The Cincinnati Bengals celebrate 50 seasons of football in 2017. Cincinnati was home to two other teams in the National Football League prior to the present-day Bengals. However, it was a third team, one which was not a member of the NFL, that eventually proved to be the closest link to today’s modern-era team. In 1937, a team called the Cincinnati Bengals was formed as a member of the rival American Football League. The team folded after the 1941 season. Pro football returned to Cincinnati 26 years later in 1967, when Paul Brown headed an ownership group which landed an expansion franchise in the modern-era American Football League. Brown, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, picked the name Bengals for the new team “to give it a link with past professional football in Cincinnati.” The Bengals, who began play in the AFL in 1968, moved into the NFL in 1970 as part of the league’s merger.