I’ve never been a fan of the two week gap between the NFL’s conference championship games and the Super Bowl. It was two long weeks of seeing and hearing every sports journalist lionize Tom Brady (he’s the G.O.A.T., not a lion!)… and seeing Patrick Mahomes ad infinitum (a Latin term meaninng “an endless number of State Farm commercials).

Sneaker-selling season started earlier this year…

But this year, the Cincinnati Bengals are in the Super Bowl. (Spell-check just underlined the last sentence… even computers can’t believe it happened.) And I’m really digging the two-week gap. It’s an extra week for the citizens of this city to bask in the warm orange glow of a long-awaited Super Bowl appearance.

Photo credit: Personal work of Jeffrey Dean.

An extra week to hope, to dream… to believe.

An extra week to rally around a common cause, rather than dwelling on the differences that seem to divide us. There’s no red vs. blue… just orange and black. Instead of yelling at strangers on the internet, we yell “Who Dey!” together.

Of course the phrase came from beer… would you expect anything less from us?

We have more in common than we think… but sometimes it takes a sports team to help us realize that.