Cincinnati Bengals

The Helmet and club colors of the Cincinnati Bengals are obviously very similar to those of the Cleveland Browns. No wonder, both teams have the same “father” Paul Brown. After the foundation of the Cleveland Browns, 17 years as head coach and five league titles Brown left Cleveland in 1962. But instead of retiring, he established a new team: the Cincinnati Bengals.

1965 Paul Brown met with Jim Rhodes, the Governor of the State of Ohio and asked for support in establishing a second professional football teams in Ohio. The governor promised to help and so Brown went looking for a suitable city. He found the city in the very south of Ohio – and seen from Cleveland at the opposing side of the state: Cincinnati was ready to build a new football stadium. In 1967, Brown got a franchise from the emerging American Football League (AFL). As a name for his second team Brown chose Bengals, a name with tradition: In the 1930s and 1940s a team with the same name played in the city.

The new Cincinnati Bengals finished their first season with in 1968 with a record of 3 wins and 11 defeats – the best result of all five AFL expansion teams of the 1960s. In 1970, they already won the AFC Central, quicker than all other teams before. A sweet victory for Brown because his old team, the Cleveland Browns had been allocated to the same division as the Bengals after the merger of the AFL and NFL.

In 1971 the Bengals drafted Ken Anderson, a quarterback from a small unknown college. A lucky choice for the Cincinnati Bengals: In the next 16 years, Anderson became an important key players, he was the best passer of the AFC four times. In 1981, the Bengals renewed her outfit – besides new jerseys, the new helmet with his tiger stripes especially caught attention – and the new look animated the somewhat tame Tiger to feats: Led by Anderson, they played in the Super Bowl. In the AFC championship game they defeated the San Diego Chargers in the coldest game in NFL history (perceived temperature of minus 50 degrees Celsius), but lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl XVI with 21:26.

Even with a second quarterback, the Bengals were lucky: In 1984, they drafted Boomer Esiasion. This led the Bengals back to the Super Bowl in 1988. But again, the Bengals didn’t have a lot of luck the last game of the season: Although they led in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXIII, a touchdown pass by Joe Montana 34 seconds before the end of an exciting Bengals game made the San Francisco 49ers the NFL champion again.

Then the tigers from the shores of the Ohio River became fairly tame and quiet again: In 1990 they reached the playoffs again, but after that they had ten seasons with more losses than wins. A constant coming and going at the quarterback position also did little to give the team the necessary stability. Only by contracting Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, the Bengals seem to have found their leader of the future: In 2005, the Cincinnati Bengals qualified for the first time for the playoffs again after 15 years.

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