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Thread: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

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    Plays The Right Way Hap's Avatar
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    Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    I say yes.

    I'm not gonna pull out any stats here, but that offense ranked with the best of its time. They were as good as Montana's 49ers and Marino's Dolphins.

    James Brooks got no love from the national media at the time, and these days is almost forgotten. But, in my humble opinion, he was the best offensive player in the game until Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas came along and the media gave them all the love. Brooks was an all-purpose back several years before Thomas, and was a home-run threat every time he touched the ball several years before Sanders. Brooks had the hands of a possession receiver and the speed and quickness of a split end. As a receiver, he was as good as any receiver in the league at the time. He was a four-time pro-bowler in an era with some darn good running backs to compete with him for pro bowl spots.

    They had several bodies in the fullback position (Kinnebrew, Wilson, Woods, etc.), but each one had a good deal of success.

    Brown and McGee ranked with the best receiver tandems anywhere else in the game, but got no love from the national media. Anyone who saw them play can tell you that.

    From Superbowls 19 thru 31, they put up the toughest game of any AFC team against a much tougher NFC. The Bengals had held the lead several different times through out the game, including with less that one minute to go. The Steelers of SB 30 never had a lead. The Bills of SB 25 had leads of 12-3 and 19-17, but lost their final lead mid-way through the fourth quarter.

    So, it's safe to say that they were the best non-winner from a period from SB's 19-31. The SB32 Packers were a very good team, but I think the Bengals would outscore them as they would out score the SB34 Titans, the SB 36 Rams, and the SB38 Panthers.

    So, according to my logic, no one has been a better non-winner since the 1988 Bengals. I have very faint NFL memories for any points prior to that, so therefore, according to my logic, they ARE the best non-winner ever.
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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    '83 Redskins
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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    I rooted for the 1988 Bengals but IMO they are not close to being the best team to lose a Super Bowl. I'd take the 1967 Raiders, 1971 Dolphins, the 1978 Cowboys, the 1983 Redskins, the 1990 Bills and the 1997 Packers over the 1988 Bengals.
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    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    James Brooks was the man

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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    If they would have had a good defense, maybe. Unfortunately, the defense was not very good.
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    Plays The Right Way Hap's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    If they would have had a good defense, maybe. Unfortunately, the defense was not very good.
    Their defense does not rank with the '85 Bears or the '77 Steelers, but.....

    They had some superstars (Krumrie, Fulcher), some semi-stars (Billups, Thomas, Zander, Williams), and some very good role players (Bussey, Barker, Buck). As long as the offense can score three or four touchdowns, the defense can keep the team in the game.

    If I recall correctly, the 1988 Bengals won against Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh with goal-line stands. They only lost to KC and NE on last-second FGs. They lost to Cleveland on a blocked punt. So, their loss to Houston was the only real loss they had all season. They won a few close games and blew everyone else out.

    The 49ers were the best team they had played all season. The 49ers were clearly the better team, but the Bengals certainly proved they deserved to be there.
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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    At that point in history (most of the 80s and early 90s), the AFC was the JV league. No offense to the Bengals, they played a heck of a game in that Super Bowl and had a nice season, but the NFC was loaded back in those days. It won 15 of 16 Super Bowls from 1981-1996 and 13 straight from 1984-1996. The AFC played soft football in that era and I don't think you can take any AFC club from that time and hold it up as any sort of paragon.
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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hap
    The 49ers were clearly the better team, but the Bengals certainly proved they deserved to be there.
    I disagree, Hap. The Bengals were the best team in the NFL in 1988. They lost their starting fullback (Stanley Wilson) the night before the Super Bowl and then lost their starting nose tackle (Tim Krumrie) to a broken leg very early in the game, and still came within a few seconds of pulling that game out.

    Add either Wilson or Krumrie back into the mix, and Cincinnati is Super Bowl XXIII Champions.

    And no need to knock that defense. They were middle of the pack and gave up more than 24 points only three times all season. Don't forget, mighty Joe Montana and his mighty 49ers had scored only 13 points with a few seconds left to go in the game.

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    Member ochre's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    even with losing those players, if they hold onto that one interception (Billups?) in the end zone they win.
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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    Yeah freaking Lewis Billups.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he was on the take. I remember when he kidnapped Rex Chapman's wife and held her for ransom, or at least pretended to. I can't remember all of the details, but that was one shady cat.

    That game had so many twists and turns it was crazy. I still think it was the best Super Bowl I've ever seen.

    Wonder why nobody speaks as fondly of the 1981 Bengals team. They were mere inches from winning that game. I remember being so dismayed at halftime that I went up to my closet and cried. Then I went back dowstairs and started rooting for the Niners, until the Bengals staged the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

    ....Then I got sad again. What can I say? I was seven!

    It sure would be nice to see the boys in the funny helmets in the Super Bowl again, I love that feeling when you wake up in the morning, rub your eyes, and realize "Holy CRAP! My team's in the SUPER BOWL!!!"
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    Stanley Wilson had zero effect on this game, other than the media attention. With Ickey and Brooks, I hardly think we missed the guy. Woods rushed for over 1000 that year and Brooks was darn close, but Stanley Wilson would not have gotten 6 carries in the Super Bowl, even if he was there.

    Wilson averaged 3.6 yards a carry that year. He had 2 rushing TDs and 398 yards for the whole season. He made virtually no difference at all.

    Both Woods and Brooks averaged over 5 yards per carry and had a combined 23 rushing TDs that season. To think Stanley Wilson had any impact at all is to make a pretty sorry excuse for an underachieving Super Bowl performance (offensively speaking).

    The Bengals ran over people that year for the first half of the season or so, and then sort of backed into home field advantage on Chip Lohmiller's missed field goal.

    They are my favorite team of all time, but they are nowhere near the best Super Bowl losers.

    The Krumrie factor was big, but if you don't score an offensive TD with the firepower they had, you don't deserve to win. You aren't going to beat the Niners with 16 points, and Stanley Wilson wouldn't help you get more than 16 points, especially since he averaged just over a point a game that year.

  13. #12
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom Heffner
    Stanley Wilson had zero effect on this game, other than the media attention. With Ickey and Brooks, I hardly think we missed the guy. Woods rushed for over 1000 that year and Brooks was darn close, but Stanley Wilson would not have gotten 6 carries in the Super Bowl, even if he was there.

    Wilson averaged 3.6 yards a carry that year. He had 2 rushing TDs and 398 yards for the whole season. He made virtually no difference at all.

    Both Woods and Brooks averaged over 5 yards per carry and had a combined 23 rushing TDs that season. To think Stanley Wilson had any impact at all is to make a pretty sorry excuse for an underachieving Super Bowl performance (offensively speaking).

    The Bengals ran over people that year for the first half of the season or so, and then sort of backed into home field advantage on Chip Lohmiller's missed field goal.

    They are my favorite team of all time, but they are nowhere near the best Super Bowl losers.

    The Krumrie factor was big, but if you don't score an offensive TD with the firepower they had, you don't deserve to win. You aren't going to beat the Niners with 16 points, and Stanley Wilson wouldn't help you get more than 16 points, especially since he averaged just over a point a game that year.
    Rushing stats alone don't reveal the value Wilson had to that team, or the devastating effects that his actions had on the team on Super Bowl Sunday. Somebody had to block for Woods and Brooks, and those two followed Stanley Wilson through a lot of holes in '88. The loss of his blocking was a big reason that team only scored 16 points that day, and seven of those came on Stanford Jennings special teams TD.

    Here's an exerpt from a story that appeared in a south Florida newspaper:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/o...ck=1&cset=true

    In 1989, the Cincinnati Bengals gathered for a team meeting the night before Super Bowl XXIII. Running back Stanley Wilson was missing, though. He left his hotel room with the others, then told a teammate he forgot his playbook.

    He returned to his room, but pulled a bag of cocaine -- not a playbook -- out of his gym bag.

    About 20 minutes later, an assistant coach found Wilson lying on the bathroom floor of his Holiday Inn room, the victim of an overdose. Coach Sam Wyche was in tears as he told his players a few minutes later.

    "It was as if the whole team got kicked in the groin," says Reggie Williams, a linebacker on that team and now an executive at Disney's Wide World of Sports. "Instead of a confident, assured group of competitors, the night before the biggest game of our lives we had the wind knocked out of us."

    Williams roomed with running back James Brooks, and Williams spent the night before the game trying to reassure Brooks all would be well.

    "I was Bundini Brown to Muhammad Ali the night before the game," Williams says. "[Brooks] was so distraught about not having Wilson. I had to pump him up all night. I told him, 'James, you can outrun them. They can't see you.'

    "All night long, I was telling him how great he was and this would be the game the world would find out what a phenomenal athlete he was."

    The story only got worse. The Bengals took Wilson from the Holiday Inn to the Omni Hotel in downtown Miami, but Wilson sneaked away from team officials, fleeing down a fire escape. Later he admited to visiting Biscayne Boulevard, purchasing liquor, more cocaine and checking into a motel.

    The Bengals took the field the next day and had no idea where Wilson was. He surfaced the day after the Bengals lost to the 49ers 20-16, a game in which Cincinnati's offense failed to score a touchdown.

    "The distractions give you an excuse not to own the final result, and I don't want that excuse. But it crept into our consciousness," Williams says. "We would have won the game with Stanley. There is no doubt in my mind."

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

  14. #13
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Are The 1988 Bengals The Best Ever Super Bowl Non-Winner?

    Macro, thanks for the post. Your point is well-taken, but Stanley Wilson was a non-factor on the field. Woods and Brooks did not have the year they had because of Wilson. Those two were awesome because of the line - Munoz and Montoya in particular- and not Stanley Wilson.

    Someone wrote earlier on this thread that Stanley Wilson was the Bengals' starting fullback, but this is not true- it was Ickey Woods.

    Woods and Brooks were mostly in the backfield.

    I'll totally concede this had a mental impact, sure. But Wilson was simply not a huge part of that offense.

    It seems like a pretty lame excuse to say they lost the Super Bowl because they did not have their backup fullback who scored just 2 rushing TDs all year.

    They lost because they couldn't score, and Wilson was not a part of the machine that was their offense for most of that season.

    Even Williams' quote alludes to the distraction and not his physical talent which may have hampered their efforts.
    Last edited by Dom Heffner; 02-06-2005 at 08:49 PM.


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