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These AFL Team pages were salvaged from the defunct site, which inspired my AFL pages.
They are dedicated to that site's creator, Robert Phillips, who has re-created his site at

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Bengals Facts



Planning for the Cincinnati Bengals franchise began three full years before the team began playing in the American Football League in 1968. Paul Brown, who had enjoyed exceptional success as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns for 17 seasons before departing in 1962, had the urge to get back into pro football. In 1965, he met with then-Governor Jim Rhodes and the two agreed the state could accommodate a second pro football team.

A year later in 1966, Cincinnati's city council approved the construction of 60,389-seat Riverfront Stadium, which was scheduled for completion by 1970. The next year, a group headed by Brown was awarded an American Football League franchise that would begin play in 1968. Brown named his team the Bengals in recognition of previous Cincinnati pro football franchises with the same name in the 1930s and 1940s. Brown himself returned to the coaching ranks on the Bengals sidelines for the first eight years. He retired after the 1975 season but continued to serve as general manager until his death in 1991.

The 1968 Bengals won their first two home games in 28,000-seat Nippert Stadium against Denver and Buffalo and finished with the same 3-11 record, the most an expansion team of the 1960s recorded. Cincinnati improved enough in 1969 that Brown was named the AFL Coach of the Year. In 1970, they captured the NFL's AFC Central division title and thus became the first expansion team to win a championship of any kind in just three years.

Bengals Facts

  • Franchise Granted:
    May 24, 1967
  • First Season:
  • Stadium:
    Nippert Stadium
  • Head Coach:
    Paul Brown
  • AFL Championships:
  • AFL Division Championships:
  • All-Time AFL Record:
  • Retired Uniform Numbers:
    #54 Bob Johnson

Bengals' Historical Performance

1968 14 3 11 0 215 329 0.214    Paul Brown
1969 14 4 9 1 280 367 0.321    Paul Brown

Bengals Totals 28 7 20 1 495 696 0.268  


Firsts, Records and Odds and Ends

  • First Draft Pick:
    Bob Johnson, C, Tennessee, 1968.
  • First Regular-Season Game:
    A 13-29 loss to the San Diego Chargers, 9/6/68.
  • First Regular-Season Win:
    A 24-10 victory over the Denver Broncos, 9/15/68.
  • First Pass Reception:
    Running back Tom Smiley caught a 2-yard pass from quarterback Dewey Warren on the second play in Bengals history, 9/6/68.
  • First Regular-Season Touchdown:
    A 2-yard run by running back Paul Robinson vs. the San Diego Chargers, 9/6/68.
  • First To Rush 100 Yards in a Game:
    Paul Robinson, 157 yards vs. the Oakland Raiders, 10/27/68.
  • First 1,000-Yard Rusher:
    Paul Robinson, 1,023 yards (1968).
  • First All-League Selection:
    Paul Robinson, All-AFL in 1968.
Copyright 1997-2004 Robert Phillips. All rights reserved.

USA Today ~ July 1, 2009

AFL's Bengals became Paul Brown's entry back into NFL
Paul Brown was the longtime coach of the Cleveland Browns before he became the first coach of the Cincinnati Bengals when they joined the AFL as an expansion franchise in 1968.
AP file photo
Paul Brown was the longtime coach of the Cleveland Browns before he became the first coach of the Cincinnati Bengals when they joined the AFL as an expansion franchise in 1968.
Third in a series exploring the histories of all 10 AFL franchises as the NFL celebrates the league's 50th anniversary.

The Cincinnati Bengals were members of the American Football League, the one that fought the mighty National Football League and actually won.

Thing is, though, the Bengals' first caretaker was an NFL legend.

He was instant credibility.

He was Paul Brown, the man who, as coach of the storied Cleveland Browns, helped lift the NFL to heights still being enjoyed today.

So he will not go down in history as an "AFL guy" or league pioneer.

Yet he was … to some degree.

The Bengals began play in 1968 as the AFL's 10th and final franchise, and even that was something of a wink-wink proposition, according to Mike Brown, son of Paul and the current owner of the Bengals.

"My father did think of himself as an NFL guy," Mike Brown says, "but keep in mind, he came out of the old All-America Football Conference with the Browns and the 49ers and the Colts, and that merger (with the NFL) took place in 1950, so it wasn't as though he was unfamiliar with new leagues and being part of a new league. … Besides that, when we got the Bengals franchise, the merger had been agreed to (in 1966), although it hadn't been defined."

In other words, Paul Brown's foray into the AFL was a calculated path into the NFL.

Or rather, back into the NFL.

Understand, Paul Brown — who led the Browns to seven titles beginning with their AAFC inception in 1946 and entered the Hall of Fame in 1967 — remains an NFL icon and innovator. Face masks on helmets, racial integration, innovative plays — you name it, he did it.

Said former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1991: "His wealth of ideas changed the game."

The Bengals finished 3-11 and 4-9-1 in their two AFL seasons, led by linebacker Bill Bergey, halfback Paul Robinson, tight end Bob Trumpy — all all-star caliber players — and quarterbacks Greg Cook and Sam Wyche, who later coached the team to a Super Bowl XXIII berth after the 1988 season.

And the Bengals had Paul Brown as their coach. In their tiny AFL corner, they had establishment, or in today's vernacular, "street cred."

And then, in their third season — when the AFL and NFL had officially merged and the Browns joined the Bengals in the newly formed AFC Central (now AFC North) — they played the Browns.

Paul Brown's Browns pitted against Paul Brown's Bengals.

The Browns won the first meeting 30-27 at home. But the Bengals took the rematch in Cincinnati 14-10, part of a season-ending seven-game win streak that propelled them to an 8-6 record in 1970, winners of the first AFC Central crown.

"For us, that was a very keen rivalry," Mike Brown says of facing Cleveland. "Nobody said anything, but everybody understood that game was a little bit like the Army-Navy game. That's the one that mattered; the others were important, but this one was more important.

"And it was; it was. Throughout my father's time here, especially when he was a coach here … those games were meaningful, special games, and we took them very seriously."

          The article doesn't note that Paul Brown* was a PARIAH to true American Football League fans.  During the talks in which the NFL approached the AFL to merge, he resisted the retention of the AFL's name and logo, saying "I didn't pay ten million dollars to be in the AFL".  Looks like the Bengals still don't care to be included in the celebration of the AFL's 50th season.  All other former AFL teams will be wearing AFL throwback uniforms and playing 'AFL Legacy games' against other former American Football League teams in 2009 ~ but not the Bengals.  ~ REMEMBER the AFL

USA TODAY Series on the AFL:  

  How the AFL changed the NFL
   Boston Patriots
   Miami Dolphins
    Denver Broncos
     Los Angeles/San Diego CHARGERS
     Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs
    New York TITANS/JETS


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Last revision: 20 July 2012 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio,