PHOENIX, Ariz. - When the ball is kicked off Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium (6:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5), Cris Collinsworth will have officially announced more Super Bowls than he appeared in as a player.
And, believe him, the Bengals' losses in Super Bowls XVI and Super Bowl XXIII by a combined nine points are going to come rushing at him.
"They always do, they always do," Collinsworth said this week, when he admitted he still thinks about ways of finally winning one.
"You'd like to take one more shot. I even thought that one day at the end of my broadcasting, when it didn't matter so much, the money or whatever, just go back into coaching," Collinsworth said. "Just be a wide receivers coach and try and take one more shot at one of those rings."
The losses book-ended his career. The first one capped his Pro Bowl rookie year. The second one was the last game of his career.
"Honestly," Collinsworth said, "there used to be there wasn't an hour that went by that I didn't think about it. Then there was probably not a day that went by I didn't think about losing those two. Now it's probably not a week that goes by that I don't think about it…You always think about it."
REWARDING: The Bengals had a sweeping night this week at the annual Fritz Pollard Alliance awards when executive vice president Katie Blackburn and head coach Marvin Lewis took home the Johnnie Cochran Salute to Excellent Award for Executive of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.
The Pollard group recognizes the top minorities each year during Super Bowl week. John Wooten, chairman of the alliance, said the Bengals' fourth straight playoff appearance led to Blackburn's selection.
When she accepted the award, Blackburn referenced how Wooten played for her grandfather in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the Cleveland Browns.
"It's either a small world or life coming full circle," said Blackburn, who pointed to Lewis and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson in the audience as major reasons for the club's success.
Lewis worked with Wooten in Baltimore, where Wooten worked in personnel. He thought Lewis' ability to get back to the playoffs despite a rash of injuries carried the day.
"I thought what Marvin did this year was fantastic," Wooten said. "At the end all his receivers were hurt and when that happens they can really corner you up."
STILL TOP THREE: Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins made his Radio Row rounds at the Super Bowl Friday and revealed that son Austin Hawkins still hasn't learned.
Austin, who turns three next month, became an internet sensation back in the fall when Andrew sent him outside complete with backpack when he said his favorite players were his dad's former Bengals teammates, A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu. The sequel a few weeks later, with Austin saying, "Daddy," got him back in the house
But he's gone back to his old ways. Somebody asked him who his favorite player is and Austin told him he had to think about it. Then he uttered, "A.J."
"I don't know if the kid is hard-headed, or maybe he's that big of a fan that he refuses to change his opinion," Hawkins said. "I think it's because A.J. played with him the most when I brought him into the locker room. He played the most with A.J. and Mo and Marv (Jones), the three guys I hung around with the most. I guess he appreciated that. Those three are still his favorites."
Hawkins kept a close eye on them during his first year in Cleveland. The Bengals chose not to match a five-year, $13.5 million deal with nearly $7 million guaranteed and even though the Bengals receivers dropped like fleas, he understood why they let him go and "I have no ill will."
Jones never played. Green had six games without a catch because of injury. Sanu got worn down playing 1,000 snaps.
"I don't want to call it an era yet, but the amount of weapons and players over there, there was just so many good players," Hawkins said. "Marv is a legit receiver. Mohamed Sanu proved when A.J. went out he's a legit receiver. A.J. is obviously one of the best in the league…Who knew all those injuries would happen? This could have been done differently, but you had so many weapons…I love the Bengals for giving me an opportunity."
Hawkins started 15 games for a career-high 63 catches and 824 yards last season after the Bengals used him as only a slot receiver and his ankle bounced back from an injury that took him out of the first eight Bengals games in 2013. That's why Hawkins thinks Jones and his speed are going to be OK after undergoing two foot and ankle surgeries that wiped out his entire 2014.
"Some people told me I wouldn't be the same after I hurt the ankle and they said the same thing when I had surgery after my first year in Montreal," Hawkins said. "But I came back fine and think Marv is going to be fine."