|Established 1968 |
Play in and headquartered in Paul Brown Stadium
American Football League (1968–1969)
|Team colors||Black, Orange, White
|Mascot||Bengal tiger (Who Dey)|
|Head coach||Zac Taylor|
|League championships (0)
|Conference championships (2)
|Division championships (7)
The Cincinnati Bengals are a professional American football team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are members of the AFC's North Division in the National Football League (NFL). The Bengals began play in 1968 as an expansion team in the American Football League (AFL), and joined the NFL in 1970 in the AFL-NFL Merger.
The Bengals are named after an earlier team that played from 1937–1941. They play their home games at Paul Brown Stadium in Downtown Cincinnati and currently conduct summer training camp at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. The Bengals played in Super Bowl XVI and XXIII and have won seven division championships and made nine playoff appearances. The Bengals are now in their forty-third season. Of those forty three seasons, the Bengals have posted winning records only twelve times and only twice in the past twenty seasons.
The franchise takes its name from an earlier Cincinnati Bengals team, which played from 1937–1941.
In 1967 an ownership group led by Paul Brown was granted a franchise in the American Football League. Brown named the team the Bengals in order "to give it a link with past professional football in Cincinnati."  Another Bengals team had existed in the city and played in three previous American Football Leagues from 1937 to 1942. The city's world-renowned zoo was also home to a rare white Bengal Tiger. However, possibly as an insult to Art Modell, Paul Brown chose the exact shade of orange used by his former team. He added black as the secondary color. Brown chose a very simple logo: the word "BENGALS" in black lettering. One of the potential helmet designs Brown rejected was a striped motif that was similar to the helmets adopted by the team in 1981 and which is still in use to this day; however, that design featured orange stripes on a black helmet which were more uniform in width.
Brown was not a supporter of the rival American Football League, stating that "I didn't pay ten million dollars to be in the AFL."  He only acquiesced to joining the AFL when he was guaranteed that the team would become an NFL franchise after the impending merger of the two leagues.
There was also a complication: Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds were in need of a facility to replace the antiquated, obsolete Crosley Field, which they had used since 1912. Parking nightmares had plagued the city as far back as the 1950s, the little park lacked modern amenities, and New York City, which in 1957 had lost both its National League teams (the Dodgers and the Giants) to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively, was actively courting Reds owner Powel Crosley. However, Crosley was adamant that the Reds remain in Cincinnati and tolerated worsening problems with the Crosley Field location, which were exacerbated by the Millcreek Expressway (I-75) project that ran alongside the park.
With assistance from Ohio governor James A. Rhodes, Hamilton County and the Cincinnati city council agreed to build a single multi-purpose facility on the dilapidated riverfront section of the city. The new facility had to be ready by the opening of the 1970 NFL season and was officially named Riverfront Stadium, which was its working title.
With the completion of the merger in 1970, the Cleveland Browns were moved to the AFL-based American Football Conference and placed in the AFC Central, the same division as the Bengals. An instant rivalry was born, fueled initially by Paul Brown's rivalry with Art Modell. The teams have since met on Monday Night Football twice, the Bengals winning each time.
For their inaugural season, the Bengals played at Nippert Stadium which is the current home of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. The team finished its first season with a 3–11 record, although one bright spot was running back Paul Robinson. Robinson rushed for 1,023 yards and was named the AFL Rookie of the Year.
Founder Paul Brown coached the team for its first eight seasons. One of Brown’s college draft strategies was to draft players with above-average intelligence. Punter/wide receiver Pat McInally attended Harvard University and linebacker Reggie Williams attended Dartmouth College and served on Cincinnati city council while on the Bengals’ roster. Because of this policy, many former players were highly articulate and went on to have successful careers in commentary and broadcasting as well as the arts. In addition, Brown had a knack for locating and recognizing pro football talent in unusual places.
In 1970 the Bengals moved to play at Riverfront Stadium, a home they shared with the Cincinnati Reds until the team moved to Paul Brown Stadium in 2000. The team would reach the playoffs three times during that decade, but could not win any of those postseason games. In 1975, the team posted an 11–3 record, giving them what is to this day the highest winning percentage (.786) in franchise history. But it only earned them a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, behind the 12–2 Pittsburgh Steelers, who went on to win the Super Bowl, and Bengals lost to the Oakland Raiders 31–28 in the divisional playoffs.
The Bengals would reach the Super Bowl twice during the 1980s, but lost both times to the San Francisco 49ers. Then, after the team appeared in the playoffs in 1990, Paul Brown died. He had already transferred control to his son, Mike Brown, but was reported to still influence the daily operations of the team. The Bengals' fortunes changed for the worse as the team would post 14 consecutive non-winning seasons. They began to emerge from that dismal period into a new era of increased consistency, however, after hiring Marvin Lewis as head coach in 2003. Carson Palmer, the future star quarterback, was drafted in 2003, but did not play a snap that whole season, as Jon Kitna had a comeback year (voted NFL Comeback Player of the Year). Despite Kitna's success, Palmer was promoted to starting quarterback the following season. Under Palmer, the team advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1990 in the 2005 season, which marked the first time the team had a winning percentage above .500 since 1990.
The Bengals returned to the playoffs again in 2009 in a season that included the franchise's first ever division sweep. This was especially impressive since two of the teams swept by the Bengals (the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens) had both made it to the AFC Championship Game the previous season. Marvin Lewis was rewarded for the accomplishment with the NFL Coach of the Year Award.
Meanwhile, Paul Brown Stadium was built for the 2000 season using private and public money. In tribute to his father, Mike Brown refused corporate offers to have the stadium renamed for their company which became a trend in the NFL and other sports teams around that time.
In 2010, the Bengals posted a 4-12 record.
Logos and uniforms
When the team debuted in 1968, the Bengals' uniforms were modeled after the Cleveland Browns. When Paul Brown was fired by Art Modell, Brown still had ownership of the equipment used by Cleveland. So after the firing, Paul Brown packed up all his equipment, which he then used for his new team in Cincinnati. The Cleveland Browns' team colors were orange, brown and white, and their helmets were solid orange with a white dorsal stripe over the crest.
The Bengals' team colors were orange, black and white, and their helmets were a similar shade of orange, with the only variations being the word "Bengals" in block letters on either side of the helmet and no stripe on the helmet. The Cincinnati Bengals were unique in the NFL as they did not have uniform numbers on the players sleeves until the 1980 season.
The team did not discard their Cleveland-like uniforms until 1981. During that year, a then-unique uniform design was introduced. Although the team kept black jerseys, white jerseys, and white pants, they were now trimmed with orange and black tiger stripes. The team also introduced orange helmets with black tiger stripes.
In 1997, the Bengals designed an alternate logo consisting of a leaping tiger, and it was added to the uniform sleeves. They also designed an alternate logo consisting of a Bengal's head facing to the left. However, the orange helmet with black tiger stripes continued to be the team's primary trademark.
In 2004, a new tiger stripe pattern and more accents were added to the uniforms. The black jerseys now featured orange sleeves, while the white jerseys began to use black sleeves and orange shoulders. A new logo consisting of an orange "B" covered with black tiger stripes was introduced. The team also started rotating black pants and debuted an alternate orange jersey.
The Bengals have primarily worn their black uniforms at home throughout their history, except during the 1970 season when the Bengals wore white at home for the entire season, and most of the 1971 season. In 2001, 2002, 2005 and onwards the Bengals wore white at home for preseason games as well as September home games due to the heat.
However in 2009 the team along with the Dolphins despite being an AFL team did not wear a throwback for the season due to the team not being an original AFL franchise.
Contributions to NFL culture
No Huddle Offense
A No-Huddle Offense was commonly used by all teams when time in the game was running low. However, Sam Wyche, the head coach of the Bengals in 1988, along with offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet, made the high-paced offense the standard modality for the ball club regardless of time remaining. By quickly setting up for the next play (often within 5–10 seconds after the last play despite being afforded 45 seconds) this hindered the other team's defense from substituting situational players, regrouping for tactics, and, some suggest, increased the defense's rate of fatigue (This is attributed to the belief that the offense dictates when a play starts so they tend to be more mentally relaxed and prepared for the start of a play where the defense must remain on a higher level of alert before the play starts). In response the NFL instituted several rules related to this tactic:
- Allowing the defense ample time for substitutions (if offensive substitutions are made);
- If a player's injury causes the play-clock to stop, the player must sit out at least one play; and
- Charging a time-out to a team when a player is injured within a certain time period of the game.
The hurry-up tactic was used by the franchise during the late 1980s while Sam Wyche was the coach. A rival for AFC supremacy during this time was the Buffalo Bills, coached by Marv Levy, who also used a version of the no-huddle offense. Most of the high-profile games (the various games for AFC titles and regular season games) between the two led to these changes in NFL rules. Wyche also first used the timeout periods as an opportunity to bring his entire team to the sideline to talk to all eleven players, plus substitutes, at one time. This also allowed trainers time to treat a cut or bruise and equipment managers to repair an equipment defect.
Wyche recalled that before the '88 AFC title game the Buffalo Bills had seemingly convinced league officials to penalize the Bengals for running a no-huddle offense. In a statement made to the Bengals' press in 2005, he relayed "The NFL was nice enough to come to us an hour and 55 minutes before the game and tell us we would be given a 15-yard penalty every time we used it. Of course we had practiced it all week. We told them if they wanted to answer to the public for changing the competitive balance of the AFC championship game, that was up to them, but we were using it. They never dropped a flag."
West Coast Offense/Paul Brown's Offense & the Zone Blitz
The West Coast Offense, which is commonly employed by many teams (most notably, it was used by San Francisco 49ers during their dynasty), is the popular name for the high-percentage passing scheme designed by former Bengals assistant Bill Walsh. This play scheme was used by Ken Anderson during the Bengals' initial Super Bowl run, which was a loss to Walsh's 49ers.
Ironically, the defense created to combat the West Coast Offense also came from Cincinnati. Then-Bengals defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau (who would later be the team's head coach from 2000–2002) created the zone blitz in the 1980s in response to the West Coast Offense. Though the Bengals ran it with some success, like the West Coast Offense the scheme became more successful elsewhere, in this case with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, where LeBeau has served two stints as defensive coordinator. LeBeau has led both Bengals Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl appearances with Pittsburgh using the zone blitz.
Paul Brown Stadium
Mike Brown, the current owner of the Bengals, named the new stadium after his Pro Football Hall of Famer father, Paul Brown, resisting offers to sell the naming rights for the stadium.
Players of note
Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Anthony Munoz, Cris Collinsworth, Carson Palmer, Ken Riley and Chad Johnson
Head of Operations : Greg Kates
Pro Football Hall of Famers
- Anthony Muñoz, OL
- Charlie Joiner, WR†
- Paul Brown, Head coach and owner.
- Dick LeBeau, Defensive Coordinator and Head Coach, DB
† Spent four of his nineteen NFL seasons with the Bengals.
- 54 Bob Johnson, OL
NFL Most Valuable Player
AFL/NFL Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
Coaches of note
- Paul Brown (1968–1975)
- Bill "Tiger" Johnson (1976–1978)
- Homer Rice (1978–1979)
- Forrest Gregg (1980–1983)
- Sam Wyche (1984–1991)
- Dave Shula (1992–1996)
- Bruce Coslet (1996–2000)
- Dick LeBeau (2000–2002)
- Marvin Lewis (2003–present)
Cincinnati Bengals staff
|AFC East: BUF · MIA · NE · NYJ • North: BAL · CIN · CLE · PIT • South: HOU · IND · JAC · TEN • West: DEN · KC · OAK · SD|
NFC East: DAL · NYG · PHI · WAS • North: CHI · DET · GB · MIN • South: ATL · CAR · NO · TB • West: ARI · STL · SF · SEA
Radio and television
The Bengals flagship radio stations are WCKY, "ESPN 1530" and WEBN-FM, with WLW AM 700 joining in following the end of the Reds' season through 2013. It was announced on May 4th by the Bengals, that beginning with the 2011 season that Dan Hoard was hired to replace Brad Johansen as the main play-by-play man. The radio broadcast crew now consists of Hoard and former Bengals offensive lineman Dave Lapham, who started in 1985.
Most preseason and regular season games, are telecast on WKRC-TV, Local 12, the CBS affiliate. with the addition of Dan Hoard to the radio broadcast crew. the new play-by-play for preseason games hasn't been announced it. In 2010 Dan Hoard and Anthony Munoz were the TV announcers for preseason games. Games that feature an NFC opponent played at Paul Brown Stadium are televised on WXIX, Fox 19
Phil Samp was the Bengals original play-by-play announcer from 1968-1990. Ken Broo (1991–1995), Paul Keels (1996) and Pete Arbogast (1997–2000) and Brad Johansen (2001-2010) have also done radio play-by-play for the Bengals.
"Who Dey" is the name of a chant of support by fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, in use for over 30 years. The entire chant is: "Who dey! Who dey! Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?" The answer screamed in unison, "Nobody!" Sometimes fans will instead shout "Who Dey" to represent the entire cheer. "Who Dey" is also the name of the team’s mascot, a Bengal tiger.
The Who Dey chant's first known use was by fans of the 1980 Cincinnati Bengals. While the origin of the chant is unsettled, one possible source for the chant is a 1980 commercial for Red Frazier Ford of Cincinnati, which used this tagline: “Who’s going to give you a better deal than Red Frazier?...Nobody!” Cincinnati fans who had seen the commercial many times may have just copied it when cheering.
The chant bears some similarities to the phrase "Who Dat?," which was officially adopted by the New Orleans Saints in 1983 but had been used by Louisiana's high school team fans for some time. The saying “Who Dat?" originated in minstrel shows and vaudeville acts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then it was taken up by New Orleans Jazz and various Big band folks in the 1920s and 1930s. In the late 1960s, local Louisiana High Schools, St. Augustine High School in New Orleans and Patterson High School are reported to have been using the cheer and Gulf Coast fans of Alcorn State University and Louisiana State University picked up the cheer in the 1970s. Southern University in New Orleans claims to have originated the cheer in the late 1960s in their version: "Who dat talkin' 'bout beatin' dem Jags." There is a long-standing debate between the Saints and Bengals fan bases over which one originated the chant from their culture.
- History - Cincinnati Bengals
- AFL II 1937, AFL/APFA 1939, AFL III 1940-1941
- Paul Brown
- "Bengals Mascot 'Who Dey'" at Bengals official website (accessed September 23, 2010).
- Rick Cleveland, "Who Dat started diz?", The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.), January 29, 2010.
- George Morris, "Saints cheer predates team; not much more history known", The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.), December 30, 2009.