Are you ready for the Jungle? Then get ready for the Cincinnati Bengals!
The Bengals are a professional NFL team based in Cincinnati. The team plats as a member of the Americal Football Conference (AFC) North division. The team is proud to call Paul Brown Stadium home. This stadium lies in the heart of downtown Cincinnati and it is where the Bengals stand tall against their divisional opponents; The Baltimore Ravens, The Cleveland Browns, and The Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Bengals were first founded in 1966 as a member of the American Football League (AFL). The founder was former Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown. The team began play in the 1968 season with Brown as the Bengals head coach until 1975. Brown wanted to establish an NFL franchise in Ohio and ultimately chose Cincinnati after a deal was struck between the city and MLB’s Cincinnati Reds.
This agreement led to the building of a multipurpose stadium that could serve both baseball and football games. Brown later agreed to join the AFL as its tenth and final franchise due to the impending merger of the AFL and NFL. And after the merger, the team was placed in the AFC. The Bengals have since won the AFC Championship in 1981 and 1988, but lost Super Bowls XVI and XXIII against the 49ers.
After Paul Brown’s death in 1991, controlling interest in the team passed down to his son, Mike Brown. In 2011, Brown purchased shares of the team owned by co-founder Austin Knowlton and is now the majority owner of the franchise.
The team struggled during the 1990s and 2000s, with 14 years without a winning record or qualifying for the NFL playoffs. But things improved in the mid 2000s, as they became more consistent postseason contenders. Currently the team is fighting to break out of a playoff win drought that has gone on since 1990. In addition, The Bengals are one of 12 NFL teams to have never won a Super Bowl and one of six to have not won a championship before or after the Super Bowl-era. And they are the only AFL franchise to have never won a championship in the AFL or NFL.
NFL Culture Contributions
Despite their record, the Bengals have made several strong contributions to the NFL that has helped shape the culture and strategy of other teams in the league. These include the following.
No-huddle offenses were often used by teams running low on time. Sam Wyche, head coach of the 1988 Bengals and Bruce Coslet, then offensive coordinator turned this strategy into a standard modality. Regardless of time remaining the team would quickly set up for the next play within 5-10 seconds after the last play. This strategy kept the other team’s defense on their toes by preventing player substitutions or regrouping and rest.
Because of this, the NFL created rules allowing the defense more time for sbstitutions when offensive substitutions were made. The ‘hurry-up’ tactic was also used by Marv Levy’s Buffalo Bills during the 1989 season.
West Coast offense
The “West-Coast Offense” is the nickname for a high-percentage passing scheme designed by former Bengals assistant Bill Walsh. The offense was first successfully used by Bengals quarterback Virgil Carter who led the NFL in pass completion percentages in 1971. His replacement, Ken Anderson, found even greater success, especially during a game against the Buffalo Bills where he completed 447 passing yards, which overcame O.J. Simpson’s 197 rushing yards.
This strategy is credited with the formation of a more aggressive and offensive minded NFL.
To combat the growing use of the West Coast Offense, Then-Bengals defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau created the Zone Blitz. The tactic involved placing additional players to rush the quarterback, while others would redirect to pass coverage. This tactic led to rushed plays that often led to incomplete passes.
About Paul Brown Stadium
Paul Brown Stadium is a 65,515 venue that serves as the home for the Cincinnati Bengals. Ever since it was opened to the public on August 19, 2000, it has stood for the spirit of the Bengals and Bengals fans. In fact, the stadium is known by some as “The Jungle” not just after the natural habitat of Bengal Tigers, but also after the Guns N’ Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle”. It is also one of only four stadiums in the NFL not named after a corporate sponsor, which further shows the spirit of a team that wants to stand for itself.
Plans for the stadium began after Hamilton County voters passed a vote for a one-half percept sales tax increase in 1996. The goal was to raise the funding to build two new home venues for the Bengals and MLB’s Cincinnati Reds. The two teams had previously shared tenancy in Riverfront Stadium, but both teams were complaining that the aging multipurpose venue was too outdated for either team to succeed in modern small-market teams.
Paul Brown Stadium was built first to the west, whereas the Reds were moved to Great American Ball Park to the east. Since then, the Bengals played host to four NFL playoffs at Paul Brown Stadium.
Paul Brown Stadium is also home to the Bengals’ administrative offices and training and practice facilities. There are also three smaller practice fields nearby, two that are sodded with natural grass and the third equipped with AstroTurf. While the main field uses Momentum Pro.
The stadium is serviced by local busing companies by offering round trip transportation to the stadium to and from locations throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. This includes the famous Cincinnati Metro’s “Jungle-to-Jungle Express” which starts at Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield, in Cincinnati.
The stadium also features premium seating options in its 114 private suites and 7,900 club seats. These premium seats offer in-seat food and beverage service as well as access to teh club lounges for optional fine dining.
And if you’re in the mood for shopping, the Bengals pro shop, located on the plaza level on the north end of the stadium, has a wide variety of team merchandise. You can also find 56 concession stands and 8 stores dotting the stadium grounds.
While the Cincinnati Bengals have not won a Super Bowl, they still have many achievements under their belts. For instance, they have fielded three Hall-of-Fame players who have spent at least some portion of their career with the Bengals. This includes Anthony Muñoz, who played from 1980-1992 and spent his entire career with Cincinnati.
The team has also won two (2) conference championships (1981, 1988), nine (9) division championships (AFC Central: 1970, 1973, 1981, 1988, 1990. AFC North: 2005, 2009, 2013, 2015), and have made fourteen (14) playoff appearances.