In honor of Bengals fans bi-annual celebration that is "Steeler Week", it got us wondering what the Bengals track record is against their hated rivals. Think of this as a sort of an extended addendum to Josh's midweek piece that he titles the "Weekly Primer". This piece is to show a breakdown of the history between the Bengals and the Steelers. Stick with me here, as I'll be throwing out a lot of different stats and figures.
Since the Bengals entered the AFL in 1968 and eventually the NFL after that, the overall record for the Bengals against the Steelers is 32 wins against 51 losses. The longest win streak against the Steelers for the Bengals was six games straight, from the 1988 season through the 1990 season. Not so coincidentally, the Steelers longest win streak of eight straight against the Bengals began when Mike Brown took over the team in 1991 and lasted through 1994.
Not surprisingly, the Bengals best decade against the Steelers was the Super Bowl decade of the 1980s (1980-1989), where their record was 13-6. Their biggest margin of victory against the Steelers came in 1988, in a 42-7 contest. Also not surprising is the fact that the best decade that the Steelers have had against the Bengals was in their dominant decade of the 1970s (1970-1979). They ruled the rivalry in that decade with a 14-5 record against the Bengals, which obviously is one game better than the Bengals' best.
What is surprising is that the Bengals worst decade stretch of the 1970s is matched by the 2000s (2000-2009), coinciding with the majority of Marvin Lewis tenure as Bengals head coach. In fact, Marvin Lewis' record as head coach against the Steelers is only 5-13. Since Marvin Lewis took the job in Cincinnati, the Steelers have had two head coaches: Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. Against Bill Cowher, Lewis' Bengals were 3-6; against Tomlin, Lewis is 2-7.
Interestingly enough, the Steelers largest margin of victory against the Bengals came in the Marvin Lewis era in a 2008 beatdown that ended in a 38-10 score. Perhaps the most interesting stat though, is that of Marvin's five wins against the Steelers, four of them have come in games that have been played in Pittsburgh. And that stat really is what spawned this post. We began to notice a trend that the Bengals fared better against the Steelers on the road than at home and the Bengals play them on the road this Sunday. This is particularly surprising because the Steelers are known as such a stout home team and the Bengals haven't historically traveled all that well. We'll see if the success that the Bengals have had under Marvin Lewis with games in Pittsburgh continues this Sunday.