The Cincinnati Bengals are celebrating fifty years of football in the Queen City. This is the year to honor the franchise’s best players and the remembrance of the greatest games and top accomplishments. However, it’s also a year of numbers.
A fifty-year anniversary of football in the Queen City is one for the books. It’s a year to remember the best and worst times in the franchise’s history and for the current team to put a product out on the field that will continue to make fans feel good about cheering for the Orange & Black stripes.
As Stripe Hype reminds the youngsters of the greatness of the Bengals, Who Dey Nation must realize that it’s about a year of numbers. Specifically, 50, 26, 15, seven and one.
The first number is self-explanatory. fifty years of Bengals football. From Ki-Jana Carter and Akili Smith to Ken Anderson and Chad Johnson. From the Freezer Bowl and Super Bowl XXII to the Meltdown at Paul Brown and Corey Dillon’s 278-yard rushing performance against the Denver Broncos. His effort would break Walter Payton’s single game rushing record.
There have been so many great moments in the Bengals history. And even though some of these moments came under a loss or a losing season, it reminds you of how amazing it is to be a Bengals fan.
I become a fan of the Bengals around 2007. I was nine years old and had just started playing football myself. The first game I can remember was a December 30 matchup with the Miami Dolphins. My brother is a die-hard Dolphins fan so, naturally, I had to go against him. The Bengals beat the Dolphins that day 38-25 and Chad Johnson had 4 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals became my favorite team and Johnson instantly became my favorite player of all time.
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Since then there have been a bunch of great moments, the T.Ocho show, Jerome Simpson’s flip, the emergence of Vontaze Burfict, just about every game when A.J. Green plays the Ravens, all of Chad’s touchdown celebrations. I’ve only really witnessed ten great Bengals seasons I could only imagine seeing all fifty.
Despite the 50th anniversary, the next number is 26. For die-hard fans, you know what this number represents. Twenty-six years without a playoff win. Wow. That’s rough.
The last time the Bengals won a playoff game was in 1991. The Bengals crushed the Houston Oilers 41-14 but were later beaten by the Oakland Raiders 20-10 in the Divisional Round.
Cincinnati has been a fixture in the playoffs every year in the Andy Dalton-A.J. Green era except for last season. Carson Palmer and Johnson were also able to pull Cincinnati out of the 1990’s “Bungles” image a couple of times. However, the result has been the same.
Fifteen stands for the number of years Marvin Lewis has been in control of Cincinnati. That’s a pretty amazing number considering he hasn’t won a playoff game. Despite his long tenure, fifteen could be the last year of the Marvin Lewis Era if he doesn’t show Mike Brown what he needs to see. Certainly, that must mean Super Bowl or bust. Yeah, probably not. Mike Brown is very loyal to Lewis. So, possibly, a trip to the playoffs or just one playoff win could keep him in town.
The Final Two
The number seven represents the number that the Dalton-Green era will be entering. Dalton and Green have been blessings to the Cincinnati organization. Say what you want about Dalton, but he gets the job done…most of the time. The Dalton-Green connection is one of the best in NFL history, however, they are missing one thing.
That one thing is what the entire organization is missing. The thing that number one represents: a Super Bowl Ring and Lombardi.
It’s time for the Bengals to finally hoist a trophy and be the last team standing. The talent is already there. How great would it be on the 50th anniversary for the Bengals to get that first ring and accomplish something no Bengals team has been able to do before them. It’s a perfect scenario. Cincy is known to bounce back and head to the playoffs after a down year. Could this be the season for Cincinnati?