Why the Bengals’ past means nothing in regards to their future

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Is it impossible for the Cincinnati Bengals to win a Super Bowl simply because they have never won one in their past? 

A popular narrative this off-season surrounded around the idea that the Cincinnati Bengals are a bad franchise, in part because they have never won a championship. Most national pundits look at Cincinnati as an afterthought when it comes to winning the Super Bowl. But, is this really a fair take?

Granted, it is true, you won’t find a Lombardi trophy gracing the halls of Paul Brown Stadium. However, let’s look at the history of what is considered some of the more “successful” franchises in the NFL for reference to see if this theory holds water.

First, let’s look at the New England Patriots. This franchise is considered by most as the gold standard in the NFL. The Patriots were formed in the AFL in 1960 before eventually merging along with other franchises into the NFL. New England would go on to win 6 Super Bowls, a historic amount.

With that said, when did the Patriots win their first? The answer to that would be 2001. That’s right, it only took New England 41 years to become a championship team. They did manage to have 2 Super Bowl appearances prior to that first win, however. Sound familiar?

How about the San Francisco 49ers. This historic franchise has won 5 Super Bowl titles, with the first coming in 1981. Suffice to say they have accomplished amazing things since their beginning in 1946. Yes, you read that right, between 1946 and 1981, the legendary 49ers accomplished absolutely nothing, at least in terms of championships.

What about the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers. Surely their greatness was there from the beginning, wasn’t it? While they have been a fairly consistent winner since earning their first Lombardi way back in 1974, Pittsburg has been around since 1933. So for 41 years, even the Steelers were an afterthought.

The point is, just because a franchise hasn’t won a Super Bowl doesn’t mean they are incapable of doing so. No great franchise starts out great. Over time they become better. It can take years and as has been pointed out here, decades to reach such a level. What all these franchises have in common is they found the right coach and the right quarterback and that is where it starts.

Of course, there is no way of knowing if Zac Taylor and Joe Burrow are going to be the connection that takes the Bengals to this level of greatness. It is far to early to tell, but they certainly could. One thing is for sure, it is a new and exciting era in Cincinnati and optimism is high, as it should be.

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Just keep this in mind. It may not happen in one year, it could even take a number of years. However, all signs say that the Bengals are heading in the right direction. Also, keep this mind, as an example. No one believed John Elway could when a Super Bowl until he did. The notion that the Bengals can’t win a Super Bowl all because they haven’t yet, is simply ludicrous.