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Can you really give your heart to more than one football team?

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

“Trying to Love Two Women” is the title of a great country song released by the Oak Ridge Boys in 1980. It was a big hit then and remains popular today on radio stations that play country oldies. 

The song tells the sad story of how one guy tries to keep two women as his girlfriends at the same time but the physical and mental strain get the best of him. 

I think of that song each week when I watch professional football on television. As a kid in the very early days of the National Football League on television, I cheered for the Cleveland Browns because that was the team my dad supported. 

The Browns were the nearest pro football team to East Kentucky, just like the Cincinnati Reds were in major league baseball. My loyalty to the Reds made it easy to adopt the Cincinnati Bengals when they became part of the American Football League in 1968. The AFL and NFL merged in 1970. 

In recent years, I’ve found myself rooting for both of the Ohio teams – Bengals and Browns – but not sure how I became a diehard who always pulls for those big losers in the NFL. 

The Browns had a record of 1-15 a couple of years ago, not to mention four coaches and quarterbacks in four years. The Bengals went to the playoffs five years in a row but could never win a game. They are 0-2 in the Super Bowl. 

The Browns were so bad they had the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft a few years back and picked Baker Mayfield as their quarterback, the Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma. They pay him $8 million a year and they are winning, now 8-3 after Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. 

The Bengals were bad enough last year to get the No. 1 pick this year and they chose Joe Burrow, another Heisman winner and the quarterback who took LSU to the national championship. He earns $9 million a year. 

Alas, Burrow got hurt two weeks ago and is out for the season. His team is 2-8-1 and has no chance for any glory this year. 

My dilemma is that both of my teams are in the same division in the NFL and only one could advance to the Super Bowl. At this point, I would settle for successful surgery for Joe and a playoff spot for the Browns.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com.

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