(I was given the opportunity to co-host the Bengals 50th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration on Thursday with my broadcasting partner Dave Lapham. Here were my opening remarks. Who Dey!)
The year was 1968.
Three US Astronauts orbited the moon.
A gallon of gas was 34 cents. The first Big Mac went on sale that year for 49 cents.
Simon and Garfunkel had us singing “Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson…”
Gomer Pyle had us laughing in front of the TV
And Rosemary’s Baby scared the you-know-what out of us at the movie theater.
And on a Friday night, September 6th of that year, the Cincinnati Bengals played their first regular season game.
In the 49 seasons since, Bengals fans have watched Ken Anderson pick apart defenses with pinpoint accuracy and Boomer Esiason expertly run the no-huddle.
We’ve seen Tim Krumrie play hurt, Carson Palmer launch spirals, and Ickey Woods do the shuffle.
But we never saw Jim Breech miss an overtime field goal attempt.
We’ve cheered for Bob, Pete, Rudi, Michael and a total of 26 players named Johnson…including one who changed that to Ocho Cinco.
And this year we’ll cheer for current stars like AJ Green, Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, Geno Atkins, and Carlos Dunlap.
We’ll never forget the minus 59-degree wind chill at the Freezer Bowl…Corey Dillon running angry for 278 yards…or “you don’t live in Cleveland!”
Not to mention trips to Super Bowl 16 in Pontiac and Super Bowl 23 in Miami.
Feel free to forget Montana to Taylor.
We can proudly say that the greatest offensive lineman of all-time played for the Bengals … Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz … and this franchise would not exist if not for the most innovative coach of all-time…perhaps in any sport…the Bengals founder and first head coach Paul Brown.
The Bengals Golden Anniversary season begins at home on September 10th vs. Baltimore. Here’s hoping it ends on February 4th at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.