1968-79: The Original
The original Bengals uniform pictured here debuted when the team began play in the modern-era American Football League in 1968, and it defined the team's appearance well beyond the AFL's merger with the National Football League in 1970. Except for its socks and shoes, this uniform remained unchanged for 12 seasons through 1979.
The helmet was orange with a gray facemask. Simple in design, it had 'Bengals' arched across both sides in block letters. The letters were black with a thin white outline. This original uniform had both a black jersey and a white jersey. The black jersey had one orange stripe surrounded by two white stripes on each sleeve. Its uniform numbers were white block numerals, appearing on both the front and back.
Likewise, its nameplate had white block letters. The white jersey had an orange stripe surrounded by black stripes on each sleeve, its uniform numbers were black block numerals on the front and back, and it had black block letters on the nameplate. The team wore the same white pants with both the black and white jerseys of this uniform. The pants had one orange stripe surrounded by two black stripes on the side of each leg. The stripes ran the full length of the legs.
For its first seven seasons, the team wore two sock designs, based on whether it was wearing a black or white jersey. With black jerseys, the team wore black-topped socks — white socks with a black top from the rim to the bottom of the calf. In the middle of the black top appeared one orange stripe surrounded by two white stripes, matching the striping pattern on the black jersey's sleeves. With white jerseys, the team wore white socks with mid-calf striping that matched the pants and the white jersey's sleeves — one orange stripe surrounded by two black stripes.
The team wore the socks pictured here through 1974. In 1975, the team began wearing only one sock design, regardless of whether it was wearing a black or white jersey. That sock, pictured with the 1980 uniform illustration, was white, and at its mid-calf had one black stripe surrounded by two orange stripes.
The team primarily wore black shoes through 1973, and white shoes in 1974 and thereafter.
Interesting facts from this uniform era: