The upstart Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t hold off the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. Can they now buck a little NFL history?
There’s that fabled bit by The Three Stooges. But the location here is the Queen City and not Niagara Falls.
The Cincinnati Bengals have now appeared in three Super Bowls and all resulted in defeat.
There was a 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at the Pontiac Silverdome (XVI), a 20-16 setback to the Niners in South Florida (XXIII), and now a 23-20 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.
Five. Four. Three.
Zac Taylor’s team rallied from a 13-3 second-quarter deficit and take a 20-13 lead in the fourth quarter only to see the Rams score the final 10 points of the game. Matthew Stafford connected with game MVP Cooper Kupp on a one-yard score with 1:25 to play. Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked seven times, tying a Super Bowl record. Cincinnati limited the Rams to 313 total yards, including just 43 yards on the ground. And still, Taylor’s team fell short.
But now comes perhaps a taller task. While the Rams will be attempting to become the ninth back-to-back Super Bowl champion, the Bengals will look to become only the fourth team to follow up a Super Bowl Sunday loss with a victory in the “Big Game” the following season.
It did happen in 2018. After the Patriots fell to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, they bounced back to beat the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Before that, you have to go back to the 1970s. The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V and then defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. And off that defeat to Dallas, Don Shula’s club captured Super Bowls VII and VIII.
There are quite a few months between now and the start of NFL 2022. The new fiscal year begins on March 16 and the draft runs from April 28-30. The Bengals have proven in recent offseasons that they are willing to spend some money in order to get better.
We saw the results in 2021. But can this franchise become one of the few to follow up a Super Bowl setback with a Lombardi Trophy? History isn’t necessarily their friend.