Cincinnati Bengals head back to Super Bowl

It was not impossible, but what Cincinnati Bengals snatching Sunday was certainly unlikely.

For the first time since the 1988-89 season, the Bengals are heading to the Super Bowl. They achieved this by beating Las Vegas in the wildcard round before hitting the road to knock out AFC’s No. 1 seed Tennessee in the Divisional Round and the No. 2 seed of AFC Kansas City in Sunday’s AFC title game. .

It’s been quite a turnaround for the Bengals since last season and 30 years, when they lost to the San Francisco 49ers 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII.

Let’s take a look at some of the facts and figures that define the 33 years since the Bengals made the Super Bowl, as well as how Cincy fared this year:

2021: The last time a team beat the conference’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on the road to the Super Bowl was last year, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat New Orleans. , seeded second, and Green Bay, seeded number one.

49ers: Both times the Bengals reached the Super Bowl — 1981 and 1988 — they played the 49ers. They lost every time.

Undefeated: The Bengals improved to 3-0 all-time in conference championship games. The only other NFL team that is undefeated in conference championship history is the New York Giants (5-0).

Choice #1: Joe Burrow is the first No. 1 overall pick to play in a Super Bowl in his first two years in the NFL.

‘Everyone has worked so hard for this moment’ – Joe Burrow on Bengals’ progress to Super Bowl

Joe Burrow talks with Kristina Pink about the Cincinnati Bengals’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

From worst to first: The Bengals are just the third team since 2003 to go from worst to first in their division and win the Super Bowl in the same season, joining the Philadelphia Eagles (2017) and Saints (2009).

QB Carousel: Since their last Super Bowl appearance in the 1988-89 season, the Bengals have pitched 21 different quarterbacks.

Returning children: The Bengals won their first playoff game as they trailed at halftime. They were down 18 and through Sunday were 0-11 dating back to 1930 when they trailed at halftime in the playoffs.

Repeat children back: Cincy became the first team in NFL history to overcome a more than 10-point halftime deficit twice against the same opponent in the same season.

LSU connection: This is the second time Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase will compete in a championship game together, after winning the national championship at LSU in 2019.

Lots on the line: Burrow has a shot at becoming the first QB to win a national college title, the Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl ring.

Before: The 2020 Bengals finished 4-11-1 and last in the AFC North. They were 3-5 at home and 1-6 away. Cincy finished 29th in the NFL in points per game (19.4) and yards per game (319.8) and 30th in third conversion (36.2%). Defensively, they were 26th in the NFL in yards allowed per game (389.2) and last in sacks (17).

After: The 2021 Bengals finished 10-7 and first in the AFC North. They were 5-4 at home and 5-3 away. Cincy finished seventh in the NFL in points per game (27.1) and 13th in yards per game (361.5). Defensively, the Bengals were 18th in the NFL in yards allowed per game (350.8) and tied for 11th in sacks (42).

Finally and especially: The last time the Bengals played the Super Bowl (1989), Nintendo released the Game Boy in Japan and North America, Microsoft Office came out, the Berlin Wall came down, the first episode of “The Simpsons” aired, the first episode of “Seinfeld” aired, the average cost of a home was $120,000, a gallon of gas was 97 cents, and (drum roll, please) the World Wide Web was invented!

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