PHOENIX - The Bengals are stepping into the national limelight during head coach Zac Taylor's first training camp when they help the NFL kick off its celebration of the league's 100th season with a practice at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio.
NFL vice president Pete Abitante made the announcement Monday at the league's annual meeting in a news conference that sketched out the league's vision for the centennial that includes each team holding a "Fantennial," on the weekend leading up to a home game.
"That tie to Dayton and that piece of history is a nice fit," said Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn in between meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. "We've enjoyed going up to Dayton to practice in the past and we look forward to this visit that is such a special one for us and the league."
Dayton is one of eight cities outside the current NFL markets being honored where original teams were located when the NFL was founded on Sept. 7, 1920. Dayton is singled out for the practice because it's the site of the league's first game on Oct. 3, 1920, when the Dayton Triangles played the Columbus Panhandles.
Abitante said the field still exists but the plan is for it to undergo a facelift complete with the installation of a turf field in time for Bengals' trip and park dedication. The date in late July or early August has yet to be solidified.
Plus, Dayton and the other original towns are scheduled to host live telecasts for sixth-round picks in the draft on April 27: Akron, Canton, and Columbus in Ohio, Hammond and Muncie in Indiana, as well as Rochester, N.Y., and Rock Island, Ill. It's unclear if Dayton is to be the scene of a Bengals' pick.
There were 14 original teams with two in Chicago and all 13 towns are to receive a donation from the league's foundation "to support local youth football programs, advocate for player safety, and promote football's values."
Abitante said each team's Fantennial is a three-day celebration during the weekend of a home game with Friday focused around high school football and Saturday reserved for what he called a fan festival. Then on game day the teams are to reveal their greatest play in history.
They'll enter a 32-team bracket to be voted on to decide the greatest play in NFL history, which is to be announced the night before the next Super Bowl.
The Bengals and the rest of their teams don't get their schedule until the middle of next month.