Have you ever wondered what the greatest teams of all time would look like? Well look no further because throughout the offseason we will be going team by team, assembling the greatest teams of all time! Next up we’re taking on The Who Dey nation, that’s right the Cincinnati Bengals! There is a lot of history as well with this franchise, but only one hall of famer. Let’s dive into the players that have made the Bengals great. Quarterbacks: It’s hard to look anywhere else when ranking the top Bengals quarterbacks of all time. Esiason was the quarterback for one of the most potent offenses of the late 1980s. Under head coach Sam Wyche, Esiason ran the no-huddle offense to perfection and showcased mobility as he finished just under 1,600 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns in his career. But, if you were to ask any Bengals fan who they believe should he in the Hall Of Fame, it would be Ken Anderson. Anderson holds many of the quarterback franchise records, he helped establish the West Coast offense with Bill Walsh, and is considered one of the most accurate quarterbacks all time. In fact, only Steve Young has more seasons with the highest passer rating. Running Backs: Of course everyone knows about current running back Joe Mixon, but when it comes to naming the greatest in franchise history things can get a little foggy. James Brooks is considered one of the best trade pickups in Bengals history. After his departure from Cincinnati in 1991, Brooks had amassed 6,447 yards which made him the Bengals all time leading rusher. This was then broken by Corey Dillon at a mark of 8,061. From 1997 to 2002, Dillon rushed for over 1,000 yards each year, and made the Pro Bowl three times. Dillon was shining star on the infamous “Bungles”.
Wide Receivers: There’s no doubt that you would be throwing a plenty of deep balls with this group of receivers. You have a complete contrast of character in Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and AJ Green. Johnson holds many of the franchise records for receivers, but there’s no question Green should be able to surpass those marks if the current Bengals can figure out the quarterback situation. I wanted to specifically touch on Curtis because he is cause for one of the most well known NFL rules. The Isaac Curtis Rule” states that a defender is only allowed to block a receiver within five yards of the line of scrimmage. After the initial five yards, any contact will be considered holding, which is a five-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
Offensive Line: The Bengals surprisingly have some of the most consistent and reliable offensive lineman, compared to the Bears which were more stout at tight end. The lone Hall Of Famer for the Bengals resides here and is none other than Anthony Muñoz. Muñoz became a starter in his rookie season and remained a fixture at left tackle for the Bengals for 13 seasons. Muñoz played in both of the Bengals’ Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowls XVI and XXIII.
Defensive Line: Heading over to the defensive side now, you’ll see a lot more current Bengals start popping up. Edwards and Krumrie were just all around tough football players playing through even some of the craziest injuries. In the 1988 season Krumrie suffered a broken tibia and fibula, this injury came during the Super Bowl, and despite only recovering for five months, Krumrie was ready to play. Edwards, who played viciously for 12 seasons, is known for falling victim to the era of not counting sacks as stats. Officially Edwards has 47.5 sacks, but should be known for his total of 83.5.
Linebackers: It’s hard to top last weeks group of linebackers from the Chicago Bears, but make no mistake, the Bengals can hold their own. Ask any Bengals fan who the all-time best linebacker in team history is and nine times out of ten, Reggie Williams will be named. He played all 14 seasons of his professional career in Cincinnati, twice going to the Super Bowl. Takeo Spikes got his decorated career start in Cincinnati in 1998 where he immediately started to lead the team in tackles and snap counts. Spikes is only one of seven linebackers with more than 200 professional starts.
Secondary: Last but certainly not least, we reach the cornerbacks and safeties for the Bengals. Ken Riley made an immediate impact for the Bengals as a defensive back, recording four interceptions and 66 interception return yards as a rookie. Riley established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the NFL, recording three or more interceptions in all but three of his 15 seasons. Other than Riley, Lemar Parrish was a notable cornerback/punt returner for the Bengals. Parrish was another player who made noise his rookie season, recording five interceptions and touchdown on both kickoff return and punt return. In his eight seasons with the Bengals, Parrish was selected to the Pro Bowl six times.