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The Bengals fielded their first team, with an agreement to play two seasons at Nippert Stadium, on the University of Cincinnati campus, during construction of the as-yet-unnamed downtown stadium. The Bengals were placed as the fifth team the AFL's Western Division, bringing league membership to 10. They were awarded 40 veteran players in the AFL allocation draft, but the draft was not generous to Cincinnati, allowing existing teams wide latitude to protect the best talent. Of the 40 selections, only 16 ever played for Cincinnati, and only three would play as many as four seasons. G Pat Matson of Oregon, obtained from the Denver Broncos, would play the most Bengals seasons (seven) of any of the expansion draft signees. In the college draft, the Bengals selected Tennessee center Bob Johnson as their first pick. Johnson would go on to play 12 Bengals seasons, with an AFL All-Star game selection. The Bengals played their first preseason game on Aug. 3 at Nippert, losing 38-14 to Kansas City before a crowd of 21,682. Jon Stofa was the starting QB against the Chiefs. In the regular season, the Bengals lost their opener at San Diego, with rookie Dewey Warren as starting QB, but Cincinnati won its next two, posting double-digit margins at home over Denver and Buffalo. The team would win only once more, however, finishing 3-11. Though Warren, a sixth-round draft choice from Tennessee, took the first regular-season snap at QB, Stofa and future Bengals head coach Sam Wyche also saw significant time at QB during the season. Regular-season home attendance averaged 25,766. Rookie RB Paul Robinson led the AFL in rushing with 1023 yards and was named AFL Rookie of the Year.

Paul Brown, Hall of Fame Class of 1967, extreme left, is the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, who will start play in the American Football League this fall. Paul met at the training table with some rookie hopefuls at Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio, on July 6, 1968. Facing camera, left to right: Howard Fest, University of Texas; Ed Brantley, North Texas State; Wally Scott, University of Arizona. Bill Peterson from San Jose State (Calif.) has his back to the camera. (AP Photo)

AFL League Rankings

Table inside Article
OFFENSE 8 (244.7) 3 (129.1) 9 (115.6)
DEFENSE 8 (336.9) 9 (149.8) 6 (187.1)
Rookie quarterback Greg Cook of the Cincinnati Bengals, right, is shown with tight end Bob Trumpy, Nov. 12, 1969, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gene Smith)

Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
Dale Livingston Scoring
John Stofa Passing
Paul Robinson Rushing
Bob Trumpy Receptions
Bob Trumpy Receiving Yards
Dale Livingston Punting
Essex Johnson, Warren McVea Punt Return
Essex Johnson Kickoff Returns
Dale Livingston Field Goals
Jess Phillips Interceptions

Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Paul Brown Head Coach
Tom Bass Defensive Backfield
Rick Forzano Offensive Backfield
Bill Johnson Offensive Line
Frank Smouse Linebackers
Bill Walsh Offensive Ends

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1968 AFL Pro Bowl: TE Bob Trumpy, RB Paul Robinson, C Bill Johnson