Chess is like football, only without the dice.
Spiegel Online calls this one of the greatest statements of German football (soccer), but it just might catch on in the Cincinnati Bengals locker room, where a chessboard is prominent, as Jake Rice of Bengals.com writes.
“(The chessboard) has been there since training camp,” Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said during Tuesday’s press conference. “Me and Thaddeus (Moss) started playing, then some guys cycled in and out, played some games, good little camaraderie in the locker room.”
And it’s that camaraderie that sets this Bengals team apart from those of the past 31 years (Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991).
“You can’t tell these guys they can’t do anything,” special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Darrin Simmons said at Wednesday’s press conference.
“These guys believe in each other, they believe in what we do, and that’s half of it. We’ve been bought in for a few years now. We just haven’t had all the parts in place yet. Now, some of the acquisitions we’ve made over the past year have come in (and) have shown their value… it’s a really, really good dressing room.”
Simmons has seen his share of the locker rooms. He is the longest serving coach of the Bengals and is now in his 19th season. He was part of eight playoff defeats, dating back to 2005.
Running back Joe Mixon, who finished third in the league with 1,205 yards rushing, has not had the privilege of experiencing NFL-level playoff football. But he knows there’s something different about this dressing room.
“Everyone is bought,” said Mixon, “and that’s one thing leading up to this play-off game, you just see in the locker room, on the practice pitch, the atmosphere here is different. I’ve never been close to it.” , it’s very special to be around and it’s a real privilege to be around these guys.”
So yeah, maybe chess is just like football – just without the dice.
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is the local expert on the game, but Burrow isn’t satisfied with being number two. He’s coming after Awuzie the same way he’s come after every cornerback he’s seen this year.
“I put a little pressure on,” said Burrow, who has been playing since grade school. “We’ve only played twice, and I had to get a little better from the first and then started to put a little bit of pressure on him. I think the next game we have might be a little bit different.”
Hopefully the next football game will be a little different too.