Bengals News

Ghosts From the Past

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The Curse of Joe Montana

Ken Anderson took over at the quarterback position for the Bengals in 1971 and quickly became one of the best in the league, posting great numbers, even during the Dead Ball era. He led the team to several winning seasons, and more than one trip to the playoffs. In the 1982 playoffs, they made it all the way to the Super Bowl. The 1980s also saw the Bengals make a second Super Bowl after the 1988 season, this time lead by Boomer Esiason. Unfortunately for the Bengals franchise, and for beleaguered Bengals fans, in both of these instances, they met the San Francisco 49ers. In 1982, the Niners jumped out to a big lead, and although the Bengals fought valiantly, they were unable to make it all the way back, losing 26-21. A young QB named Montana was making his first playoff appearance that year and wound up as Super Bowl MVP. The rematch in 1989 serves as the most heart-breaking moment in team history. Cincinnati held a 16-13 lead with three minutes to go. That same Niners QB, now a playoff veteran and two-time champion, proceeded to lead a 92-yard drive capped by a championship winning TD pass to John Taylor. This game haunts Bengals fans even today. The added torment of a freak injury to defensive lineman Tim Krumrie makes it worse, as a lot of people think the Bengals win if he doesn’t get hurt. Montana was again great, even though Jerry Rice was named MVP. Two trips to the Super Bowl is more than a lot of teams have had, but two losses by less than a TD apiece to the same team is just another example of the bad luck in Cincinnati. There are few teams more hated by Bengals fans than the 49ers, and Joe Montana‘s specter hangs over the franchise like a black cloud.