The Bengals are unbeaten and so is the Marvin Lewis Community Fund's Football 101 held again Wednesday night under the lights of Paul Brown Stadium.
Another year, another sellout of 450 women with a waiting list longer than the Bengals' winning streak to learn the finer points of the game from some of Lewis' coaching staff. The wildly popular event is part-clinic and part bachelorette party, but all Marvin as he coaxes, cajoles, and coaches his way to raise about $200,000 for MLCF on a night his charity honors breast cancer survivors.
And that's why this one hit so close to home.
Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese is a 101 staple, teaching the ladies to keep their elbow up, step to the target, and throw the ball into the net. He's seen more bad arm action than an orthopedist. But he wasn't there Wednesday night because he switched up drills this bye week.
On Thursday wife Christine undergoes her final surgery for breast cancer to remove her lymph nodes, the last step before radiation and the goal line.
"We're all saying a prayer and thinking about her. She's amazing," said Patrice Urban, after she stretched and before she went into the locker room for the classroom portion of the night.
With Christine and Rhonda Simmons, wife of special teams coach Darrin Simmons coordinating, they had another monthly dinner for the coaches' wives two nights ago. Patrice couldn't make it because one of her kids had volleyball but she heard it went great.
"Christine was so excited when they were planning it because how close it was to her surgery," Patrice said. "She said the date worked out just right."
You would think after being with James Urban since she was 15 that Patrice would just as soon avoid a night like Wednesday. More Xing and Oing. More throwing. More football.
"Oh no," Patrice Urban said. "I love it."
Her husband, the Bengals wide receivers coach, always works 101 but usually is inside the locker room teaching the playbook stuff. But the old Eagles quarterbacks coach stood in for Zampese in the passing drill Wednesday and Patrice Urban couldn't wait to show him what she's got.
"Last year I put all three passes in the net. Kenny was really impressed,' she said. "Whenever we play mini-golf or go bowling, (James) says, 'You'll never beat me.' Guess who beat him in mini golf this summer? Guess who beat him in bowling this summer?"
Patrice also participated in Eagles 101 in Philadelphia, where James would also work the class room and he'd tease her.
"He'd ask me, 'Did you learn about the nickel this or the flea flicker?'" Patrice said. "I'd say, 'No.' I don't really pay attention. But I felt like I was learning along with everyone else."
James Urban is interested to see the arm.
"She played softball. She can throw a softball. We go out in the backyard and have a catch,' Urban says. "But a football? I don't know about that."
It's OK. She was thinking about Christine Zampese. The more football, the better.
"Great night, great cause,' Patrice Urban said.