When you think of the Cincinnati Bengals, several names likely come to mind. From legendary coaches like Sam Wyche to unforgettable players like Anthony Munoz, the Bengals have a rich history filled with talented individuals who have left their mark on the franchise. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 greatest players in team history, celebrating their accomplishments and contributions to the Bengals.
Arguably the most dominant Bengal of all time, Anthony Muñoz is our starting point on this list. Muñoz, a beast on the offensive line, is the only Hall of Famer who played his entire career in stripes – a whopping 13 seasons. An iconic figure in Bengals history, he was not just a player but a force of nature, earning 11 Pro Bowl nods and nine All-Pro selections during his career. With 185 games under his belt, Muñoz displayed a level of consistency and skill that set him apart from his colleagues and helped propel the team to two Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s.
Next up on our list is Ken Anderson, the mastermind quarterback who won the NFL MVP in 1981 and earned All-Pro honors that same year. Anderson, a standout amongst the Bengals’ lineup, had a knack for sending the pigskin exactly where it needed to go, earning Pro Bowl recognition in four of his seasons. Over his illustrious career, he amassed a franchise record of 32,838 passing yards, a testament to his consistency and prowess on the field. He also ranks second in the Bengals’ history books with his impressive 197 passing touchdowns. Anderson’s strategic mind, combined with his remarkable skill, solidifies his spot as one of the most outstanding Bengals ever.
Esiason, a quarterback like no other, left an indelible mark on the Bengals during his stint from 1984 to 1992 and again in 1997. He brought home the NFL MVP award in 1988, a testament to his phenomenal skill and leadership on the gridiron. He also helped lead the Bengals to an AFC title. Esiason ranks third in franchise history with 27,149 passing yards and 187 touchdowns, figures that undeniably underscore his significance to the Bengals’ offense. His illustrious career earned him four Pro Bowl and one All-Pro honors, further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Bengals in history.
Atkins, a defensive tackle, was a formidable force on the field with a rare ability to rush the pass, ranking second in franchise history with an impressive 75.5 sacks. Even though he played inside, this didn’t hinder his record-setting performance. Atkins, who is yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, was a three-time All-Pro and was also recognized in the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade team.
The man once known as Chad Ochocinco was a wide receiver like no other. His flashy personality and flamboyant touchdown celebrations were almost as famous as his on-field performances. The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro is first in the franchise record books for receiving yards (10,783) and catches (751). His explosive speed, precise route running, and reliable hands made him a dominant player and a fan favorite.
Known as one of the most dependable defenders of his era, Riley’s career with the Bengals was nothing short of remarkable. He played a whopping 207 games for the team, proving to be a cornerstone of the defensive lineup. His instincts and agility were unmatched, earning him the top spot on the Bengals’ all-time interceptions list with an impressive 65 – that’s 32 more than anyone else in franchise history! Riley was recognized as an All-Pro once, a testament to his skill and impact on the field. Although he may not have the same widespread recognition as some players on this list, there’s no denying that Riley’s contributions were instrumental to the Bengals’ success during his time with the team.
Seventh in our lineup of Bengals’ greats is the formidable Tim Krumrie. Recognized as one of the franchise’s finest defensive tackles, Krumrie’s tenacious playing style and relentless pursuit of the opposition made him a nightmare for any offense. In his 188 games with the Bengals, he racked up an impressive 1,017 tackles, 34.5 sacks, and 13 fumble recoveries. His exceptional performance on the field earned him spots in two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection, underscoring his significance in the franchise’s history.
Though his stats might not tower over others on Cincinnati’s all-time receiving list, Collingsworth’s impact on the game was undeniable. Collinsworth, a wide receiver known for his quickness and precise route running, packed a lot into his relatively short eight-season career. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in each of his first three years in the league, reflecting his immediate impact. Accumulating 6,698 yards and 417 receptions, he ranks fifth and sixth, respectively, in the franchise records.
Curtis, known for his blazing speed and outstanding catching abilities, was a nightmare for the opposing defenses during his time. The star wide receiver made it to the Pro Bowl four times, a testament to his consistency and exceptional performances. Curtis ranks third in the franchise’s all-time receiving list with an impressive 7,101 yards, trailing only AJ Green and another player on this remarkable list.
Dillon, the franchise’s all-time rushing leader, amassed 8,061 yards in his career, leaving an indelible record that still stands. This outstanding running back had the ability to turn games around single-handedly. His exceptional performances earned him four Pro Bowl selections, a testament to his talent and consistency. Dillon also ranks third in franchise history with an impressive 45 rushing touchdowns.
As we wrap up our list of top 10 greatest Cincinnati Bengals, it’s crucial to remember that each player’s unique contribution made the Bengals the team they are today.
From the strategic and accurate passing of quarterbacks like Anderson and Esiason to the defensive prowess of Atkins and Riley, each player brought a distinct talent to the field. The wide receivers, like Johnson and Curtis, amazed us with their speed and agility, while the tenacity of running back Dillon will always be remembered. The odds they overcame, their successes, and their impact on the field have not only shaped the trajectory of the Bengals but also enriched the sport of football.
As the new NFL season continues, we are excited to see what the future holds in Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Bengals odds are looking better after Monday night’s win. Who knows, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase may be added to this list sooner than we may think.