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Fan Focus: Longtime Season Ticket Member Meets Paul Brown in 1968

Paul Brown, Hall of Fame Class of 1967, looks on as he coaches the Cincinnati Bengals during a game.
Paul Brown, Hall of Fame Class of 1967, looks on as he coaches the Cincinnati Bengals during a game.

By Bob Burger, Sr.

I have been a Bengal Season Ticket Holder since Day 1 and I think you will enjoy my memorable experience.

In 1967, I received a promotion within our company and was transferred from Detroit to Cincinnati. Those were exciting times for our family since, both Marilyn and I, were born and raised in Cincinnati and now we, and our children, would be returning home. Not long after our move to Cincinnati, it was announced that Cincinnati was awarded an NFL franchise. Having experienced and enjoyed NFL football in Detroit, I wanted to get in on the "ground floor" insofar as tickets. One evening, during the 11:00 PM Al Schottelkotte news, they made the announcement that phone orders for Season Tickets would be accepted after midnight. I waited until midnight and placed my order for four tickets.

In the spring of 1968, I attended a sales meeting in New York City. My return flight to Cincinnati departed La Guardia Airport about 6:00 PM and while I was waiting in the terminal gate area, I saw Paul Brown, new owner and head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. He was standing alone so, I took the opportunity to introduce myself.

He was very friendly. I told him that I had been introduced to Pro Football while in Detroit and was excited that Cincinnati now had a team. He told me that he had just attended a meeting in New York and that both the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers would be in the same Conference as the Cincinnati Bengals. He was very excited about that outcome. We spoke for quite a while and during our conversation, I mentioned that Marilyn and I had six children and that they would be waiting for me at the gate area in Cincinnati. He said, he would like to meet Marilyn and our children.

Paul Brown flew first class and I was in the coach section so we did not sit together on the plane. However, as we boarded, he jokingly told me "he would get there first". True to his word, upon our arrival he waited for me inside the terminal and I introduced Mr. Brown to our family. We had six children and he was genuinely interested in meeting each one of them. At that time, he asked for my address. A week later, I was greatly surprised to receive a personal note from Mr. Brown saying how much he enjoyed our conversation and meeting with all of us. What a thoughtful and classy gesture! Meeting Paul Brown was a memorable experience and it's hard to believe that all of this happened 50 years ago. In my opinion, Paul Brown was not only a great Coach and Innovator, but most importantly, he was a real gentleman.

Go Bengals!

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