#tbt - Haven't we been here before? Bengals and 49ers compete in 2 Super Bowls
Super Bowls XVI and XXIII may not ring a bell with you.
But for Cincinnati Bengals fans, they’ll be remembered not as a ring but as the San Franciscan toll.
This week, with media hyping Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII (53 for those who don’t do Roman), it’s only natural that we Southwest Ohioans recall the two Super Bowls in which our local team did play.
Interestingly, both times their opponent was the San Francisco 49ers.
Remarkably, both times the opposing quarterback was Joe Montana.
Unfortunately, both times the Bengals lost.
For Bengals fans, the final score of Super Bowl XVI (16) on January 24, 1982 still feels like a stubborn bandage that just got ripped off. Coach Bill Walsh, Quarterback Montana and the 49ers prevailed at the Pontiac, Michigan, Silverdome with a score of 26 to 21 over Bengals Coach Forrest Gregg, Quarterback Ken Anderson and our guys in stripes.
In Sports Illustrated’s “Super Bowl Gold -- 50 Years of the Big Game,” Anderson recalled the gut-wrenching outcome :
“That was the first Super Bowl where the losing team had more touchdowns and more total yards than the winner. We moved the ball. You just can’t turn it over four times and expect to win. When we cut their lead to five points with 16 seconds left, it was too little too late. We had moved it down the field, but unfortunately it took some time to do it. Once they recovered the onside kick, you knew it was over. Done...”
“...You realize it’s the biggest game of your life and it’s the most disappointing,” he lamented.
Anderson lightened the mood by recalling a post-game conversation he had with his then-6-year-old son. When asked what he thought about the game, the little boy responded, “....Dad, it was the best halftime show I’ve ever seen...”
“At least that brought a smile to my face,” Anderson said.
The bell began to toll.
Fast forward to January 22, 1989, for Super Bowl XXIII (23) at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. As some would say, it was “deja vu all over again” -- the Bengals, this time with Sam Wyche as coach and Boomer Esiason as QB, facing off a second time with familiar faces 49ers Coach Walsh and QB Montana.
Standing on the sidelines near game’s end, Esiason watched as the 49ers “marched down the field” for the final drive. Despite the ongoing play, he was approached by Disney World representatives who were preparing to film the Most Valuable Player proclaiming “I’m going to Disney World!” as soon as the game ended.
“They wanted to know if I knew my lines...if I needed any makeup...if I wanted to fix my black eye,” Esiason recalled. “And they wanted me to practice saying, ‘I’m going to Disney World! I’m going to Disney World!...The game wasn’t over yet!” he exclaimed.
Moments later, the game ended with another 49ers win: 20 to 16.
“...As soon as I could say, ‘I’m not going to Disney World,’ the cameras disappeared,” Esiason said. “Those same people who had been bugging me for what seemed like an eternity were gone before I knew it. They ran across the field looking for Joe Montana.”
For whom did the bell toll that day? Bengal fans already knew:
“...Send not to know
for whom the bell tolls,
it tolls for thee…” *
* From “No Man Is An Island” by John Donne :http://www.famousliteraryworks.com/donne_for_whom_the_bell_tolls.htm
Bengal fans, let’s not end this conversation on a downer. Just for fun, try to answer the following Super Bowl XVI and XXIII trivia questions. Answers are at the very bottom of this blog, so don’t look down. (Answers courtesy of Sports Illustrated’s “Super Bowl Gold - 50 Years of the Big Game”).
1.Who sang the National Anthem at Super Bowls XVI and XXIII?
2.Who were the halftime performers at Super Bowls XVI and XXIII?
THEN GET READY FOR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3!
Get ready to watch the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams compete for Super Bowl’s coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy this Sunday, February 3, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. **
If you’re looking for all-things-Super Bowl (more history, party planning and recipes) look no further than MidPointe Library!
Visit any of our five branches : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township (second floor of Liberty Center) or check out our catalog at:
MidPointe also offers a voluminous array of material on our eLibrary, available via our website: www.midpointelibrary.org
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Finally, giving credit where credit’s due:
The book, “Super Bowl Gold - 50 Years of the Big Game,” published in 2015 by Sports Illustrated Books, was the source of information for this article. It includes a foreword by award-winning sports reporter and author Peter King, who formerly covered the sports beat for the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Super Bowl Gold…” is available for checkout at MidPointe Library.
Images of the January 25, 1982, and January 23, 1989, front pages of the Middletown Journal are from microfilm copies available for viewing at MidPointe Library, Middletown.
National Anthem singers: