Maybe losing their offensive and defensive coordinators is exactly what the Bengals needed. At least according to three examples in the past 20 years.
Although there is no all-time list since varying responsibilities can't be explained in titles, ESPN and Elias Sports Bureau offered the three clubs Wednesday. The year after these teams lost their coordinators, two went to a conference title game and one got a first-round bye, results the Bengals would have taken this season.
The most recent example came after the 2006 season when Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron became head coach of the Dolphins and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips went to Dallas as head coach. But the Chargers were able to go 11-5 to win the 2007 AFC West title before getting beat by the Patriots in Foxboro in the AFC title game.
After losing offensive coordinator Chris Palmer to coach the expansion Browns and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron to coach the Bears, the 1999 Jaguars rebounded to rip through the season 14-2 and earn a home game for the AFC title, where they were upset by the Titans.
In 1994, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan became the head coach in Denver while defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes went to Philadelphia and San Francisco ended up winning the NFC West in 1995 at 11-5 to earn a bye and home game, where Green Bay upset the Niners in the division round.
The Vikings made official late Wednesday night the hiring of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, but it sounds like they won't introduce him until Friday. The Bengals plan to introduce linebackers coach Paul Guenther as Zimmer's successor Thursday in an 11:30 a.m. news conference at Paul Brown Stadium.
"I'm grateful to the Wilf family, (GM) Rick Spielman and the entire Vikings organization for giving me an opportunity to join a franchise with such a strong tradition and an extremely passionate fan base," Zimmer said in a news release via Pro Football Talk. "I believe in a disciplined and physical brand of football and I look forward to getting to work on leading a team capable of long-term success."
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement issued by the team, "We are excited to welcome Mike as the new leader of the Minnesota Vikings. He has a proven track record of success at every stop in the NFL and we look forward to him maintaining that consistency here in Minnesota."