The Cincinnati Bengals, formed by Paul Brown, approach their 50th season in the NFL this year, starting their outstanding journey in 1968. The unique history of the Bengals throughout the years, attracts a new and improved fan base and atmosphere for Cincinnati today.
The Bengals began in 1968, when Paul Brown invested in the Cincinnati team and became the head coach and manager. The Bengals played their first two seasons at Nippert Stadium with about 20,000 fans in attendance at each game; however, they moved to Riverfront Stadium and played there for almost 30 years. Paul Brown Stadium was finally completed in 2000, which is where the Bengals play home games today. Some key players in the Bengals early seasons was center, Bob Johnson, whose jersey number, 50 is now retired for the Bengals team. Also running back, Paul Robinson, who led the American Football League in rushing yards, and was named AFL Rookie of the Year in the 1968 season. More players include quarterback, Ken Anderson, who was MVP in the 1981 season, and quarterback, Boomer Esiason, who was MVP in the 1988 season. Another key Bengals player is offensive lineman, Anthony Muñoz, who is a NFL hall of famer and has his own charity today, The Anthony Muñoz Foundation. This foundation works with educational programs for the youth of Greater Cincinnati. These few players, had such a huge impact on the Bengals and NFL history today.
The Bengals certainly do not have the best post season records, but they have important games to remember. The first significant game was Super Bowl XVI in the 1981 season against the San Francisco 49ers. This game was played in Detroit, and according to Bengals fan, Richard Stoecklin, “It was snowing all day and the game was delayed due to the weather, making it hard for fans to get to the game. Many Bengals fans had trouble attending the game.” The Bengals ended up losing the game 26-21. This was the Bengal’s first ever Super Bowl appearance, making it a very significant game. Another significant game was the Freezer Bowl in 1982 against the San Diego Chargers. This game had the coldest temperatures in NFL history, with temps 59 degrees below zero, with about 46,000 fans in attendance in Cincinnati. The Bengals won this game 27-7, playing in the coldest temperatures ever. One more significant game was Super Bowl XXIII in the 1988 season against the San Francisco 49ers. This game was played in Miami and Richard Stoecklin says, “The first defensive play of the game, Tim Krumrie, the best defensive player for the Bengals broke his leg.” The Bengals lost momentum from the start and ending up losing 20-16, however they had many opportunities to win the game. This game was the last time the Bengals have been in the Super Bowl in almost 30 years, making it very significant.
Although, the Bengal’s do not have any Super Bowl wins or many play off experiences, the history of the Bengals is outstanding and intriguing. There are so many great players that have left a positive mark on this Cincinnati team. Throughout the years, the Cincinnati fans have created an incredible appreciation for the Bengals because of the hard work and dedication by the players. The atmosphere has changed and improved over the years, and the fans still continue to show support for the Bengals through the good and bad seasons. The Cincinnati Bengals would not be who they are today without their amazing fans.