Now onto the Thomas Jefferson spot of Mt. Rushmore. The second spot to be held is for Norman Julius “Boomer” Esiason. Boomer set 17 school records at the University of Maryland and finished his college career with over 6,000 passing yards. As an NFL quarterback, he finished in the top 10 in many statistical categories. Esiason faced many challenges including adapting the no huddle offense in which he ran to perfection. He led the Bengals to their second super bowl appearance against Joe Montana and the juggernaut 49ers and was a dropped interception and 34 seconds away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Esiason has since gone on to become one of the most successful television personalities in the NFL.
Thirdly is the Theodore Roosevelt spot in Mount Rushmore. This one won’t be all that popular, but has to go to Carson Hilton Palmer. Palmer was the first overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft and wasted no time signing his tender so he could get started. Not so fast though, the Bengals opted to bench Palmer his entire rookie season, while learning from then starter, Jon Kitna. After a 1-4 start in 2004, Palmer led the Bengals to a 7-4 finish, ending the season at 8-8 with wins over the Broncos on Monday Night Football, and at Baltimore where the Bengals had to come from behind in the 4th quarter to win.
Palmer led the Bengals to their first winning season in 15 years, winning the division and hosting a home playoff game against the rival Steelers in 2005. The Bengals finished 11-5 and Palmer threw for 32 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions and led the NFL in completion percentage. Palmer finished his Bengals career with 22,694 passing yards, 154 touchdowns and an overall quarterback rating of 86.2. Face it, Palmer deserves to be up there and even though his departure from Cincinnati was downright ugly, he helped turn the Bengals into what they are today.