Are you a fan of a bad AFC North team—specifically one located in Ohio? Does it hurt so much that you feel the need to be medicated? If your medication of choice is marijuana, then I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. Read on if this affects you, or if you want a laugh.
On Wednesday, an Ohio medical board ruled that being a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals or the Cleveland Browns and consistently suffering through their failures does not rise to the significance of a legitimate medical condition what would meet the requirements of qualifying for the prescription of medicinal marijuana.
Which seems unfortunate, because it would have come seemingly just in time for players and fans alike to smoke together, since the NFL appears to be on the verge of letting go of their control over marijuana suspensions, at least if they can get their 17-game season.
A Cincinnati resident who described himself as a fan of both of the NFL’s Ohio-based franchises petitioned the medical board in December, arguing that fans of the teams suffer in such a way that it would be beneficial to be medicated through the mind-altering substance.
Some might argue that one would have to be under the influence of a mind-altering substance for a prolonged period of time in order to maintain one’s fandom for such poor-performing franchises. Over the course of the past four drafts, the two teams will have combined to own the first-overall pick three times, with the Browns doing so in 2017 and 2018, and the Bengals owning the top pick this year.
Cleveland fans in particular have been long-suffering. They have not had a non-losing season in over a decade, have never won the AFC North, and have not been to the postseason since 2002. Their 1-31 record between 2016 and 2017 is the worst record over a two-year span in NFL history—after all, it couldn’t get much worse than that.
But neither the Browns nor the Bengals have won a single playoff game in this millennium. The Browns’ last playoff victory came against the New England Patriots in 1994, when, coincidentally, Bill Belichick was their head coach. They would lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round. The Steelers also defeated them in 2002, their only other playoff appearance since 1989.
As for the Bengals, they did qualify for the postseason in five consecutive seasons from 2011 to 2015, and in six of seven years. however, they lost in the Wildcard Round every year, as well as in 2005. Their last playoff appearance prior to that was in 1990. They defeated the Houston Oilers in the Wildcard Round that year before losing to the Los Angeles Raiders.
Assuming the Bengals fail to win a postseason game in 2020, then it will have been over 30 years since an Ohio team last won a postseason game. And they have two teams. It might not be the worst thing in the world to just let them light up at this point.