The Bengals' latest disaster.

The stadium scene.
Jan. 9 2006 4:40 PM

Poor Bengals!

A fan's NFL playoff confessional.

(Continued from Page 1)

"Irony?" Pollack responded. "More like tragedy." I'd add a strong adjective in front of that last word.

On the long, lonely drive home, I thought of my friend Jason, a University of Texas alum who made the trek to Pasadena for Wednesday's Rose Bowl and was rewarded with his team winning the national championship in a game for the ages. After the game, I e-mailed him congrats and mentioned he might as well stop watching sports—he had reached the ultimate in fandom. Suffering is what separates the true fan from the debutante and makes a breakthrough moment of victory like that all the sweeter. But if I have to wait another 15 years for a shot at some playoff glory, rest assured, I'll be watching from the couch.

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