After making it to Super Bowl in 1988, the Cincinnati Bengals were named NFL champions. Their team had six Pro Bowl selections and a wide receiver named Eddie Brown. The wide receiver had 54 receptions for 1,273 yards and nine touchdowns and set several franchise records including most receiving yards in a season, highest yards per catch average, and most receiving yardage in a single game. Rod Holman and Tim McGee, wide receiver and tight end, had 75 receptions each for 1,213 yards.
Esiason was awarded the NFL MVP award and led the Bengals to a record of 12-4. Woods, a 6-foot-2 running back weighing in at 231 pounds, stole the show. He rushed for a team-high 1,066 yards with 15 touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. He gained instant media fame for his “Ickey Shuffle” dance routine.
The ’88 Bengals had a similar resume. They had a quarterback named after the NFL MVP, which was not the case with the ’81 Bengals. They won 12 games in the regular season and advanced to the Super Bowl where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers with a 16-13 lead. The defense was strong with five players scoring at least one touchdown in each game.
The ’88 Bengals won the NFL playoffs. Esiason won MVP for the third consecutive year. The offense was strong on offense with a number of playmakers, such as Eddie Brown, the franchise’s leading receiver. He ranked sixth in all-time with 1,273 yards and nine touchdowns. The team also had two of the top four wideouts in the league, James Brooks and Ickey woods, in the running game. Both players had outstanding seasons, and their combined catching totals were 486 yards and six touchdowns.
The 1989 season was defined by the Cincinnati Bengals’ no huddle offense. Esiason had a rating of 97.4 and led the AFC in passing yards that season. His ability to throw the ball without huddles was key to the Bengals’ winning the Super Bowl. This year, Esiason’s teammates were unable to keep up with the Bengals, as the ‘no-huddle’ offense was implemented by head coach Sam Wyche and he won the MVP award for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Two huge plays by Jerry Rice early in the game were made to score a touchdown and force San Francisco to punt. However, on the Bengals’ next possession, they had a fourth down on the 49ers’ 22-yard line. Montana completed a pass to Rice of 44 yards and a touchdown pass to Rice of four yards. The 49ers failed to score a first down and the Bengals settled on a Cody Cofer 32-yard field goal.