No season stands out more in Cincinnati Bengals’ 45-year history than that of 1988. After a tough-to-watch 4-11 record in 1987, your Black and Orange dramatically flipped the script, posting a 12-4 regular season behind quarterback Boomer Esiason’s best year.
Esiason completed passes for more than 3,500 yards, including 28 touchdowns and rushed for another 248 yards, snagging him the league’s best QB and the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. But he wasn’t alone. In Ickey Woods’ debut season, he shuffled for 1,066 yards and 15 touchdowns, meanwhile Eddie Brown’s hot hands snatched 54 receptions for more than 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns.
The thrashing regular-season play continued into the postseason, as the Bengals took down the Seahawks in the divisional playoff and the Bills in the AFC Championship to set up just the franchise’s second trip to the Super Bowl. In a repeat of Super Bowl XVI, Cincinnati was looking for revenge over the San Francisco 49ers. And leading the San Francisco 16-3 with just 3:10 left, it looked like they were going to get it. We won’t dive back into the details of those tough final minutes, suffice to say the loss couldn’t erase the magic of the franchise’s best season, including the team’s second AFC Championship.
Show your Bengals stripes as your team hunts down another shot at the Lombardi Trophy. Who Dey!