History and League Success
The Bengals were founded in 1968 as the American Football League's 10th and final franchise before its merger with the NFL. The ownership group was led by Paul Brown, the legendary coach of the Cleveland Browns, when the Browns' new owner unexpectedly fired him. Brown would be its first coach, its current stadium is named for him, and his son Mike is still majority owner.
The Bengals have appeared in two Super Bowls, in 1981 and 1988, losing both times to the San Francisco 49ers. The 1981 AFC Championship Game against the San Diego Chargers would be subsequently known as the Freezer Bowl, as the game-time temperature was -9°F and the winds were at 35-mile-per-hour, sending wind chills as low as −59 °F.
Notwithstanding their generally poor history, the team has made many contributions to modern football strategy, such as the no-huddle offense, the West Coast offense (a pass-first style which the 49ers turned into multiple Super Bowl titles) and the zone blitz (a defensive scheme which has secondary players rushing the quarterback while pass rushing linemen drop back into pass coverage).
AFC North Rivals