The only way that I could deal with the way the Bengals lost to the Broncos yesterday was to do something about the team's past that makes me feel good today. Only the Bengals could let a game get away in such an unexplainable way. The game on Sunday was like a complete Bengals franchise history wrapped up in a clean three hour package. To quote Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer: "I've never seen anything like that. I've played football since I was 7 or 8, and I've not seen that."
So, today I wanted to look back at the glory days of Bengals football by taking a look back at 1982. The date was January 24, 1982 and the Cincinnati Bengals were ready to play in their first Super Bowl. Super Bowl XVI was played in Detroit at the Pontiac Silverdome. The Bengals had just completed the greatest season in team history and had the entire city in a frenzy as they headed to Detroit to take on the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
The Bengals had just introduced their revolutionary striped helmets and new uniform sets, replacing the more conservative look the team had used since its inception in 1968. Bengals merchandise was flying off the shelves at Cincinnati area fan shops. Quarterback Ken Anderson led a Bengals team loaded with talent like Isaac Curtis, Anthony Munoz, Pete Johnson and unexpected sensation Cris Collinsworth to win after win. The trip to Super Bowl XVI was sealed with a win over the San Diego Chargers in the famous Freezer Bowl at Riverfront Stadium. The game ended in a trademark disappointing Bengals loss, but hope for the future of the Bengals was high at the time.
It was a great time to be a Bengals fan, and the team cemented me as a lifelong fan with that great success. When the team returned to the Super Bowl in 1989, Bengals fans once again celebrated the present and looked at their team that seemed to have such a bright future ahead of them. Unfortunately, the next 21 years have left the Bengals fans with the same feeling they had on Sunday many more times than they ever should. A Bengals fan is a loyal fan, and Sunday's game is just another bump along the road of Bengal fandom, though much more creative than other past losses. Looking back at Super Bowl XVI at least gives me some therapy today, so there you have it.