Fan Focus: Thanks Art Modell

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By Jack Cover and Steve Hussey

December 20, 1970:  Bengals third season and first in Riverfront Stadium.  Last game of the season against the Joe Kapp led Boston Patriots.  The Bengals are 7-6 and a win puts them into the Playoffs for the first time.  The day before the game, Steve Hussey and myself painted on a sheet in large block letters "THANKS ART MODELL" in reference to the firing of Paul Brown and his subsequent founding of the Bengals.  Our season ticket seats were in Section 359, 1st row, Seats 1-4 in the North end zone.  The banner was weighted with rocks as it hung over the railing for all to see.  The Bengals annihilated the Patriots 45-7, and our banner said it all!  As the game ended someone approached us and asked if we would like to present our banner to Paul Brown in the locker room.  Leaving our wives outside the stadium, we proceeded to be escorted into the locker room and had the opportunity to give Paul Brown our banner after he finished his interviews with the press.  While waiting to do this, both Steve and I (standing in the locker room wide-eyed and giddy as 27 and 29 year old rabid fans) experienced the thrill of victory first hand listening to the laughter and celebration of the players all around us.  The next day Bob Hertzel, Enquirer Sports Reporter, led off his Enquirer article as follows: "The sign hung from the upper deck in Riverfront Stadium for 60,157 fans to see.  It said simply, "Thank you,[sic] Art Modell", and it represented what was going through everyone's mind who watched the Cincinnati Bengals clinch the Central Division championship of the American Football Conference Sunday."

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