themselves.
“If that’s the case,” Palmer proposed, “then we need to change that. Do you really believe that people build these stadiums and are then dependent on teams winning in order to feel good about themselves? Is winning really their expectation? That’s not been our experience in Cincinnati.”
More than just a respite from “Cardiac” finishes, the Bengals hope to give their fans a life lesson.