It appears as if Johnson backed off of his offer yesterday after the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy informed him that it would cost about $910,000. But, regardless, the situation presented us with a perfect microcosm of what being a Bengals fan truly entails.
Here's why: The much-maligned former face of the franchise who many Cincinnatians despise, generously offered to save the day by purchasing playoff tickets that fans don't care enough about to buy themselves.
That scenario is most likely Bengals owner Mike Brown's worst nightmare as he prides himself on being just good enough to profit off of that one extra home game's ticket sales. You really just can't make this stuff up.
Johnson, then Ochocinco, did the same thing for a regular-season game against the Houston Texans in 2009 when he was still a member of the team. The outspoken wide receiver doesn't get the respect he deserves in Cincinnati after he put the team on the map and made a national audience care about the Bengals during his tenure.
And he's at it again.
By making a gesture to buy the tickets, he put a spotlight on the fact that the Bengals have failed to sell out an important home playoff game. As of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, there were still 8,000 tickets remaining.
As a Cincinnati native, I am proud of the fans for not feeling obligated to attend the game. I would like to think of it as a gesture of solidarity amongst Bengals fans to let Brown and management know that they're not satisfied with merely earning a home, wild-card playoff game and not truly contending for a Super Bowl.
The team has experienced success during the regular season in recent years, but the "Bungals" vibe that has lingered for a couple decades still rears its ugly head too often (see Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh, Sept. 29 at Cleveland, Sept. 8 at Chicago, etc.).
Cincinnati caught a huge break when the San Diego Chargers defeated Kansas City last Sunday. If the Chiefs would have won, the Bengals would have opened the playoffs against a steaming hot Pittsburgh Steelers team that dominated the Bengals just a few weeks earlier.
Now, the Bengals open with a winnable game at home, where they've been a perfect 8-0 this season. If Cincinnati does secure a win against San Diego, an away game against the New England Patriots looms.
Beating New England twice in one season is no easy task; in fact, the last two teams to do it went on to win the Super Bowl (2011 Giants and 2012 Ravens). The Bengals must complete that task in order to advance far in the playoffs, and the odds don't seem to be in their favor. Then again, fans should be very encouraged if the team does pull it off.
I don't enjoy sounding like a Cincinnati Scrooge, but the Bengals did this to me. I would like nothing more than to see Andy Dalton lead his team to consecutive wins against the potential likes of Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning, but even typing that sentence felt like a pipe dream to me.
I really am hoping to be proven wrong but if history tells me anything, Cincinnati fans are in for another devastatingly disappointing postseason experience. But, hey, at least Chad Johnson somehow managed to make it interesting, yet again.
Alex Marcheschi is a senior at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He's been following the Bengals his entire life and is surprised when good things happen because of it.
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