Inside the Cincinnati Bengals locker room the mood was upbeat Friday as the team prepared for its final walk-through before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Linebacker Chris Carter, a Steeler from 2011-2013, said he is trying not to get caught up in the hype, just focus on winning one game at a time. He will do a little smack-talking with his former teammates, however. "I'm sure we'll exchange some polite words before the game on the field. We text and talk, not too much when we've got to play each other... because we're plotting against each other, but we talk all year round."
Linebacker A.J. Hawk, a native of Centerville, isn't sure which of his friends and family will be rooting for him because they are a mix of Bengals and Steelers fans. "Good question. Depends on how good of friends they are, I guess."
Wide receiver Marvin Jones says he appreciates the fan support. "It's been great to see them out there and be loud and stay with us the whole time."
Walking along the Ohio River in Cincinnati's International Friendship Park, Covington's Marie Shields, a season ticket holder, said this winning season is a blessed relief to all the Bengals bashing she is used to. "I think it is spectacular. It is exceeding all expectations."
Tabia Tribble was walking in the West End with her 2-year old son. She says she loves the Bengals. "Everybody has their downfalls, but they have spirit. They can keep going. They're not as bad as everyone says, you know."
Going into this weekend the Bengals are 6-0 and the Steelers are 4-3.
The best records for the Bengals were in 1981 and 1988. They went 12-4 both years before losing their final games in the Super Bowl.