How many times have the Cincinnati Bengals been to the Super Bowl?
Joe Burrow and the Bengals will take on the Los Angeles Rams on Super Bowl Sunday. They are still looking to lift Lombardi's Trophy for the first time.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are a game away from their first Super Bowl title in franchise history after taking down the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship. Cincinnati has won the conference before, but if they beat the Los Angeles Rams this weekend it will be a history making day for the Queen City.
Burrow turns fate of Cincinnati franchise around
Coming off of a 4-11-1 year in which the face of the franchise went down with a season ending knee surgery, not much was expected from the Bengals in 2021. Joe Burrow bounced back better than ever in his sophomore campaign, while Joe Mixon had an All-Pro year and the defense looked better than it has in decades.
The City of Cincinnati has been starved of a championship since 1990, when the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Oakland A’s in game four of the World Series. The Bengals have a chance to bring home the hardware more than two decades later with a win over the Rams Super Bowl Sunday.
One thing is for sure, the old school, generational fans will be delighted Los Angeles won the NFC Championship and not the San Francisco 49ers. Let me explain.
Niners had Bengals number in the 80's
As mentioned before, the Bengals have only gone to the Super Bowl twice in their history. The 80’s were a Golden Age of sorts for the Bengals. They got past the Conference Championship twice that decade, once with Ken Anderson under center and once with Boomer Esiason as the signal caller.
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Cincy’s first trip to the Super Bowl, in the 1981 season, was a frigid one. It was one of the few title games that were played outside of a tropical destination.
After finishing the regular season 12-4, clinching the AFC Central and earning the right to host the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. They edged the Bills 28-21 to move on to the conference championship against the San Diego Chargers. That was a bit easier for Ken Anderson and the Bengals who cruised 27-7 punching their ticket to Pontiac Michigan for the Super Bowl.
Coldest Super Bowl in history
The game was known as the Freezer Bowl because temperatures dropped down to -9° F with the wind chill plummeting to -59° F.
Anderson, the league’s MVP that year, outshined Joe Montana in the subzero temperatures, but the Niners forced four turnovers which lead to the Bengals downfall. Joe Montana threw a touchdown pass and ran for another to build a 20-0 halftime lead.
Cincinnati tried to mount a comeback late in the game, but ran out of time. They scored a touchdown with 16 seconds to bring San Francisco within five points, but the onside kick was recovered by the Niners and they went on to win 26-21, lifting the Lombardi Trophy for the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
The next trip to the Super Bowl came seven years later. Again the Bengals would meet the Niners in the title game, and again they would have to watch as San Francisco celebrated their third championship that decade.
A year before their second trip to the Super Bowl, the Bengals went 4-11. NFL MVP Boomer Esiason and Cincinnati had a huge bounce back the next year going 12-4 and clinching home field throughout the playoffs.
The beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-13 in the Conference Championship back when the Seahawks were in the AFC. Esaison was shut down by the Seahawks defense, but the Bengals rushed for 254 yards to advance to the AFC Title game.
Esaison struggled again in the next game against the Buffalo Bills, throwing for under 100 yards and getting picked off twice. The run game came to the rescue yet again, totaling two touchdowns and 175 yards on the ground.
The Niners awaited the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. Neither team scored a touchdown in the first half of the game in Miami. After exchanging field goals in the first two quarters, the Bengals took the lead 13-10 going into the last quarter after a 93 yard Stanford Jennings kickoff return for a touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, Joe Montana took the game in his hands down 16-13 with under three minutes to go. The game winning drive was capped off when Montana hit John Taylor for the go ahead touchdown with 32 seconds left in the game.
Again the Bengals were a possession short of lifting their first Super Bowl trophy.
The good news for Bengals fans is the Niners won’t be on the other side of the ball on Super Bowl Sunday. The city of Cincinnati can break a two decade long championship drought with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, February 13th from Sofi Stadium.