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Cincinnati Bengals History | 1996 -



Progress continued to be forged on the Bengals' efforts to secure their future in Cincinnati with a new stadium. The biggest step came on March 19, when Hamilton County voters approved by 61-to-39 percent a measure to fund new Bengals and Reds stadiums with a half-cent sales tax increase. The vote came after vigorous public debate, and the Cincinnati Post termed it a "landslide victory" for backers of the issue. On Sept. 10, the Bengals reached preliminary agreement with Hamilton County on a 30-year lease, for an as-yet unnamed and un-sited stadium. The Bengals pushed vigorously for a riverfront site, opposing proposals to build in the Broadway Commons area just northeast of downtown. Both public polls and experts' recommendations indicated a preference for a riverfront site, but the question remained undecided as the year ended. The new stadium's name also remained undecided, but early public response showed strong support for naming it after Bengals founder Paul Brown. On Sept. 9, Riverfront Stadium was re-named Cinergy Field, as the energy utility Cinergy reached a $6 million naming rights deal with Hamilton County to cover the stadium's remaining years of use. On the field, the team lost six of its first seven games, but Cincinnati's fortunes took a U-turn after offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet was promoted to head coach on Oct. 21, replacing the released Dave Shula. Coslet directed the team to a 7-2 finish, including a 5-0 mark at Cinergy Field. The Bengals stayed alive for the playoffs until the next-to-last week of the season, when despite defeating Houston they were eliminated due to results elsewhere. Coslet, signed only through '96 when he took over as head coach, was extended on Dec. 14 through 2000. A signature win for Coslet came Nov. 3 at Baltimore, when the Bengals rallied from a 21-3 deficit to win 24-21. The 18-point deficit stands through 2017 as largest ever overcome by the Bengals in a road win. WR Carl Pickens, who in 1995 had become the first Bengal to lead the AFC in receptions, led the conference again with 100, the first Bengal to hit the century mark. The defense had 34 INTs, a club record that stands through 2017. CB Ashley Ambrose, a veteran free agent in his first Bengals season, led the team with eight INTs and went to the Pro Bowl along with Pickens.

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League Rankings

Table inside Article
OFFENSE 10 (326.6) 13 (112.1) 12 (214.5)
DEFENSE 25 (341.8) 12 (102.7) 29 (239.1)

Year Totals

Table inside Article
OFFENSE 1088 332 1793 3432 5225 372
DEFENSE 1047 317 1643 3826 5469 369

Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
Doug Pelfrey Scoring
Jeff Blake Passing
Garrison Hearst Rushing
Carl Pickens Receptions
Carl Pickens Receiving Yards
Lee Johnson Punting
Corey Sawyer Punt Returns
David Dunn Kickoff Returns
Doug Pelfrey Field Goals
Ashley Ambrose Interceptions
Dan Wilkinson Sacks
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Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Dave Shula*, Bruce Coslet** Head Coach
Paul Alexander Offensive Line
Ken Anderson*** Quarterbacks
Bruce Coslet** Offensive Coordinator
Bobby DePaul Staff Assistant
John Garrett Wide Receivers
Tim Krumrie Defensive Line
Ron Meeks Defensive Backfield
Gary Moeller Tight Ends
Joe Pascale Linebackers
Larry Peccatiello Defensive Coordinator
Joe Wessel Special Teams
Kim Wood Strength and Conditioning

*Released after Game 7.

**Was Offensive Coordinator for Game 1-7 and Head Coach for Games 8-16.

***Was Quarterbacks Coach for Games 1-7 and Offensive Coordinator for Games 8-16.

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1996 NFL Draft: April 20 - 21

Table inside Article
1 Willie Anderson T Auburn 10
2 Marco Battaglia TE Rutgers 39
3 Ken Blackman G/T Illinois 69
4 Jevon Langford DE Oklahoma State 108
5 Greg Myers S Colorado State 144
6 Tom Tumulty LB Pittsburgh 178
7 Rod Jones G/T Kansas 219

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1996 Pro Bowl: CB Ashley Ambrose, WR Carl Pickens