Former Cincinnati Bengals QB John Stofa dies at 79

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback John Stofa tragically passed away at 79 years old. He didn’t have a long career in the NFL, but he made a big impact.

Former NFL quarterback John Stofa was one of the most important members of the entire Cincinnati Bengals franchise. He was the first ever player to be named to the team, and though he only played with the Bengals for their inaugural season, he helped bring the team to success. He tragically passed away on April 24, and the Bengals are mourning the loss.

Stofa meant a lot to the Bengals franchise, and he is remembered by many. He only played 27 games over a five year career, but he stood out for his talent and values in life. He held pride in being the first Bengal and displayed a license plate reading, “1ST BNGL” according to the Bengals official website.

He also displayed a strong relationship with and high level of respect for Bengals co-founder and former coach Paul Brown.

In the Hobson’s Choice Podcast on, Stofa said of Brown, “We talked not only football but personal, too. He was a good guy … People don’t understand. They’d see that tough looking image out there and (say) this guy doesn’t care about anything. It’s not true. He does care about the players and how they were doing personally.”

He held a special spot in his heart for the Bengals, and the Bengals did the same for him.

The Bengals franchise publicly mourn the loss of John Stofa

Stofa played the majority of his five-year career with the Miami Dolphins, but he made a brief stop in Cincinnati to become their first-ever player. His legacy with the team has been remembered ever since. The franchise has gone through different generations of owners, and the level of respect for Stofa has remained the same over the decades.

Paul Brown passed the franchise down to his son, Mike Brown, who is the current owner of the team. Mike wasn’t involved in the franchise when Stofa was, but he expressed the meaning he still has to the Bengals, past and present. Mike was a long-time friend of Stofa.

"“He was more than [the original Bengal] to a lot of us. Just a really good guy we’ve known for a long time. He had a lot of values we cherish. We admired the way he lived his life.” -Mike Brown, via"

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Stofa played a big role in the development of the Bengals, and his legacy will always be remembered by the organization and the fans.