1. The Leaping Tiger (1997-2003)
In 1997 an alternate logo was introduced to the world, the fan favorite “leaping tiger”. This new alternative logo coincided with the release of a new uniform, one that put the leaping tiger on the outside of both sleeves.
Above the leaping tiger on each sleeve is a patch of orange and black stripes on the shoulder pads plus black and orange tiger stripes down the outside of the pants. This looked more like stripes and less like someone drew on stripes. They kept the orange and black stripe helmet with a black face mask.
The numbers were very large, very old school, the color of the number would alternate with the jersey color both outlined with a small orange line. It feels odd to say the Bengals' best uniform was during arguably their worst era of football.
Maybe it is a nostalgia thing. My first jersey was a Corey Dillon jersey with the leaping tigers. But, fans agree that the leaping tiger is a beloved logo and many want them to bring it back in some capacity. Unfortunately, they won't.
"The thing with a tiger logo is there’s a lot of schools on the high school, college, professional level that have a tiger logo. And so for us, with the Bengals ‘B’, it’s something that’s unique to us, and when people see it they know it represents the Bengals."- Dadio Makdook
It’d be a shame to never see that leaping Bengal ever again, but we can always dream. This uniform was simplistic yet had something completely new, modern NFL uniforms will probably never be this clean again. They should bring this style back for at least a game or two, maybe a slate of Christmas games.