TDBH:Philosophical P.B. thrilled by Super ride despite last-minute loss

Posted Jan 22, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - January 19, 2018

As Paul Brown leaves the Bengals hotel this morning in Miami for the flight home, the 49ers’ champagne from last night’s last-minute win in Super Bowl XXIII is still bubbling and the heart-break hangovers just starting in Cincinnati. But Greg Hoard of The Cincinnati Enquirer finds the old coach, 80 years young, chipper, upbeat, proud. “The older you get, the better you handle these things,” the smiling Brown says. “If I am less solemn it was because this was a tremendous football game. When you lose a cliffhanger like this, it’s easier to handle.” Brown, the founder, owner, and soul of the Bengals, is pleased that this year’s game goes to the wire with the Bengals taking a 13-6 lead into the fourth quarter and a 16-13 lead with 3:20 left before Joe Montana rides into history on the backs of Browns’ Tigers with a 92-yard drive that culminates with 34 seconds left. Better, Brown seems to be saying, than being down 20-0 at half in the Bengals’ Super loss seven years ago. “The last time it seemed like we were awestruck by the whole thing. By the time we started playing, it was too late. We played a good game here. It went down to the last drive,” Brown says. “They made some awfully fine plays in that drive … That (Jerry) Rice is something isn’t he?”

No question after the 49ers wide receiver catches 11 balls for 215 yards, almost matching the Bengals’ total yards of 229. If Brown is taken aback by anything it’s that the Bengals only score on three Jim Breech field goals and running back Stanford Jennings’ 93-yard kick return. He muses how the 49ers control the clock with short passes while the Bengals are gunning for the big play. But he has only high praise for head coach Sam Wyche and makes his new contract his top priority. “We want to know what our coach is thinking and what he wants,” Brown says. “We have to do that first.”

The players know. When the team lands in Cincinnati some of them gather at a late afternoon Fountain Square rally where a crowd of about 3,000 offers thanks. Wide receiver Cris Collinsworth tells them the two people who had the most to do with the team’s memorable season are Wyche and Brown.

Running back Ickey Woods does The Shuffle one last time as a rookie. Veteran linebacker Reggie Williams, who doubles as a Cincinnati City Councilman, thanks the Bengals for letting him serve. Mayor Charlie Luken declares today “Who Dey Day,” and says the Bengals “put super back in Super Bowl.” Chris Foxx, Jeff Beckman, and Dave Miller, three suntanned men from Hamilton, Ohio, are the essence of Bengaldom when they appear in shorts and Super Bowl XXIII hats after making the drive back from Miami. “We haven’t even been home yet,” Foxx says as a group of 20 employees from the Omni Netherland Hotel stand on the steps at the Fifth and Vine corner holding the 30-foot orange Bengals banner that has been hanging on the front of the hotel for a week. But the philosophical old coach has the best tribute of all when he says, “Our men played a tremendous football game and I’ve got to say it was a great game, too. You’re super; we love you and thank you.”

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