With a win on Sunday in Pittsburgh against a Steelers team that will be fighting for it’s playoff life, Andy Dalton can accomplish something only one other quarterback in the franchise’s 44-year history has manged to do in Bengals stripes: Lead his team to back-to-back playoff appearances.
Only Ken Anderson has been able to make that claim after he led the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI in 1982, followed by a trip to the AFC playoffs in 1983 that ended in a first-round exit. Neither Carson Palmer nor Boomer Esiason, two former Bengals who hold numerous franchise passing records, were ever able to guide their teams to repeat playoff appearances.
While such a feat seems dwarfed when compared to a Steelers franchise who has more Super Bowl wins (6) than the Bengals have playoff wins all-time (5), one must remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a Bengals team constructed mostly of second and third-year players shouldn’t be expected to carry the franchise to new heights in such a short time.
Nevertheless, they’ll have a golden opportunity to help the Bengals take a tremendous step as a franchise this Sunday when they face their hated AFC North rivals. These opportunities simply don’t come around very often. Will the Bengals take advantage? We’ll know by day’s end this Sunday.