The Cincinnati Bengals are entering the postseason for the second straight year and for the first time maybe in the franchise's history, the team and the fans are confident heading into the playoffs.
You see, before last year's magical run to the Super Bowl, the Bengals weren't exactly a threat in the playoffs. In fact, following the team's loss in the Wild Card round in the 1989 season, the Bengals went 0-8 in playoff games until last year.
Before we dive into that part of the Bengals' history, let's take it all the way back to the beginning.
Bengals playoff history
The Bengals played their first season in 1968 and made the playoffs for the first time in 1970. They lost in the Wild Card round to the Baltimore Colts, enduring a 17-0 shutout on the road.
In 1973 and 1975, the Bengals were also one-and-done in the playoffs, losing to the Dolphins and the Raiders respectively. The loss to the Raiders was their first close playoff loss, as they only lost by three points.
It'd be six years before Cincinnati punched their ticket to the playoffs again and it was a magical run for the stripes. They finally won a playoff game in the 1982 playoffs, getting past the Bills in the divisional round and then destroying the Chargers in the championship game, also known as the "Freezer Bowl".
While the Bengals went on to lose to the 49ers in the Super Bowl, they proved that they could win in the playoffs and that was something the fans needed to see.
The next year the Bengals were bounced from the playoffs quickly but the next time they made it, which was the 1988 season, saw them reach the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history. That playoff journey started with comfortable wins over the Seahawks and Bills before once again falling to the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Two seasons later, the Bengals reached the postseason and recorded what would be their only playoff win for 22 years, which came against the Houston Oilers. The Bengals then fell to the Los Angeles Raiders the next week and failed to win another playoff game until the year 2022.
The Bengals finished the 2021 season with a 10-7 record and managed to shock the world by winning the AFC North despite winning just six games in the previous two years. What changed was that Joe Burrow had his rookie season under his belt and was ready to lead the charge in the Queen City and that's exactly what happened.
The Bengals ended their playoff losing streak against the Raiders, which was the very same team that the streak started against. The next week, they headed to Nashville to play the No. 1 seeded Tennessee Titans and despite not playing their best ball, the defense showed up in the biggest moments and Evan McPherson kicked the team into the AFC Championship game.
The next week, against all odds, the Bengals came back in historic fashion against the Chiefs, who had won the AFC the past two years. Cincinnati fell behind early in the game but ended up forcing overtime and McPherson once again kicked the team to victory.
The Super Bowl, sadly, didn't go Cincinnati's way once again despite the whole "Third time's the charm" saying. They came close to beating the Rams and being the champions of the NFL but the offensive line crumpled down the stretch and couldn't hold up long enough to let Joe Burrow make a big throw to Ja'Marr Chase.
That's the Cincinnati Bengals' playoff history to this point in time. How far will the stripes get this time around?