Zac Taylor entered the 2021 season with just six wins as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. This year, he’s led the team to 10 wins and a division title in just the third year of his tenure. It’s a huge moment for a guy who was criticized heavily in his first two years and he couldn’t be prouder of his players.
Following the Bengals’ 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, which clinched the AFC North for Cincinnati, Taylor spoke with the media and was tearing up when discussing how much this honor means to him.
Everyone around the league predicted the AFC North would be competitive and as a result, that’d make it tough for the Bengals to get into the playoffs or secure a winning record. But they defied the odds and did both.
When asked why he was so emotional about the division title, Taylor said the media has seen what he and the team have gone through in the past two years. They won just two games in Taylor’s first season and then last year won four total games but lost their rookie quarterback after just 10 games due to injury.
Zac Taylor couldn’t hold back the tears after the Bengals won the AFC North
In the final minutes of the game, the Bengals were faced with 4th and Inches and Taylor elected to go for it rather than to kick the field goal. The Chiefs ended up getting penalized, which gave Cincy a fresh set of downs and the opportunity to kick the game-winning field goal in the final seconds, which they did.
Taylor said the reason he elected to go for it was that the team had to go and wrap up the division. They did just that.
Taylor also provided an update on Joe Burrow’s injury, noting that his right knee was twisted up during those final key plays. He said he didn’t think it was anything major, which is music to Bengals fans’ ears.
This team won just four games a year ago and held the No. 5 overall pick. Fast forward to present day and they’re division champs and going to the playoffs. Taylor said this team had to earn everything and that they didn’t skip any steps.
I know we all have our opinions on Taylor — and for good reason — but how can fans not be happy for Taylor? The guy has proven himself to be a good leader and the players love him. He makes dumb decisions sometimes but he helped get this team to this point and he should definitely be a Coach of the Year candidate.
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Bravo, Zac Taylor. Bravo.