The year was a highly significant one for the Bengals, in both a football and a civic sense. On the football side, the Bengals moved into the NFL as part of the league's merger with the AFL. Paul Brown's quest in returning to pro football, following his ouster from Cleveland by Art Modell in 1962, had always been about re-joining the NFL. So when the Bengals began play in the AFL in 1968, it was key for Brown to know that the '70 NFL-AFL merger was already approved. There was much debate and controversy over exactly how the leagues would combine. The Bengals pushed strongly for a full merger, with the 26 clubs divided into two 13-team conferences. Other interests sought to keep the 16 NFL teams and 10 AFL teams in separate conferences of unequal size. But the full merger view prevailed, with the NFL's Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers agreeing to join the 10 AFL teams in the new American Football Conference (AFC). The remaining 13 NFL teams formed the National Conference. The Bengals were part of a four-team AFC Central Division, joined by Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the AFL Houston Oilers. Thus was born the twice annual "Battle of Ohio" between the Bengals and Browns. The Bengals started horribly on the field, losing six of their first seven games, but they roared to life in winning their last seven and claimed the first AFC Central title at 8-6, by a game over Cleveland. The Bengals became, at that time, the youngest franchise (third year of existence) to reach the NFL playoffs. Baltimore squelched the Bengals 17-0 in the first round of the playoffs, but that Colts club would go on to win Super Bowl V, and Brown won the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award. On the civic side, 1970 was the debut season for Cincinnati's dual-sport downtown stadium, which would be the Bengals' home through 1999. It was announced on Jan. 9 that the facility was officially named "Cincinnati Riverfront Stadium," but in popular usage the name soon became just "Riverfront Stadium." Though seating capacity for football varied, due to whether the Reds' home baseball season was still on, the new stadium roughly doubled the capacity of Nippert Stadium. The Bengals first played at Riverfront on Aug. 8, defeating Washington in a preseason game. The first regular-season game was on Sept. 20, a 31-21 win over Oakland, with QB and future Bengals head coach Sam Wyche scoring the new facility's first regular-season football points, on a five-yard TD run in the first quarter. The club averaged 58,251 home attendance in the regular season. The baseball Reds had begun their tenure at Riverfront with a game vs. Atlanta on June 30.

Postseason Game Summary – AFC Divisional Playoff

In their first season in the NFL after two in the American Football League, the Bengals made a furious run to reach the playoffs, winning their last seven games after a 1-6 start and claiming the first AFC Central Division title. But the powerful Colts, who would go on to defeat Dallas in Super Bowl V, were too much for Cincinnati. Legendary Baltimore QB Johnny Unitas threw TD passes to WRs Roy Jefferson and Ed Hinton in the first and fourth quarters, and the Baltimore defense came through on a cold, windy day, limiting Cincinnati to 63 yards rushing and 76 passing. Colts rookie RB Norm Bulaich rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries. Jim O'Brien, the Colts kicker from the University of Cincinnati, kicked a 44-yard FG. O'Brien would wind up making the game-winning FG as time expired in Super Bowl V. Cincinnati's lone scoring attempt, a 50-yard FG try by K Horst Muhlmann, was blocked by LB Ray May.


League Rankings

Table inside Article
OFFENSE16 (280.5)4 (146.9)21 (133.6)
DEFENSE20 (298.4)9 (110.2)25 (188.2)

Individual Leaders

Table inside Article
Horst MuhlmannScoring
Virgil CarterPassing
Jess PhillipsRushing
Chip MyersReceptions
Chip MyersReceiving Yards
Dave LewisPunting
Lemar ParrishPunt Return
Lemar ParrishKickoff Returns
Horst MuhlmannField Goals
Lemar ParrishInterceptions
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Coaching Staff

Table inside Article
Paul BrownHead Coach
Vince CostelloLinebackers
Jack DonaldsonOffensive Backfield
Bill JohnsonOffensive Line
Chuck StudleyDefensive Line
Bill WalshReceivers
Chuck WeberDefensive Coordinator/Defensive Backfield

1970 NFL DRAFT: JAN 27 - 28

Table inside Article
1Mike ReidDTPenn State7
2Ron CarpenterDTNorth Carolina State32
3Chip BennettLBAbilene Christian60
4aJoe StephensGJackson State85
4bBillie Hayes (acquired from Kansas City in trade on 9-8-69)DBSan Diego State104
5(sent to N.Y. Jets in trade on 7-28-68)110
6Sandy DurkoSSouth California137
7Lemar ParrishCBLincoln University (Mo.)163
8Bill TroutDTMiami (Fla.)188
9Bill BoldenRBUCLA216
10Nick RomanLBOhio State241
11Sam WallaceLBGrambling266
12Tom TruesdellDEOhio Wesleyan294
13Paul DunnRBU.S. International319
14Joe JohnsonWRJohnson C. Smith344
15Marvin WeeksDBAlcorn A&M372
16Larry ElyLBIowa397
17Richard Lee SmithRBWashington422

Pro Bowl

Players selected for the 1970 NFL Pro Bowl: CB Lemar Parish, TE Bob Trumpy

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