Game history

The last time the Bengals won a playoff game: Story of Cincinnati’s playoff drought, ‘Curse of Bo Jackson’

It’s been a long time since the city of Cincinnati has seen its two biggest sports teams advance by one round in the playoffs.

The Reds in baseball reached the playoffs in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2020, with each season ending quickly. The Bengals reached the playoffs in 2005, 2009 and 2011-15, and each time were eliminated in the wild card round. The only team to advance one round in the playoffs in the city is FC Cincinnati, back when it was in the USL. Since his move to MLS, he has yet to reach the playoffs.

Cincinnati fans have grown accustomed to playoff disappointment, from Carson Palmer’s injury in 2005 to Roy Halladay’s 2010 no-hitter, losing three straight at home to the Giants in 2012 and winning Ben Roethlisberger against the Bengals in 2016 – with two majors penalized at the end – to come back from a seemingly unwinnable 18-16 deficit.

The Bengals are back in the playoffs after winning the AFC North for the first time since 2015. Not only will they host a game, but they will do so as favorites against the Raiders, with FanDuel Sportsbook placing the Bengals at 4 .5 dots. favourites. Could this be the year Cincinnati moves?

Sporting News looks back on the playoff drought the Bengals endured, what the world looked like when they last won the playoffs, and where their losing streak ranks in NFL history.

The Bengals’ playoff history

When was the last time the Bengals won a playoff game?

In 1990, the Bengals finished the regular season with a 9-7 record, tying the Houston Oilers and Steelers for the AFC Central’s best record, but taking the lead via the tiebreaker. The division was the only one in the league without a team that had double-digit wins.

The Bengals played the Oilers on January 6, 1991 and beat divisional opponents 41-14 to advance to the AFC Divisional Round. In that game, quarterback Boomer Esiason, now a CBS Sports analyst, completed 14 of 20 passes for 150 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran five times for 57 yards and another score. Cincinnati took a 20-0 halftime lead and never let up in the game.

The previous year, the Reds won the World Series, marking the last time City won a championship. Since 1991, the Reds have won the NLDS in 1995, the last time Cincinnati’s MLB team advanced one round in the playoffs.

“The Curse of Bo Jackson”

Cincinnati only won that first game against the Oilers before facing the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC Divisional Round. Los Angeles won that game 20-10 thanks to two touchdown passes from quarterback Jay Schroeder.

But this game is not remembered for the result, but rather for what happened during the match. Star running back and two-sport athlete Bo Jackson took a stint during the third quarter of the game and ran on the sidelines. It looked like he was headed for the end zone before linebacker Kevin Walker could tackle him from behind, keeping the score close.

At the time, the tackle didn’t seem like a big deal or particularly damaging, but it was revealed that he had dislocated and fractured his hip. According to a Los Angeles Times article at the time, a doctor said Jackson suffered from avascular necrosis, which meant that blood had been cut from the damaged bone. Jackson never played in the NFL again, and he only played a few more MLB games for the rest of his career, spending two seasons with the White Sox and one with the Angels, but he never had the base ability or power stolen. he had before the injury.

Sports icon Jackson’s injury has led to speculation that Cincinnati has been hit with the “Bo Jackson curse” for ending his career. The Bengals went from a team that reached the Super Bowl in 1988 to the NFL’s worst team between 1991 and 2002. It wasn’t until Marvin Lewis arrived as the team’s head coach that Cincinnati was able to return to the playoffs, but even then the quick exits from the playoffs each year left the city feeling like a curse lingered on them.

State of the world in 1991

As has been pointed out, today’s world is quite different from the world where Cincinnati celebrated a playoff win.

For starters, text messages are now a thing.

But there are many other things that have changed. The gas cost about $1.14 a gallon, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Three days after the match, the Persian Gulf War began with the start of the American air campaign. President George HW Bush’s approval rating was over 64%, according to Gallup, and eventually reached nearly 90% that year, the highest job approval ever given by a president to that point. He would lose his re-election bid a year later.

In the tech world, Microsoft first launched its office suite in 1990. The most popular phone was a Motorola MicroTac Classic, according to My Broadband. The world was only a year away from PenLite, Apple’s first attempt at making a tablet.

“The Silence of the Lambs” won the Best Picture Oscar. According to The TV Ratings Guide, “Cheers” was the No. 1 television program for the 1990-91 season. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles of 1991.

The NFL had only three divisions in each conference and only 28 teams. Houston was still the Oilers, the Raiders were in Los Angeles, the Chargers were in San Diego, and the Cardinals were in Phoenix. At that time, the Patriots had never won a Super Bowl. They have since tied the Steelers for the most wins in league history.

Tom Brady would have finished college when the Bengals won, and when Cincinnati then took the field, he would be preparing to enter high school. The only active Bengals still alive were Michael Thomas (less than a year old), Kevin Huber (5 years old), and Chris Harris (a year and a half). Joe Burrow was born nearly six years later.

Longest NFL playoff winning drought

Cincinnati’s 30 years without a playoff win is tied for the longest active streak among any NFL team. The Lions are the other team at 30. The last time Detroit won a game was when they reached the NFC Conference Championship Game in 1992 after the 1991 season ended and lost to Washington. If Cincinnati loses on Saturday, it will again surpass Detroit for the longest drought.

Every other NFL team won at least one playoff game in the 2000s.

There have only been three teams that have gone longer than the Bengals without winning a playoff game.

The Cardinals hold the longest streak, and it’s not particularly tight. Arizona reached the playoffs in 1998 and advanced to the Divisional Round. However, before that, the last time the Cardinals had won a playoff game was in 1947 when the Chicago Cardinals defeated the Eagles to win the NFL Championship. That’s 51 years without winning a playoff game. During this period, the cardinals went from Chicago Cardinals to St. Louis Cardinals to Phoenix Cardinals to Arizona Cardinals.

The Lions won an NFL Championship in 1957 and did not win another playoff game until that 1991 season which ended in the NFC Conference Championship Game for a 34-year drought. During that span, they only made the playoffs three times.

The only other longer losing streak in NFL history belongs to the Saints. New Orleans began life as a franchise in 1967 and didn’t win a playoff game until 2000 when they finally beat the Rams in the wild card round. He lost to the Vikings in the divisional round.