Adam Jones appeared in five consecutive postseasons as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 through 2015. He played in a total of five postseason games. Meaning that they lost every single one of those games, but you already knew that before reading that. As a reminder, this is what Jones looked like at the end of his last playoff appearance, a loss to the Steelers in 2015 after he was flagged for pretty much a game-winning personal foul penalty:
The Bengals had not won a playoff game before last month since 1990. Jones was seven at that time. But the former Pro Bowl cornerback, who spent eight years out of his 14-year career with the Bengals, will be watching with excitement as his former team participates in the Super Bowl, led by their young offensive stars in quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, along with a revamped defense boosted by free agent additions over the last two years.
And he doesn’t want any of you damn Pittsburgh Steelers fans rooting for them, either. Evidently old rivalries die hard, even though he didn’t join the Bengals until six years after he was first drafted.
The controversial former defensive back was actually interviewed on 93.7 The Fan on the Poni and Mueller Show, and as he always has throughout his career, he made his feelings very clear on the matter—and other matters.
“We don’t want none of the Pittsburgh fans jumping on the bandwagon”, he told his hosts. Yet he admitted that, if the Steelers were playing the Kansas City Chiefs this past week, he would have been pulling for Pittsburgh, saying that it “says something strong about your division”.
Yet he doesn’t seem to think particularly highly of the rest of the division, particularly the Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. On the latter, he said, “I hope they sign Baker [Mayfield] to a five-year deal”, a sentiment many Steelers fans also agree with.
Yet Pittsburgh is now in unfamiliar territory, searching for a franchise quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger retiring, so all he’s focusing on is the Ravens. “Only people on our radar right now truthfully is the Ravens because they’re on and off”, he said. “Their defense needs to be a little better and keep the quarterback healthy through the playoffs, that’s the only thing about it, [Lamar Jackson] hasn’t been healthy through the playoffs”.
The Ravens finished the 2021 season 8-9, but only after losing their final six games, the longest losing streak under John Harbaugh by two. Jackson suffered a bone bruise that caused him to miss the final four games, and most of the fifth, prior to losing to the Steelers the week before that by one point.
Prior to that Steelers game, Baltimore was 8-3 and in first place in the AFC. That was despite a litany of injuries on both sides of the ball. Their running back and defensive back rooms in particular were ravaged.
Talent-wise, assuming health, I still think the Ravens are the most dangerous team in the division, with the Bengals now very close behind them. The Steelers, well, it’s all going to depend on how this offseason plays out.