The underappreciated renaissance of the Bengals

Once upon a time, the Cincinnati Bengals were an extremely good football team. There were Super Bowls. Two of them. Unfortunately for the Bengals, they played the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana. Twice.

What followed was a long spell of bad football. Cincinnati has not won a playoff game since 1990.

Sitting at 9-6, Cincinnati are on the way back to relevance. They host Baltimore in the season’s last game on Sunday. A win or tie, combined with a Jets loss or tie and Oakland loss or tie, or a Jets loss or tie and a Denver loss or tie, and the Bengals are in.

Will there be a full house at Paul Brown Stadium? Can there be a full house? The Bengals have sold out only one of their seven home games this season — against the Steelers with thousands of Pittsburgh fans. Included was a paltry 41,142 for a win over the Bills and 41,273 this past Saturday against the Cards. Stadium capacity is over 65,000.

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