On Sunday the 2-5-1 Cincinnati Bengals travel to Heinz Field to take on the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0). Win-loss records (and series history!) be damned, the Bengals organization is suddenly acting all uppity now that they have first overall draft pick Joe Burrow in tow.
On Tuesday morning the team’s official Twitter account tweeted a three-second video clip of former Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh using a Terrible Towel to ‘shine’ his cleats.
In case you don’t recall, Houshmandzadeh’s indiscretion came on December 4, 2005, after a 38-31 Cincinnati victory at Heinz Field that dropped the Steelers to 7-5 and lifted the Bengals to 9-3.
The Curse of the Terrible Towel Strikes the Bengals
At the time, the Bengals fancied themselves as legit Super Bowl contenders (not to mention soon-to-be champions of the AFC North), but some say that Houshmandzadeh triggered the Curse of the Terrible Towel.
The Bengals went on to win two more games to raise their record to 11-3, but then the wheels came off. Cincinnati went on to lose its home finale to the Buffalo Bills 37-27 and wrapped up its regular season with a 37-3 blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Meanwhile, the Steelers followed the defeat at the hands of the Bengals with four consecutive wins, just enough to eke into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the AFC with an 11-5 record. That set up a rematch with … the third-seeded Bengals in the Wild Card round.
As it turns out, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer suffered torn ligaments in his left knee during Cincinnati’s second play from scrimmage when Steelers defensive end Kimo Von Oelhoffen tumbled into Palmer’s left leg. The Bengals went on to lose the game 31-17, the first of four postseason victories for the Steelers, who would go on to win Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks in Ben Roethlisberger’s second season.
Steelers Players Respond to the ‘Steelers Week’ Tweet
Naturally, the above-referenced tweet drew the attention of Steelers players past and present, including Steelers practice squad quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, who tweeted a play from last season in which he is seen throwing a 79-yard touchdown pass to WR James Washington. More notably, still, the play in question is punctuated by a vicious stiff-arm from Washington on a hapless Bengals defender.
Meanwhile, recently-retired Steelers offensive guard Ramon Foster—now co-host of a sports talk radio show in Nashville—also weighed in with a tweet that said, “This never ends well … proud of you though lil bro. Dad (Steelers) said [b]e home before the street lights turn on.”
That prompted former Steelers (and current Ravens) linebacker L.J. Fort to reply to Foster about how the Bengals public relations team is “writing checks they ain’t gonna cash.”
Finally, former Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel couldn’t resist sending the Bengals a reminder of how the 2005 season turned out, saying, “This ended well for you.”
Specifically, Cincinnati’s 2005 season ended with this:
The Steelers kick off against the Bengals on Sunday November 15th at 4:25 p.m. ET.
Incidentally, just prior to the start of the 2020 season Bill Cowher picked the Steelers to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LV.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh played for the Bengals for eight seasons (2001-08), before spending one season each with the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders.
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