By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
We are living in strange times. Pandemic, inflation, unprecedented violence. You name it; we’re living in it. Since we’re living in strange times, one of the strangest things has now happened one month into the 2022 season. The Cincinnati Bengals will be making their third Super Bowl appearance of the team’s franchise.
Three years ago, the Bengals hired a man who had never been a head coach or even a full time coordinator. After two seasons, Zac Taylor had won six games and was drawing the ire of the Cincinnati fan base. It got so bad that owner Mike Brown put out a statement at the end of the 2020 season, saying Cincinnati wanted a young vibrant head coach and that Taylor would remain as Bengals head coach. In 3 years, Taylor has done the unthinkable. Taylor and his Bengal staff performed on field magic in 2021. Now the team is one win away from being the first Bengal team to win the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati has gotten to the mountain twice. In 1982, the team was led by Ken Anderson. The team fell short to the San Francisco 49ers, 26-21. Cincinnati would suffer the same fate by the same team 7 years later as Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers would hand the Bengals a close 26-21 loss. It is now 33 years into the future. The Cincinnati Bengals have again reached football’s summit. Only the Los Angeles Rams stand in the way of the Bengals winning their first Super Bowl title.
The road has not been an easy one. After finally winning a playoff game against the Raiders in Cincinnati, the Bengals went on the road to hand the Tennessee Titans a loss. This past weekend they handed two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs a 27-24 overtime loss.
A win will have to come against a Ram team that will be playing on their own home field in front of all of Hollywood. Cincinnati has already been installed as the underdog.
However, unlike previous Bengal Super Bowl teams, this Bengals team has players that have been to and won championships. Quarterback Joe Burrow (collegiate quarterback at Louisiana State University (LSU) performed at his highest level in winning the 2020 Collegiate Football National Championship, along with his favorite target, wide receiver JaMarr Chase (LSU).
Tamaurice William “Tee” Higgins (who played at Clemson) and Jonah Williams (who played at Alabama) have also been to titles.
“I’m tired of the underdog narrative,” says QB Joe Burrow. If anyone is in a position to bring the Bengals their first title, it’s Burrow. He is cut from the same cloth and generational talent as Peyton manning, John Elway, and Joe Montana.
It won’t be easy. But many have bet against Burrow and the Bengals and have lost a lot of money. The 2021-22 Bengals are on the verge of making history. The days of laughing at the stripes are over. Two billion people will see that on February 13.