Have the Cincinnati Bengals ever won a Super Bowl?

San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott (42) stops Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth.
San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott (42) stops Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth during Super Bowl XXIII.
(Peter Read Miller / Associated Press)

When the San Francisco 49ers held a 10-point lead over the Los Angeles Rams in the second half of the NFC championship game on Jan. 30, it appeared the Cincinnati Bengals were headed for a rare triple: a third Super Bowl showdown against the 49ers.

In 1982 the Bengals and 49ers, both coming off losing seasons, were playing in their first Super Bowls. Each team had reached the Super Bowl by winning memorable conference championships games, one famous for the cold, the other for The Catch (called by Vin Scully). In the Super Bowl the Bengals fell behind 20-0 at the half to the Joe Montana-led 49ers before rallying behind three Ken Anderson touchdowns in the second half of a 26-21 loss.

Seven years later, the two teams would face off again in Super Bowl XXIII, with San Francisco as a touchdown favorite despite winning two fewer games than Cincinnati during the regular season. The game did not feature a touchdown until the final minute of the third quarter when Stanford Jennings broke a 6-6 tie with a 93-yard kickoff return.

With 3:10 remaining in the game, the Bengals held a 16-13 lead and had the 49ers pinned inside their own 10. Over the next 2:44, Montana drove the Niners 92 yards, mixing in eight completions with a John Candy sighting in the Joe Robbie Stadium stands. The last of those completions was a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left to give San Francisco the 20-16 victory.


Two seasons later, the Bengals reached the postseason, losing to the Los Angeles Raiders in a divisional playoff. It would be another 33 seasons before Cincinnati again won a postseason game, let alone reach their third Super Bowl.