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NFL

How did the Cincinnati Bengals get their name? Origin and meaning

With a story that dates back to before the second World War, the Bengals are very much a part of the fabric of American football, let's take a look.

Update:
As they prepare for the biggest game of their season, we take a look at the historic roots of the team from Cincinnati and where they got their name from.
Christopher HanewinckelUSA TODAY Sports

With a history that dates back more than four decades, the Bengals have been a long standing part of American football.

Where did the Bengals get there name?

To find the origins of the Bengals team in professional football, we have to go back to 1937 in Ohio when a team first carried the name Cincinnati Bengals. As a member of the initial American Football League the Bengals introduction to the professional game was actually quite short lived. The league folded after just one season during which the Bengals managed only two wins to go with four losses and two ties. The team continued to play as an independent team, but would finally join a newly formed American Football League in 1939. Then in 1940, a third American Football League formed, and the Cincinnati Bengals joined it, however, once again fate had other plans as World War II began thereby significantly reducing the availability of men as they joined they armed forces. Sadly the AFL went under after just one season.

It would be more than three decades before football returned to Cincinnati. In 1967 Paul Brown, former coach of the Cleveland Browns, was granted permission to create a team in Cincinatti in a now newly revamped American Football League. As a memorializing nod to the Cincinnati teams that had gone before, Brown chose the name Bengals. The team's first season was in 1968. Interestingly, there have also been suggestions in the past that a rare white Bengal tiger which was kept in Cincinatti's Zoo, played a role in the name being chosen in the first place.

Where are the Bengals today?

It goes without saying that a lot has changed for the Bengals since those early days. Having spent the two decades between the 70s and 90s in some degree of obscurity, the Bengals eventually started to come into their own during the 2000s. Indeed in 2005 the Bengals returned to the playoffs for the first time since an unexpected run to the Super Bowl - which they lost - in 1988. That in turn brings us to today. At present the Bengals are preparing for the AFC Championship game against the heavily favored Kansas City Chiefs. While the Chiefs boast a slew of stars, the Bengals will in no way feel over awed as they have 'scratched and bitten' to get there. Can they embody the grit of former Cincinnati teams? Be sure to check with us on Sunday to find out!

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