FanPost

Bill 'Tiger' Johnson passed yesterday.


Bill Johnson left us on Friday January 7, 2011. He had battled a long illness, finally succumbing at age 84. 'Tiger' Johnson spent 17 years coaching within the Cincinnati Bengals organization.

Bill Johnson started within the Cincinnati Bengals from the 1st day the organization began. Johnson worked his way up the Bengal's coaching ladder, until Tiger was hand picked by Paul Brown to become Brown's 1st successor at head coach. From 1976 to 1978, he amassed an 18-15 record over 2.5 seasons. Johnson took the fall for the Bengal's 0-5 start in 1978. Leaving the Bengals after the 1978 season, he spent the next 5 seasons as an assistant coach in Tampa Bay and Detroit.

For the long time fans of the Bengals, Tiger will always be remembered for the 1976 season. Yes, the Steelers went to the Superbowl, but the Bengals were tied with the Steelers within the AFC Central standings. 10-4 didn't get the Bengals into the 1976 playoffs since they lost head to head games to the Steelers. In 1976, there was only one wild card slot and the Patriots had a better record at 11-3 than the 10-4 Bengals.

Sam Wyche said of Johnson, “He was one of those steadying influences for a young coach and it was great having him down the hall. Having Tiger and Paul Brown down the hall wasn’t too shabby.”

Dave Lapham, who is a respected voice on all things Bengals by most fans, started his NFL career in 1974 with Tiger Johnson as his offensive-line coach. Lapham recalled a tale of Tiger Johnson being a very Paul Brown like disciple:

“I remember when I made the team in my rookie year and I was excited. He kept me out at the end of practice and worked me for another half hour on the blocking sled and doing various drills. At the end of it he said I see you loafing in practice like that again I’ll cut you tomorrow

I go in the locker room and rest of the guys said he was testing me. The thing about him, which was typical about being a member on Paul Brown’s Staff is he was a great teacher. He just got it and knew how to impart knowledge.”

 

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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