These Bengals prowl the jungle of the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals professional football franchise traces an elite heritage, having been formed by Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown in 1968 as part of the American Football League (AFL). Cincinnati joined the National Football League in 1970 when the AFL and NFL merged and went on to make two trips to the Super Bowl (losing both times to the San Francisco 49ers). The team plays host at Paul Brown Stadium, which opened in 2000. Brown's family, led by his son Mike Brown, continues to control the Bengals.
Cincy fans have been plagued by mostly loosing seasons since 1990. Most of the criticism for the team's woes on the field had been directed at Brown, who's ownership of his father's franchise has been likened to a king running his castle. Former Washington Redskins assistant Marvin Lewis took over as head coach in 2003 and two years later led the Bengals to a playoff appearance ending a 15-year post-season drought.
The city of Cincinnati helped finance Paul Brown Stadium. The new $450 million facility replaced aging Riverfront Stadium.