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Another STEALER game, and another game where the Bengals had to not only beat Shittsburgh on the field, but the refs as well. It’s fairly obvious at this point, that when you play the Stealers, you cannot play them equal, or even beat them by 1-7 points, as that margin isn’t enough to overcome the additional assistance by the referees. When you play the Stealers, in order to get a win by 7 points, you have to actually beat them by the equivalent of 17-21 points. Which means that to beat Shittsburgh, you have to outplay them to the point where despite the refs ignoring their consistent holding, and costing you several scores or drives / turnovers etc – you still come out on top. Now obviously this is possible, as Cincy has beaten the Stealers in the past. But on a day like today, where the Bengals basically played them even, or at most outplayed the Stealers slightly for what under normal fair circumstances would have been a 1-7 point Bengals win, it turns into an 8 point sham loss. Essentially each fan represents one “customer” so to speak, so none of this should come as a surprise, since the NFL is above all a corporation and business, with the explicit mission to maximum their profits for shareholders and owners. Now with that said, if you have one fan base that has 15 million fans, and another with 500,000 fans, of course you are going to systematically favor and give the edge to the larger fan base's team when possible. Now you can’t obviously throw games in their favor, but you can give them a slight edge in lots of different ways. Which in today’s NFL, where the top 10 NFL teams are fairly even, can make a huge difference, and be the deciding factor between going 9-7 and 12-4. It can also mean the difference between winning 27-24, and losing 24-18. The NFL doesn’t also even have to always tilt things in the Stealers favor, as sometimes they can legitimately beat a team without it. So for instance, when they are playing the 1-10 Browns, the refs are not needed to give them that extra edge. However, when you have an ascendant team like the Cincinnati Bengals from a small market city with a comparatively small fan base, and they all of the sudden are consistently good enough to take the AFC North and cost the NFL tens of millions of dollars by knocking out one of their ‘blue chip’ franchises (i.e. Stealers, Patriots, Cowboys, Packers etc) – then the refs go into the game knowing their services will likely be necessary. Today’s game, just like in January showed that is clearly the case. As for what to do about it, Bengals fans have 2 options basically … since nothing will change on the NFL’s end. Fans of the Bengals can either just accept this for how the league is and hope the Bengals can be so much better than the Stealers that the refs can’t take it away, or Bengals fans can forgo taking part in the NFL or giving the league their funds. However, even if fans do this, it won’t matter, as the fan base of the Stealers is so much larger than the Bengals that the NFL would never alter the dynamics to please Bengals fans. So that leaves us as Bengals fans stuck, do you give up enjoying a sport that you may have loved your whole life because it isn’t fair, or do you defiantly hope that your club can still overcome those odds and win despite of the unfairness? And if you live in Cincy, you paid for Paul Brown Stadium whether you like it or not. So here we are … fuck the NFL, fuck the refs, fuck the Stealers, fuck their fans, fuck their city, and fuck their players. Who Dey.