Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Oakland Raiders Mt. Rushmore

“Just win baby!” That’s all the Raiders have done in their 55 seasons as a Pro Football franchise. Photo Credit: Coliseum.com

“Just win baby!” That’s the slogan that has defined the Raiders organization since 1960, their first season of play. In 55 seasons, between Oakland and Los Angeles and back to Oakland again, the Raiders have won 444 games, 3 Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII), an AFL Championship (1967), 4 Conference championships, 15 Division titles, and made the playoffs 21 times.

The Raiders have produced 17 Hall of Famers who have done a majority of their work in the Silver and Black. Four of them I have chosen to represent the “Black Hole” on their Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.  Just for the record, Al Davis will be on my Mount Rushmore for owners for what he did for the Civil Rights Movement by helping African-American players get opportunities in Pro Football, and by refusing to play in cities where black players weren’t allowed to stay at the same hotel as their white teammates. As well as his role in the AFL-NFL merger.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

John Madden (1969-1978) is more than the guy who’s name is on the cover of a popular video game, and the guy who has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting. He is the Raiders all-time leader in coaching victories (103) and delivered on owner Al Davis’ mantra with an AFC Championship (1976) and a Super Bowl title (XI). In his 10 seasons as head coach of the Raiders, he never had a losing season and was the youngest to reach 100 victories while leading the team to 6 AFC Championship games (5 consecutive 1972-1977). His combined regular season and playoff record (112-39-7) is the second highest win percentage in NFL history. Madden had a winning record against revered Hall of Fame coaches Tom Landry, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Bud Grant. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marcus Allen (1982-1992) his career with the organization ended bitterly with owner Al Davis, but Allen’s name is littered across the team’s record books. He is still the team’s all-time leader in rushing yards (8,545), rushing touchdowns (79) and second in total touchdowns (98). In 1982 he won NFL Rookie of the Year, and followed that up by winning NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1985 will with the team. A 3-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro Bowl selection with the team, he led the Raider’s to Super Bowl XVIII where he was named the game’s most valuable player. Allen holds NFL records for most consecutives seasons with a rushing touchdown (16), multiple rushing touchdowns (16) and multiple touchdowns (16). He is the first player to ever gain 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a career. In 1999 he was ranked 72nd on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, and in 2010 he was ranked 85th on NFL.com’s “100 Greatest Players” list. Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Tim Brown (1988-2003) had one of the most decorated careers in the game both in college and professionally. The 1987 Heisman Trophy Winner did not disappoint in Silver and Black. He is the team’s all-time leader in games (240) and seasons played (16), receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,734), receiving touchdowns (99), total touchdowns (104), all-purpose yards (19,431), punt return yards (3,272) and punt returns for touchdowns (3).  He holds 8 NFL records. The 2015 Pro Football Hall of Famer could make the case for being the “Greatest Raider.” Hard to believe he wasn’t inducted on his first year eligible. I’m biased because I wore his jersey, number 81, in my first-year playing little league football for the Columbus (OH) Raiders in 1992.

Willie Brown (1967-1978) is remembered by most people under the age of 35 as the guy that was captured in the iconic NFL Films video intercepting a pass in Super Bowl XI and appeared to be running directly to the camera as he made his way to the end zone, for a then Super Bowl record 75-yard touchdown. Brown and the Raiders would go on to win that Super Bowl, he also was a member of the Raiders team that won the 1967 AFL Championship. A 2-time All-Pro and 2-time All-AFL selection with the team, he also was selected to 4 Pro Bowl’s and 3 AFL All-Star games. He finished his Raiders career tied for 1st in interceptions (39). He is a member of the AFL All-Time and NFL 1970’s All-Decade Teams. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 1999 he was ranked 50th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He was the highest player from the organization on the list. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 66th on their “100 Greatest Players list.”

Raider Nation did I get it right? If not who would you have chosen? Jim Otto? Gene Upshaw? Jack Tatum? Ken Stabler? Or Howie Long? Let me know.

The New York Jets Mt. Rushmore

New York’s “other team” hasn’t had as much success as the most popular one, but they do have probably the most significant win in NFL history.

The Jets are an original member of the AFL, but they were founded as The Titans of New York. In their 56 seasons, they are most known for their historic upset in Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts before the AFL-NFL merger, when they became the first AFL team to defeat an NFL franchise. That victory, along with the brash guarantee of the win by the star QB, is arguably the most significant game and moment in the history of Pro Football.

Outside of their AFL Championship and Super Bowl III win, the Jets haven’t enjoyed much team success. They’ve never won the AFC title, they’ve only won their division 4 times and made the playoffs 14 times with their last appearance coming in 2010. Of the 9 teams that begin play in 1960 along with them, they have the lowest total of regular season wins (387).

But I don’t want to bash on New York’s “other team”, because despite the mediocre team success,  some talented players and coaches have worn the green and white.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Joe Namath (1965-76) was under center for the team’s only Super Bowl appearance and Victory in Super Bowl III, and was named the game’s MVP. “Broadway Joe” is the Jets career leader in wins (60) for a QB, passing yards (27,057), passing touchdowns (170) and pass attempts (3,655). He was the first QB to throw for 4,000 yards in a season in 1967. Namath was a 2-time AFL MVP (1968,1969), 2-time UPI AFL Player of the Year, 1965 AFL Rookie of the Year, 4-time AFL All-Star (1965,1967-1969), 1972 Pro Bowler, and a member of the AFL All-Time Team. The team retired his jersey number 12, and in 1985 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Weeb Ewbank (1963-1973) was the winning head coach in Super Bowl III and the AFL Championship. His 71 victories as head coach are still the most in team history. In 1969 he was awarded NFL Coach of the Year, and in 1978 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won two NFL Championships as head coach of the Baltimore Colts.

Curtis Martin (1998-2005) is the Jets all-time leader in rushing yards (10,302), rushing touchdowns (58) and carries (2560). Martin was a 3-time Pro Bowler (1998,2001,2004) and 3-time All-Pro with the Jets. Four times he was named New York Jets MVP (1999-2001,2004) and he became the oldest player to lead the NFL in rushing in 2004 at age 31. Add his numbers from his three seasons with the New England Patriots (1995-1997) and his total of 14,101 rushing yards is the 4th most in NFL history. The Jets retired his jersey number 28, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

Don Maynard (1960-1972) is the Jets/Titans all-time leader in receptions (627), receiving yards (11,732) and receiving touchdowns (88). He was a member of the Super Bowl III and AFL Championship teams. Maynard was a 4-time AFL All-Star (1965,1967-1969), 4-time All-AFL (1965,1967-1969) and is a member of the AFL All-Time Team. The team has retired Maynard’s jersey number 13, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. 

J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets! fans what do you think? Is this the Mount Rushmore you’d want to see for your team, or is there someone not on the list that you’d prefer to see? Let me know.

The New Orleans Saints Mt. Rushmore

The Saints have turned the Superdome into a true home field advantage, something they couldn’t say for over two decades.

The Mercedes Benz Superdome, where the New Orleans Saints have called home since 1975, has seen several great iconic sports moments. But for a majority of its existence, it was not due to the home team. The Saints are celebrating their 50th season of Pro Football in 2016. At the start of their time as a franchise, you wouldn’t think they would ever have much to celebrate.

New Orleans didn’t make a playoff appearance for the first 20 season of their existence. Then once they did in 1987, they went on to lose in each of their first four Wild Card appearances. It wasn’t until their 33rd season that they finally broke through and won a playoff game (2000; 31-28 over the St. Louis Rams). New Orleans suffered 25 losing seasons from 1967-2005 and 8 seasons of 8-8 or 9-7 results. This is why they were dubbed the “Aint’s” by several of their own fan base, who also wore paper bags over their heads to their games. They have the second fewest wins (331) by any NFL team with 50 seasons or more.

But their more recent history, is one that they, and their fans in and around the French Quarter can be proud of. Since 200, they’ve had 5 winning seasons, won 3 Division titles, made the playoffs 5 times, and most importantly, won a Super Bowl (XLIV).

I’m not aware of their plans to celebrate their golden anniversary, but I’ll do so by naming the four people this franchise has to thank for making them revenant on and off the field. This is my Mount Rushmore for the New Orleans Saints.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Drew Brees (2006-present) transformed New Orleans from the “Aint’s” into Champs. Brees arrived in the “Crescent City” coming off a potentially career ending shoulder injury on his throwing arm, and all he’s done is become one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He’s the team’s all-time leader in passing yards (48,555), touchdown passes (348), wins by a QB (94), completions (4,240) and attempts (6,276). Brees holds 25 Saints passing records, and was MVP of the team’s only Super Bowl (XLIV) appearance and victory.

“Cool Brees” also holds 19 NFL passing records; most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54), most seasons with 5,000+ passing yards (4), first quarterback to pass for 40 or more TD’s in consecutive seasons, first QB to pass for 3,000 passing yards by week 9, first to pass for 4,000 yards in the first 12 games of a season, and first to throw for 4,000+ yards in 10 straight seasons, among others. Combined with his time in San Diego, Brees has the 4th most passing yard total in NFL history (60,903). 

Willie Roaf (1993-2001) was a 7-time Pro Bowl at offensive tackle in his time in New Orleans. He was a 5-time All-Pro, and a member of the NFL’s 1990’s and 2000’s All-Decade Teams. In 2012 he became the second Saint inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame base significantly on their time with the franchise.

Ricky Jackson (1981-1993) was the first true Saint player to get his bust in Canton. Along with Roaf, they are the only two Saints Hall of Famers who were inducted based on their time in New Orleans. Jackson was a 5-time Pro Bowl linebacker (1983-1986, 1992) and 5-time All-Pro (1984-1987, 1992) with the team. When he retired after the 1995 season, he held 3 NFL records, most opponents’ fumbles recovered (28), most sacks (128) and most opponents’ fumbles recovered in a season (7).  After the 1993 season, his last with New Orleans, Jackson held 6 team records; most games (195), most sacks in a career (123), most seasons (13), most opponents’ fumbles recovered in a career (26), most opponents’ fumbles recovered in a season (7; 1990) and most sacks in a game (4, 2 times).

Sean Payton (2006-present) arrived along with Drew Brees, and together they changed the culture of New Orleans Saints football. His 87 wins are second in team history, and he’s on pace to pass Jim More (93) for first in 2016. He led the team to the playoffs in his first season with the team (2006) and won NFL Coach of the Year the same season. The Saints have made the playoffs in five of his nine seasons as coach, which included four consecutive appearances (2009-2013) and the team’s first Super Bowl appearance (2009; XLIV) and victory. The team had only made the playoffs five times before his hiring. 

Who Dat Nation what do you think? Did I get it right or would you have gone with a different four? You would you choose and who would you cut? 

The Miami Dolphins Mt. Rushmore

Football is king in South Florida (in Florida overall), and the Dolphins are the main reason why.

During the 2015 seasons, the Miami Dolphins celebrated their 50th season as a professional football franchise. And to commemorate the milestone, they named their 50 greatest players in team history. When you have a history as rich and deep as theirs is, you have a list that boast some of the greats that have ever played the game.

Think about the Dolphins as a franchise. They’re the only team to complete an undefeated regular and postseason (1972, 14-0; 3-0), a feat they won’t let us forget. That was followed by a second Super Bowl title (VIII) in the following season. In their 50 seasons of play, the Dolphins have also won 5 Conference Championships, 13 Division titles and made the playoffs 22 times.

They have the 4th best win percentage (.561) in NFL history, their 429 regular season victories is the most of any team with 50 season of play or less. 9 former Dolphins are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But these are the four of which I deem are the greatest in their history, and should be on the team’s Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Don Shula (1970-1995) is the Dolphins all-time leader in career wins (257) and is the NFL’s all-time leader in wins as coach (347) when you combine his record with the Baltimore Colts. A 6-time NFL Coach of the Year, Shula led the club to its only Super Bowl victories (VII, VIII), including the only undefeated season in NFL history (14-0, regular season; 3-0, playoffs in ’72). 5-times he led the Dolphins to the AFC Championship title, and he is tied for the record for most Super Bowl appearances (6). Shula is a member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team, Miami Dolphins Honor Roll, Dolphins top 50 players/coaches of all-time list, and the team’s ring of fame. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Dan Marino (1983-1999) is the Dolphins career leader in wins (147), passing yards (61,361), passing touchdowns (420), completions (4,967) and attempts (8,358). The 9-time Pro Bowl and 6-time All-Pro selection retired from the NFL with nearly every passing record in NFL history. When he retired he held 43 NFL records including most passing yards and passing touchdowns, since passed by Brett Favre, then Peyton Manning. Marino still holds 12 records, 9 of them he’s tied for 1st place. In 1984 he became the first QB to throw for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season (1994), he won his only NFL MVP that season. He is only one of three former Dolphins players to have his jersey retired (#13) and holds the team record for most seasons played (17). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Larry Csonka (1968-1974) is Miami’s all-time leader in rushing yards (6,737) and rushing touchdowns (53). The 5-time Pro Bowl and 3-time All-Pro selection helped the team to 2 Super Bowl Championships (VII, VIII) and the MVP of Super Bowl VIII. He was a member of the 1972 perfect season. Csonka was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and his jersey number 39 is one of only three retired by the organization.

Bob Greise (1967-1980) was the team’s career leader in nearly every passing category when he retired. While he’s mostly known today for his work in the broadcast booth, the 2-time AFL All-Star, 6-time Pro Bowl and 2-time All-Pro was named NFL MVP (1971, 1977) twice. Griese was under center for 2 Super Bowl Championship teams (VII, VIII) and the perfect season in 1972. He was the team’s MVP 6-times. In 1985 the team retired his jersey number 12, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

Fins fans let me know what you think. Would this be your Dolphins Mount Rushmore? If not tell me who would make up your list.

The Minnesota Vikings Mt. Rushmore

The Vikings open their new $1 billion dollar stadium in 2016, looking to add to their great past. Photo Credit: Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings and their fans are ready to start a new area in the “Twin Cities.” They’re ready to christen a brand new $1.061 billion stadium to house a team coming off their first NFC North division title since 2009, and looking to take the next step.

While the Vikes are ready to make new history, their past is very decorated. Since their first professional season in 1961, Minnesota has won 1 NFL Championship (1969, pre NFL-AFL Merger), 4 Conference Championships, 19 Division titles, while making the playoffs 28 times. Several iconic, and colorful players, who laid the groundwork for the way the game is played today wore the Purple and Gold. The following four are the ones I have chosen as the face of the VIkings Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Fran Tarkenton (1961-1966, 1972-1978) held every major NFL passing record when he retired, and was the first true mobile QB in League history. He is the Vikings career leader in wins (91), passing yards (33,098), passing touchdowns (239), completions (2,635), and attempts (4,569). The 1975 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year led Minnesota to 3 NFC Championship titles (1973, 1974, 1976). Tarkenton, also known as the “Mad Scrambler”, was a 9-time Pro Bowl and 2-time All-Pro selection. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986, and the team retired his number 10 jersey. Tarkenton is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams, as well as was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010.

Cris Carter (1990-2001) got off to a rough start in his professional career off the field when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles, but in Minneapolis he found his way. Carter is Minnesota’s all-time leader in receptions (1,004), receiving yards (12,383), and receiving touchdowns (110). The 8-time All-Pro and 3-time 1st-team All-Pro is the second player in NFL history to catch more than 1,000 passes in a career. When he retired in 2002, after a stint with the Miami Dolphins, Carter was second to Jerry Rice in the major career receiving records, and still holds 13 NFL records. He was selected to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, the Vikings 40th Anniversary Team and 50 Greatest Vikings. He was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2003 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Adrian Peterson (2007-Present) is already the Vikings all-time leader in rushing yards (11,675), rushing touchdowns (97) and carries (2,381) in only 9 seasons, even though he missed all but one game in 2014 due to suspension. The 2012 NFL MVP and NFL Offensive Player of the Year rushed for the coveted 2,000 yard mark the same season, and fell 9-yards short of taking the mark for most yards in a single season in NFL history (2,097). All this was coming off a season where he suffered a torn ACL in the final game of the Vikings previous season. “AP” is a 7-time Pro Bowl, 7-time All-Pro selection, a member of the benchmark 10,000 rushing yards club, and is 17th on the all-time rushing list and climbing. 3-times he has led the League in rushing (2008, 2012, 2015). In 2010, he was selected as a member of the 50 Greatest Vikings list.

Bud Grant (1967-1983, 1985) coached the Vikings to their only NFL Championship in 1969, and he is the first coach in League history to lead a team to four Super Bowls (IV, VIII, IX, XI). Grant’s 158 regular season wins are the most by any coach with Minnesota, and the team won 11 division titles with him at the helm. When he retired, his 161 combined regular season and playoff wins made him the eight most successful coach in NFL history. The 1976 NFL Coach of the Year was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, and is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, 25th Anniversary Team, and 50 Greatest Vikings list.

Viking’s fans I want to hear from you. Agree or Disagree with this Mount Rushmore? Let me know what you think.

The Kansas City Chiefs Mt. Rushmore

Arrowhead Stadium has been recognized by the Guinness World Record book for being “the loudest outdoor stadium in the world.” Photo Credit: Chiefs.com

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the charter AFL teams, when they were the Dallas Texans. In their 55 seasons, they’ve won 3 AFL Championships, 1 Super Bowl (IV), 8 Division titles, and made the playoffs 18 times (3 in the last 6 seasons).

Kansas City has one of the most rabid fans bases. Chiefs fans have helped the team have the 2nd highest attendance rate over the last decade, despite being in the sixth smallest media market amongst NFL teams. Those fans have helped make Arrowhead the loudest outdoor stadium in the world, accruing to the Guinness World Records. And several former Chiefs they have cheered on, also have some very impressive records. The following four are the ones I’ve chosen to be on Kansas City’s Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Len Dawson (1962-1975) played 19 seasons in the NFL, but his most notable years came with this franchise. He is the team’s career leader in wins (93), passing yards (28,507) and touchdown passes (237). Dawson won 3 AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969) and Super Bowl IV, taking home the games’ MVP award. Dawson is a 6-time AFL All-Star, Pro Bowl and 4-time All-AFL selection, and he won the AFL MVP in 1962.

Tony Gonzalez (1997-2008) arguably the greatest tight end in Pro Football history, is the Chiefs all-time leader in catches (916), receiving yards (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76) and holds several team records. As a 10-time Pro Bowl and 9-time All-Pro Selection in his time in Kansas City, before moving on to Atlanta for his final four seasons, Gonzalez holds twenty-five NFL records. He is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and is the first tight end to ever catch 1,000 passes, have the most pro bowl selections by a tight end, and is 2nd all-time in receptions, 5th all-time in receiving yards, and 6th all-time in receiving touchdowns. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 45th on their “100 Greatest Players” list.

Derrick Thomas (1989-1999) was a sack artist and the most feared pass rusher in the NFL during his 11-year career. Thomas is the Chiefs all-time sack leader (126.5), 1st in recovered fumbles for touchdowns (4), safeties (3), forced fumbles (41), fumbles recovered (19), and 3rd in total tackles (601). The 9-time Pro Bowl and 6-time All-Pro selection is a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He holds the NFL single game record for sacks (7). The Chiefs retired his jersey number 58, and he was posthumously elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Hank Stram (1960-1974) is the franchise’s all-time leader in coaching victories (124) and led them to 3 AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969), the most in AFL history, and their only Super Bowl victory (IV). Stram is the first coach in the team’s history going back to when they were the Dallas Texans, before moving to Kansas City in 1963. Coach Stram never used an offensive/defensive coordinator or special teams coach in his time on the sideline. The 1968 AFL Coach of the Year winner is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

There you have it, “Chiefs Kingdom.” Let me know what you think.

The Cincinnati Bengals Mt. Rushmore

“The Jungle” in Cincinnati has been pretty wild for Bengals fans and their teams, and not always in a good way.

The last time we saw the Cincinnati Bengals in a meaningful game, they were self-destructing themselves into their seventh consecutive Wild Card playoff loss dating back to the 2005 playoffs. They went from being totally outplayed for three quarters, to coming back to take the lead in the 4th quarter and had the game all but sealed with a late interception, to fumbling while trying to chew the clock, followed by their erratic behavior that set up the game losing field goal. The roller coaster ride of a loss to hated AFC North division rival the Pittsburgh Steelers should come as no surprise. That’s been the theme of this franchise for the past 30 season.

In the 1980s they competed in two Super Bowls (XVI, XXIII) after two 12-4 seasons, and won 4 playoff games in the decade. That was followed by the 1990s, where they suffered 8 losing seasons, one 8-8 season (1996) and only made the playoffs once (1990). Then came the 2000s, where in the last 16 seasons, they’ve had 6 losing seasons, 3 seasons of 8-8, 7 winning seasons that led to 4 AFC North division titles, and 5 consecutive losses in the AFC Wild Card. So you can see why so many fans in “The Jungle” left Paul Brown Stadium distraught and in tears this past January.

All In all, their history isn’t so bad. The following four guys, were the bright spots in their roller coaster time in the “Queen City.”

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Paul Brown (1968-1975) is one of the few who can say he’s majorly instrumental in the history of two franchises. He retired from the Bengals with 55 wins and ushered the team to the NFL from the AFL. He won two division titles and made the playoffs 3 seasons in his 8-years as the head guy in the “Queen City.” He can be credited as having the greatest impact on creating the craze football has on the state of Ohio, due to his success in building iconic programs at the high school (Massilion High), collegiate (Ohio State) and professional levels. Even with the success of current head coach Marvin Lewis who is the team’s all-time winningest coach with 112 victories, no one person is more responsible for this team than Mr. Brown.

Anthony Munoz (1980-1992) is widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history, if not “THE” greatest. He is so revered he was rated the #12 player of all-time by NFL.com in 2010, the highest of any offensive lineman. The third overall pick by the Bengals in 1980 went on to be an 11-time Pro Bowl and 11-time 1st-Team All-Pro selection. Three times he was awarded the Offensive Lineman of the Year (1981, 1987, 1988) honor. Munoz played in two Super Bowls (XVI, XXIII) and is a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time teams. In 1998 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first-year of eligibility.

Ken Anderson (1971-1986 player; 1993-2002 QB Coach) led the Bengals to their first AFC Championship in 1981. Anderson is Cincinnati’s all-time leader in career wins (91), games played (192), passing yards (32,838), pass touchdowns (197), completions (2,654) and attempts (4,475). The 4-time Pro Bowler and 3-time All-Pro, was the NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1981. Anderson was ranked 6th all-time in passing yards for a career when he retired in 1986. His 93.5 postseason quarterback rating still ranks seventh in NFL History.

Chad Johnson (2001-2010) brought the flamboyance to the “Jungle” and helped make the team relevant again, despite the team only having two winning seasons with two playoff appearances, and detractors over his celebrating style. The 6-time Pro Bowl and 4-time All-Pro selection is the Bengals all-time leader in receptions (751), receiving yards (10,783), and receiving touchdowns (66). “Ochocinco” is a member of the Bengals 40th Anniversary Team.

There you have it Bengal fans. I want to hear from you now. Did I get it right? If not, what would your list look like? Maybe Boomer Esiason? Corey Dillion? Let me have it.