4. Coy Bacon, Cincinnati Bengals, 1976-1977
This is where I will get heat. Coy Bacon was acquired via trade with the San Diego Chargers. The Bengals acquired Bacon by sending future Hall of Fame WR Charlie Joiner to the Chargers. Bacon was a phenomenal defensive end, but he only played 2 seasons in Cincinnati. He put up fantastic numbers both seasons, but it’s hard to put him above people who played for the Bengals longer. He was an important piece in the greatness of the 1976 Bengals defense. He set the Bengals single-season sack record that year with 22. There are some discrepancies over his actual sack numbers from that season.
The Bengals began keeping track of individual sacks in 1976, but it was not an official stat of the NFL. Some outlets report his sack total as 21.5 for the season, but the Bengals official records report his total as 22. Bacon played so well in his 2 seasons that he went to the Pro Bowl in both 1976 and 1977. Had Bacon spent more time in Cincinnati, he could have potentially been the best DE in team history. Some people already hold him in or near that regard. He definitely had the best single season of a Bengals DE in their history.
The 1976 and 1977 seasons were phenomenal, but he still almost didn’t make my list. There is something to be said for longevity and Coy just didn’t have that in a Bengals uniform. Before the 1978 season, the Bengals sent Coy Bacon and Lemar Parrish to the Redskins for a first round draft pick.
By the Numbers: 2 seasons, 26 games played, 98 total tackles, 27.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 1 safety