Cincinnati Bengals

Last updated

Cincinnati Bengals
AmericanFootball current event.svg Current season
Established May 23, 1967;52 years ago (May 23, 1967) [1]
First season: 1968
Play in and headquartered in Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati Bengals logo Cincinnati Bengals logo.svg
Cincinnati Bengals logo
Cincinnati Bengals wordmark Cincinnati Bengals wordmark.svg
Cincinnati Bengals wordmark
LogoWordmark
League/conference affiliations

American Football League (1968–1969)

National Football League (1970 present)

Current uniform
AFCN-Uniform-CIN.PNG
Team colorsBlack, orange, white [2] [3]
            
Fight song Bengals Growl
Mascot Bengal tiger (Who Dey) [4]
Personnel
Owner(s) Mike Brown
PresidentMike Brown
General managerMike Brown
Head coach Zac Taylor
Team history
  • Cincinnati Bengals (1968present)
Championships
League championships (0)
Conference championships (2)
Division championships (9)
Playoff appearances (14)
Home fields

The Cincinnati Bengals are a professional American football franchise based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Their home stadium is Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati. Their divisional opponents are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Ravens.

In the United States and Canada, the term professional football includes the professional forms of American and Canadian gridiron football. In common usage, it refers to former and existing major football leagues in either country. Currently, there are multiple professional football leagues in North America: the three best known are the National Football League (NFL) and the Arena Football League (AFL) in the U.S. and the Canadian Football League (CFL) in Canada. The NFL has existed continuously since being so named in 1922.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it, while the defense, the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are scored primarily by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Cincinnati City in Ohio

Cincinnati is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and is the government seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located at the northern side of the confluence of the Licking and Ohio rivers, the latter of which marks the state line with Kentucky. The city is the economic and cultural hub of the Cincinnati metropolitan area, the fastest growing economic power in the Midwestern United States based on increase of economic output, which had a population of 2,190,209 as of the 2018 census estimates. This makes it Ohio's largest metropolitan area and the nation's 28th-largest. With a city population estimated at 302,605, Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and 65th in the United States. Cincinnati is also within a day's drive of 49.70% of the United States populace.

Contents

The Bengals were founded in 1966 as a member of the American Football League (AFL) by former Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown. Brown was the Bengals' head coach from their inception to 1975. After being dismissed as the Browns' head coach by Art Modell (who had purchased majority interest in the team in 1961) in January 1963, Brown had shown interest in establishing another NFL franchise in Ohio and looked at both Cincinnati and Columbus. He ultimately chose the former when a deal between the city, Hamilton County, and Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds (who were seeking a replacement for the obsolete Crosley Field) was struck that resulted in an agreement to build a multipurpose stadium which could host both baseball and football games.

1966 NFL season 47th regular season of the National Football League

The 1966 NFL season was the 47th regular season of the National Football League, and the first season in which the Super Bowl was played, though it was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. The league expanded to 15 teams with the addition of the Atlanta Falcons, making a bye necessary each week for one team.

American Football League Professional football league that merged with National Football League in 1970

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.

Paul Brown American football coach and executive

Paul Eugene Brown was an American football coach and executive in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL). Brown was both the co-founder and first coach of the Cleveland Browns, a team named after him, and later played a role in founding the Cincinnati Bengals. His teams won seven league championships in a professional coaching career spanning 25 seasons.

Due to the impending merger of the AFL and the NFL, which was scheduled to take full effect in the 1970 season, Brown agreed to join the AFL as its tenth and final franchise. The Bengals, like the other former AFL teams, were assigned to the AFC following the merger. Cincinnati was also selected because, like their neighbors the Reds, they could draw from several large neighboring cities (Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky; Columbus, Dayton, and Springfield, Ohio) that are all no more than 110 miles (180 km) away from downtown Cincinnati.

The AFL–NFL merger was the merger of the two major professional American football leagues in the United States at the time: the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). It paved the way for the combined league, which retained the "National Football League" name and logo, to become one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States. The merger was announced on the evening of June 8, 1966. Under the merger agreement, the leagues maintained separate regular-season schedules for the next four seasons—from 1966 through 1969—and then officially merged before the 1970 season to form one league with two conferences.

The 1970 NFL season was the 51st regular season of the National Football League, and the first one after the AFL–NFL merger. The season concluded with Super Bowl V when the Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16–13 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The Pro Bowl took place on January 24, 1971, where the NFC beat the AFC 27–6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Louisville, Kentucky City in Kentucky

Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 29th most-populous city in the United States. It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being Lexington, the state's second-largest city. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County, on the Indiana border.

The Bengals won the AFC championship in 1981 and 1988, but lost Super Bowls XVI and XXIII to the San Francisco 49ers. After Paul Brown's death in 1991, controlling interest in the team was inherited by his son, Mike Brown. In 2011, Brown purchased shares of the team owned by the estate of co-founder Austin Knowlton and is now the majority owner of the Bengals franchise. [5]

AFC Championship Game Semi-final championship football game in NFL

The AFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the American Football Conference (AFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January by the two remaining playoff teams, following the AFC postseason's first two rounds. The AFC champion then advances to face the winner of the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

1981 NFL season Sports season

The 1981 NFL season was the 62nd regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XVI when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26–21 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan.

1988 NFL season Sports season

The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division. The playoff races came down to the regular season’s final week, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the AFC West by one game, and the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers winning their respective divisions in a five-way tie, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants losing the NFC Wild Card berth to the Los Angeles Rams on tiebreakers.

The 1990s and the 2000s were a period of great struggle. Following the 1990 season, the team went 14 years without posting a winning record nor making the playoffs. The Bengals had several head coaches and several of their top draft picks did not pan out. Mike Brown, the team's de facto general manager, [6] was rated as among the worst team owners in American professional sports. [7]

Since the mid-2000s, the team's fortunes have improved. Two years after becoming head coach, Marvin Lewis guided the Bengals to their first winning season and first division title in over a decade. After the acquisition of Andy Dalton as quarterback in 2011, the Bengals had made the playoffs each season until 2016, ranking highly among NFL teams in win totals. [8] The Bengals drafts are also highly touted, leading to a consistency that had long escaped the franchise. However, the team has remained unable to win in the postseason and have not won a playoff game since 1990, which is the longest active drought in the NFL. [9]

Marvin Lewis American football coach

Marvin Ronald Lewis is an American football coach who is a special advisor at Arizona State University. Previously, Lewis was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons. He came to prominence as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens from 1996 to 2001, whose defense in 2000 set the record for the fewest points allowed in a 16-game season and helped the franchise win their first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants. This success led to Lewis being named the Bengals' head coach, where he served from 2003 to 2018. He was also a commentator for the Alliance of American Football (AAF).

Andy Dalton American football quarterback

Andrew Gregory Dalton is an American football quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Texas Christian University (TCU). In his final college game, Dalton led TCU to a win in the 2011 Rose Bowl. He is the all-time leader in wins at Texas Christian University.

The Bengals are one of the 12 NFL teams to not have won a Super Bowl as of the 2018 season; they are also one of 8 NFL teams that have been to at least one Super Bowl, but have not won the game.

History of the Cincinnati Bengals

In 1967, an ownership group led by Paul Brown was granted a franchise in the American Football League. Brown named the team the Bengals in order "to give it a link with past professional football in Cincinnati". [10] Another Cincinnati Bengals team had existed in the city and played in three previous American Football Leagues [11] from 1937 to 1942. The city's world-renowned zoo was also home to a rare white Bengal tiger. However, possibly as an insult to Art Modell, or possibly as a homage to his own start as a head coach to the Massillon Tigers, Brown chose the exact shade of orange used by his former team. He added black as the secondary color. Brown chose a very simple logo: the word "BENGALS" in black lettering. One of the potential helmet designs Brown rejected was a striped motif that was similar to the helmets adopted by the team in 1981 and which is still in use to this day; however, that design featured yellow stripes on a turquoise helmet[ citation needed ] which were more uniform in width.

In 1966, the American Football League agreed to a merger with its older and more established rival, the National Football League. Among the terms of the merger was that the AFL was permitted to add one additional franchise. One of the reasons the NFL agreed to this was that they wanted an even number of clubs in the merged league, so a team needed to be added that brought the combined total number clubs in the merged league to twenty-six teams. The NFL was content for that team to be in the American Football League because it meant that the existing nine AFL clubs were the ones that had to provide players in the ensuing expansion draft and the NFL owners preferred for the ensuing dilution of talent to occur in what they had always considered to be an inferior league.[ citation needed ] For the AFL, a key motive behind their agreement to accept a new team was that the guarantee of an eventual place in the NFL meant the league could charge a steep expansion fee of $10 million–400 times the $25,000 the original eight owners paid when they founded the league in 1960. The cash from the new team provided the American Football League with the funds needed to pay the indemnities required to be paid by the AFL to the NFL, as stipulated by the merger agreement.

Prior to the merger being announced, Brown had not seriously considered joining the American Football League, and was not a supporter of what he openly regarded to be an inferior competition, once famously stating that "I didn't pay ten million dollars to be in the AFL." [12] However, with the announcement of the merger, Brown realized that the AFL expansion franchise would likely be his only realistic path back into the NFL in the short to medium term. He ultimately acquiesced to joining the AFL when after learning that the team was guaranteed to become an NFL franchise after the merger was completed in 1970.

There was also a complication: Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds were in need of a facility to replace the antiquated, obsolete Crosley Field, which they had used since 1912. Parking nightmares had plagued the city as far back as the 1950s, the little park lacked modern amenities, and New York City, which in 1957 had lost both its National League teams (the Dodgers and the Giants) to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively, was actively courting Reds owner Powel Crosley. However, Crosley was adamant that the Reds remain in Cincinnati and tolerated worsening problems with the Crosley Field location, which were exacerbated by the Mill Creek Expressway (I-75) project that ran alongside the park.

Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Bengals. Cincinnati-paul-brown-stadium2.jpg
Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Bengals.

With assistance from Ohio governor James A. Rhodes, Hamilton County and the Cincinnati city council agreed to build a single multi-purpose facility on the dilapidated riverfront section of the city. The new facility had to be ready by the opening of the 1970 NFL season and was officially named Riverfront Stadium. With the completion of the merger in 1970, the Cleveland Browns were one of three NFL teams that voluntarily moved to the AFL-based American Football Conference and placed in the AFC Central, the same division as the Bengals. An instant rivalry was born, fueled initially by Paul Brown's rivalry with Art Modell.

For their first two seasons, the Bengals played at Nippert Stadium which is the current home of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. [13] The team held training camp at Wilmington College in Wilmington, through the 1968 preseason. The team finished its first season with a 3–11 record [14] and running back Paul Robinson, who rushed for 1,023 yards, and was named the AFL Rookie of the Year. [15]

Quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver #84 T. J. Houshmandzadeh, and the rest of the Bengals line up to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. Carson Palmer under center.jpg
Quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver #84 T. J. Houshmandzadeh, and the rest of the Bengals line up to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006.

Founder Paul Brown coached the team for its first eight seasons. One of Brown's college draft strategies was to draft players with above-average intelligence. Punter/wide receiver Pat McInally attended Harvard University and linebacker Reggie Williams attended Dartmouth College and served on Cincinnati city council while on the Bengals' roster. Because of this policy, many former players were highly articulate and went on to have successful careers in commentary and broadcasting as well as the arts. In addition, Brown had a knack for locating and recognizing pro football talent in unusual places. [16]

In 1970, the Bengals moved to play at Riverfront Stadium, a home they shared with the Cincinnati Reds until the team moved to Paul Brown Stadium in 2000. The team reached the playoffs three times during that decade, but could not win any of those postseason games. In 1975, the team posted an 11–3 record, giving them what is to this day the highest winning percentage (.786) in franchise history. But it only earned them a wild card spot in the playoffs, behind the 12–2 Pittsburgh Steelers, who went on to win the Super Bowl. The Bengals lost to the Oakland Raiders 31–28 in the divisional playoffs. [17]

Andy Dalton takes a snap before a game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 1, 2012. QB Andy Dalton.jpg
Andy Dalton takes a snap before a game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 1, 2012.
The Bengals played against the 49ers in Super Bowl XVI (pictured) and XXIII, but lost in both games. 1986 Jeno's Pizza - 27 - Dan Bunz.jpg
The Bengals played against the 49ers in Super Bowl XVI (pictured) and XXIII, but lost in both games.

The Bengals reached the Super Bowl twice during the 1980s, but lost both times to the San Francisco 49ers. The team appeared in the playoffs in 1990, making it to the second round before losing to the Los Angeles Raiders. Before the following season got underway, Paul Brown died at age 82. He had already transferred control to his son, Mike Brown, but was reported to still influence the daily operations of the team. The Bengals' fortunes changed for the worse as the team posted 14 consecutive non-winning seasons and were saddled with numerous draft busts. They began to emerge from that dismal period into a new era of increased consistency, however, after the hiring of Marvin Lewis as head coach in 2003. Carson Palmer, the future star quarterback, was drafted in 2003, but did not play a snap that whole season, as Jon Kitna had a comeback year (voted NFL Comeback Player of the Year). Despite Kitna's success, Palmer was promoted to starting quarterback the following season. Under Palmer, the team advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1990 in the 2005 season, which also was the first time the team had a winning percentage above .500 since 1990.

The Bengals returned to the playoffs again in 2009 in a season that included the franchise's first ever division sweep. This was especially impressive since two of the teams swept by the Bengals (the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens) had both made it to the AFC Championship Game the previous season. Marvin Lewis was rewarded for the accomplishment with the NFL Coach of the Year Award. [18] In the 2010 season, the Bengals posted a 4–12 record.

Following the disappointing 2010 season, quarterback Carson Palmer demanded to be traded. When the Bengals refused to do so, Palmer announced his retirement from the NFL. He later was moved at the NFL trade deadline to the Oakland Raiders. In the 2011 NFL draft, the Bengals selected wide receiver AJ Green in the first round, and quarterback Andy Dalton in the second round. The Bengals improved to 9–7 in the 2011 season, and clinched a playoff spot. Dalton and Green became the most prolific rookie WR-QB duo in history, connecting 65 times for 1,057 yards. However, they lost to the Houston Texans 31–10 in the Wild Card Round. In the 2012 season, the Bengals clinched a playoff spot once more with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, going to the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1982. However, the Bengals faced the Texans in the first round yet again and took another early exit, losing 19–13.

In the 2013 season, for the third straight year, the Bengals clinched a playoff berth and also won the AFC North, finishing with an 11–5 record. But once again, the Bengals were defeated in the wild card round, this time by the San Diego Chargers, 27–10. Most of the blame was put on Andy Dalton, who threw 2 interceptions and fumbled on a forward dive. This made the Bengals 0–5 in playoff games since Mike Brown took over as owner. The 2014 season started well with the Bengals winning their first three contests against the Baltimore Ravens, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Tennessee Titans. However, they lost their week 5 matchup at the New England Patriots, 43–17. An overtime tie to the Carolina Panthers and shutout loss to the Indianapolis Colts followed the primetime loss to the Patriots. Finishing the season 10–5–1 as the 5th seed, they lost to the Colts, 26–10, in the first round of the playoffs. This was the first time the franchise made the playoffs four straight seasons.

In 2015, the Bengals got out to a franchise-best 8–0 start with a 31–10 win over the Cleveland Browns, but they then lost multiple consequtive games yet clinched a playoff berth. However, they lost to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, 18–16, in the Wild Card round in the final minute, making them the first franchise in NFL history to lose five straight opening round playoff games. This frustration continued in 2016 for the Bengals. The Bengals finished the 2016 campaign with a 6–9–1 record, losing several key players to injury including AJ Green, Giovani Bernard, and Jeremy Hill. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, marking the first time Andy Dalton missed the playoffs as the Bengals' starting quarterback. One notable game was a 27–27 tie against the Washington Redskins which was played in London in 2016. [19]

Following a rough 2016 season, the Bengals looked forward into 2017. However, after starting 0–3, the Bengals never found their footing. At one point in the season, the Bengals were 5–9. There were rumors that Marvin Lewis would not return for the next season as the Bengals' head coach. However, after two come-from-behind victories over the Lions and Ravens, that eliminated both teams from the playoffs, the Bengals finished 7–9. [20] The final two games were convincing enough for owner Mike Brown to give Lewis a new two-year contract. [21]

The 2018 campaign began with promise for the Bengals under Lewis. Cincinnati began the season with a 4-1 record with impressive wins over the Colts, Ravens, Falcons, and the Dolphins. However, the Bengals suffered many setbacks after the hot start. Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin was fired mid-season because of defensive woes, [22] AJ Green was injured and officially out for the last 4 games, and Andy Dalton injured his thumb in the Bengals' first game against the Browns and replaced by Jeff Driskel for the rest of the season. The Bengals ended 2018 with a final record of 6-10 and last place in the AFC North. On December 31, 2018, with one year to go on his contract, Lewis and the Bengals mutually parted ways after three straight losing seasons under his watch. [23]

Logos and uniforms

When the team debuted in 1968, the Bengals' uniforms were modeled after the Cleveland Browns. When Paul Brown was fired by Art Modell, Brown still owned the equipment used by Cleveland so, after the firing, Paul Brown packed up all his equipment which he then used for his new team in Cincinnati. The Cleveland Browns' team colors were brown, orange, and white, and their helmets were solid orange with a white dorsal stripe over the crest.

The Bengals' team colors were orange, black, and white, and their helmets were a similar shade of orange, with the only variations being the word "Bengals" in black block letters (with a white outline) on either side of the helmet and no stripe on the helmet. The Cincinnati Bengals were unique in the NFL as they did not have secondary uniform numbers on the jerseys (called TV numbers) until the 1980 season, when they appeared on the sleeves; they were the only NFL team that did not have them prior to that point. That same year, the team changed their helmet facemask color from gray to black. The team did not discard their Cleveland-like uniforms until 1981. During that year, a then-unique uniform design was introduced. Although the team kept black jerseys, white jerseys, and white pants, they were now trimmed with orange and black tiger stripes. The team also introduced the orange helmets with black tiger stripes that are still in use today.

In 1997, the Bengals designed a logo consisting of a leaping tiger, and it was added to the uniform sleeves (with this, the TV numbers moved to the shoulder). Another alternate logo consisted of a Bengal's head facing to the left. However, the orange helmet with black tiger stripes continued to be the trademark. In 2004, a new tiger stripe pattern and more accents were added to the uniforms. The black jerseys now featured orange tiger-striped sleeves and white side panels, while the white jerseys began to use black tiger-striped sleeves and orange shoulders. [24] A new logo consisting of an orange "B" covered with black tiger stripes was introduced. [25] The team also started rotating black pants and debuted an alternate orange jersey, with white side panels and black tiger-striped sleeves. The Bengals have worn their black uniforms at home throughout their history, with some exceptions such as the 1970 season when the Bengals wore white at home for the entire season, and most of the 1971 season. Since 2005, the Bengals wear white for September home games where the heat could become a factor.

Mascots

The team's official mascot is a Bengal tiger named Who Dey. [4] Aside from Who Dey, the team also has the Cincinnati Ben–Gals, the team's cheerleading squad, [26] which included Laura Vikmanis, the oldest cheerleader in league history. [27]

Contributions to NFL culture

No-huddle offense

A no-huddle offense was commonly used by all teams when time in the game was running low. However, Sam Wyche, the head coach of the Bengals in 1988, along with offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet, made the high-paced offense the standard modality for the ball club regardless of time remaining. By quickly substituting and setting up for the next play—often within 5–10 seconds after the last play despite being afforded 45 seconds—the Bengals hindered the other team's defense from substituting situational players, regrouping for tactical purpose, and resting. In response the NFL instituted rules allowing the defense ample time for substitutions when offensive substitutions were made.

The hurry-up tactic was used by the franchise during the late 1980s while Sam Wyche was the coach. A rival for AFC supremacy during this time was the Buffalo Bills, coached by Marv Levy, who also used a version of the no-huddle offense starting with the 1989 season. The Bengals had beaten the Bills three times in 1988 (pre-season, regular season, and the AFC Championship Game). Marv Levy threatened to fake injuries if the Bengals used the "no-huddle" in the AFC Championship. Wyche was notified that the commissioner had ordered the "no-huddle" illegal for the game. The official notified Wyche and the Bengals' team just two hours before the game kickoff. Wyche asked to talk directly to the commissioner and word immediately came back that the "no-huddle" would not be penalized. Levy did not have his players fake injuries in the game, but installed his version the next year, 1989. The Bengals first used the "no-huddle" in 1984. Most of the high-profile games (the various games for AFC titles and regular season games) between the two led to these changes in NFL rules. Wyche also first used the timeout periods as an opportunity to bring his entire team to the sideline to talk to all eleven players, plus substitutes, at one time. This allowed trainers time to treat a cut or bruise and equipment managers time to repair an equipment defect.

West Coast offense

The West Coast offense is the popular name for the high-percentage passing scheme designed by former Bengals assistant Bill Walsh. Walsh formulated what has become popularly known as the West Coast offense during his tenure as assistant coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968 to 1975, while working under the tutelage of Brown (and before embarking on his legendary coaching tenure with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s). Bengals quarterback Virgil Carter was the first player to successfully implement Walsh's system, leading the NFL in pass completion percentage in 1971. Ken Anderson replaced Carter as Cincinnati's starting quarterback in 1972 and was even more successful. In 1975 he would bring widespread recognition to the West Coast offense as well as to the Cincinnati team and its quarterback in a nationally televised Monday night contest between the Bengals and a Buffalo Bills team built around the running game of star player O.J. Simpson. Anderson's 447 passing yards were enough to overcome Simpson's 197 yards on the ground in a game that proved a milestone, providing a striking contrast between the "old" game of defense-minded football and the new game of higher scores and more action through a sophisticated aerial attack. The game, in effect, offered its viewers a glimpse of the future of professional football. Anderson, who was drafted by Paul Brown in 1971 and installed as starting quarterback in 1972, made four trips to the Pro Bowl, won four passing titles, was named NFL MVP in 1981, and set the record for completion percentage in a single season in 1982 with 70.66%. Defeated frequently during the 1970s by the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that won four Super Bowls with 9 future Hall of Fame players, the Bengals under Anderson and head coach Forrest Gregg would finally break through the Steel Curtain, defeating the Steelers during both of their meetings in 1980 and again in 1981. Anderson, who had been named the "team franchise" by Bengal tight end Bob Trumpy, would ultimately prove his worth with a career record of 91 wins and 81 losses, making him, to date, the Bengals' only winning quarterback.

Zone blitz

The defense created to combat the West Coast offense also came from Cincinnati. Then-Bengals defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau (who later served as the team's head coach from 2000–2002) created the zone blitz in the 1980s in response to the West Coast offense.

Season-by-season records

Players of note

Current roster

Cincinnati Bengals roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics

Roster updated October 9, 2019
Depth chartTransactions
53 active, 8 inactive, 11 practice squad

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Retired numbers

Cincinnati Bengals retired numbers
No.PlayerPositionSeasonsRetired
54 Bob Johnson C 1968–79December 17, 1978

Pro Football Hall of Fame members

Three members of the Hall of Fame have spent some portion of their career with the Bengals, only one spent their entire career with the Bengals. Bengals founder and former coach Paul Brown is also in the Hall of Fame, however he was inducted before founding the Bengals and therefore is not recognized as a Bengals Hall of Famer.

Cincinnati Bengals Hall of Famers
Players
No.NamePosition(s)Season(s)Inducted
18 Charlie Joiner WR 1972–19751996 [28]
78 Anthony Muñoz OT 1980–19921998 [29]
81 Terrell Owens WR 20102018

Cincinnati Bengals individual awards

40th anniversary team

In 2007, in celebration of their 40th anniversary the Bengals named an all-time team voted on by the fans. [30]

OffenseDefense
Carson Palmer QB Justin Smith DE
James Brooks RB Ross Browner DE
Ickey Woods FB Tim Krumrie DT
Chad Johnson WR Mike Reid DT
T. J. Houshmandzadeh WR Reggie Williams LB
Dan Ross TE Takeo Spikes LB
Anthony Muñoz T Brian Simmons LB
Willie Anderson T Ken Riley CB
Max Montoya G Lemar Parrish CB
Dave Lapham G David Fulcher S
Rich Braham C Solomon Wilcots S
Special Teams
Shayne Graham (K), Lee Johnson (P)

Coaching staff

Head coaches

Current staff

Cincinnati Bengals staff
Front office
  • President/general manager – Mike Brown
  • Executive vice president – Katie Blackburn
  • Vice president – Troy Blackburn
  • Vice president of player personnel – Paul Brown
  • Director of player personnel – Duke Tobin
  • Personnel executive – Bill Tobin
  • Scouting director(College) – Mike Potts
  • Scouting director(Pro) – Steven Radicivec
Head coach
Offensive coaches
 
Defensive coaches
  • Defensive coordinator – Lou Anarumo
  • Defensive line – Nick Eason
  • Linebackers – Tem Lukabu
  • Secondary/cornerbacks – Daronte Jones
  • Secondary/safeties – Robert Livingston
  • Senior defensive assistant – Mark Duffner
  • Defensive assistant – Gerald Chatman
  • Defensive quality control – Jordan Kovacs
Special teams coaches
  • Special teams coordinator – Darrin Simmons
  • Assistant special teams – Brayden Coombs
Strength and conditioning
  • Strength and conditioning – Joey Boese
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Todd Hunt
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Garrett Swanson
Support staff
  • Director of coaching operations – Doug Rosfeld

Coaching staff
Management
More NFL staffs

AFC East
BUF
MIA
NE
NYJ
North
BAL
CIN
CLE
PIT
South
HOU
IND
JAX
TEN
West
DEN
KC
LAC
OAK
NFC East
DAL
NYG
PHI
WAS
North
CHI
DET
GB
MIN
South
ATL
CAR
NO
TB
West
ARI
LAR
SF
SEA

Radio and television

The Bengals contract with iHeartMedia as their radio partner, with their flagship radio stations being WCKY (1530) and WEBN (102.7 FM), along with WLW (700) if not in conflict with the Reds. Most preseason and regular season games, are telecast on CBS affiliate WKRC-TV (channel 12). The current TV announcers for preseason games are Dan Hoard on play-by-play, and Dave Lapham as analyst. [31]

Chant

"Who Dey?!" is the name of a chant of support by fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, in use since the 1980s. The entire chant is: "Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?" The answer screamed in unison, "Nobody." Sometimes fans will instead shout "Who Dey?" to represent the entire cheer. "Who Dey" is also the name of the team's mascot, a Bengal tiger. [4]

The Who Dey chant was first known to be used by fans of the 1980 Cincinnati Bengals. While the origin of the chant is unsettled, one possible source for the chant is a 1980 commercial for (the now-defunct) Red Frazier Ford of Cincinnati, which used this tagline: "Who's going to give you a better deal than Red Frazier?...Nobody!" Cincinnati fans who had seen the commercial many times may have just copied it when cheering. [32]

The Who Dey chant is also steeped in local beer lore. Hudy, a leading product of Hudepohl Brewing Company through the late 1980s, bears a phonetic similarity to the "Who Dey" chant. Beer vendors who carried full cases of bottled local beer up and down the steep upper stairs of what was then Riverfront Stadium would call out "If Hudy", "Berger" and other local beer names. Raucous fans would often chant back and forth with them as the vendors called out. During the 1980 season the banter with the Hudepohl vendors grew organically into the now famous (Hu-Dey) -Who They?- chant. [33]

The chant bears some similarities to the phrase "Who Dat?", which was officially adopted by the New Orleans Saints in 1979 but had been used by Louisiana's high school team fans for some time. The saying "Who Dat?" originated in minstrel shows and vaudeville acts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then it was taken up by New Orleans Jazz and various Big band folks in the 1920s and 1930s. In the late 1960s, local Louisiana High Schools, St. Augustine High School and Patterson High School reportedly have been using the cheer and Gulf Coast fans of Alcorn State University and Louisiana State University picked up the cheer in the 1970s. Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana claims to have originated the cheer in the late 1960s in their version: "Who dat talking 'bout beating dem Jags?" [34]

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