The first two Bengals.com Hall of Fame classes celebrated the eligible names that dominated the all-time record book. Now the list of 10 finalists for the 2012 group honors the franchise's best teams as month-long voting opened to select the three inductees.
With more than 5,000 votes on Bengals.com earlier this year, the fans made their top five vote-getters in the preliminary round all members of the 1988 AFC champions. Both Super Bowl coaches made the Final 10, as did three of the six Bengals that played in both Super Bowls.
Running back James Brooks and the creative head coach that found ways to get Brooks 14 touchdowns that season rushing and receiving were 1-2 in the prelims. Brooks appeared on 71 percent of the ballots and Sam Wyche eked past three-time Pro Bowl guard Max Montoya with 67.9 percent.
Montoya, regarded as the best guard in Bengals history who started at right guard in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII, took home 66.8 percent. Jim Breech, the Bengals all-time leading scorer who kicked in both games, was fifth at 58.3 and Reggie Williams, who had a team-leading 10 tackles in XXIII to go with 16 tackles in his two Super starts, finished 10th with 42.3 percent.
Three-time Pro Bowler David Fulcher, Dick LeBeau's revolutionary safety in that '88 season who finished with the third-most interceptions in franchise history with 31 to go with an average of 91 tackles per season, finished fourth with 62.4 percent.
Filling out the second half of the Final 10 are six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lemar Parrish ( 50.9 percent), all-time leading rusher Corey Dillon (49.8), four-time Pro Bowl tight end Bob Trumpy (47.3), and head coach of the 1981 AFC champs Forrest Gregg (46.9).
It was quite a dropoff from Williams's 10th-place finish. Next was running back Pete Johnson, whose 12 bruising TDs helped fuel the '81 AFC title, named on 37.7 percent of the ballots. A trio of players finished locked within two percentage points in '90s touchdown-maker Carl Pickens (32.8), long-time offensive lineman Rich Braham (32.7) and his run that began under Dave Shula and ended with Marvin Lewis's first-playoff team, and record-breaking tight end Dan Ross (31.1).
The late Ross, the first Bengal to catch more than 60 balls in a season with his then-record 71 in 1981, held up well along with other mates that began their careers in the 1960s and 1970s. Ross and safety Tommy Casanova (25.3) were two of three '60-'70s players outside the Final 10 to get a quarter of the vote. Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Rodney Holman, a third-round pick in 1982, was the other with 28.3 percent.
Center Bob Johnson, the club's first draft choice in 1968, appeared on 23.8 percent of the ballots, and was followed by all-time sacks leader Eddie Edwards (21.9), drafted in the first round in 1977.
TOP 10 (by percentage of ballots):
RB James Brooks (1984-91) 71.0; Coach Sam Wyche (1984-91) 67.9; RG Max Montoya (1979-89) 66.8; S David Fulcher (1986-92) 62.4; K Jim Breech (1980-92) 58.3; CB Lemar Parrish (1970-77) 50.9; RB Corey Dillon (1997-2003) 49.8; TE Bob Trumpy (1968-77) 47.3; Coach Forrest Gregg (1980-83) 46.9; ROLB Reggie Williams (1977-89) 42.3.
RB Pete Johnson (1977-83) 37.7; WR Carl Pickens (1992-99) 32.8; OL Rich Braham (1994-2006) 32.7; TE Dan Ross (1979-83, 85) 31.1; TE Rodney Holman (182-92) 28.4; S Tommy Casanova (1972-77) 25.3; C Bob Johnson (1968-77) 23.7; DE Eddie Edwards (1977-88) 21.9; DT Mike Reid (1970-74) 17.8; DL Coy Bacon (1976-77) 17.6.