The Bengals have been very fortunate through the years to be led by some greatest coaches to grace the sidelines of an NFL field. We've been counting down through the top-five coaches in Bengals history and it's time to reveal our best coach in Bengals history (like he really needs to be revealed... you should know who it is). Before we get to the best coach in Bengals history, though, let's do a recap of the other four coaches that got us to this point.
The fifth best coach on our list was Bill "Tiger" Johnson, who was named as Paul Brown's successor when Brown retired from coaching in 1976. The fourth best coach on our list was Forrest Gregg, who led the Bengals to one of their two Super Bowl appearances. The third best coach on our list was current head coach Marvin Lewis, who has led the Bengals to two playoff appearances despite having to work under the heavy thumb of current owner Mike Brown. Then, the second best coach on our list was Sam Wyche, who, like Gregg, has led the Bengals to the Super Bowl.
That brings us to our best coach in Bengals history: their first coach and founder, Paul Brown.
Brown is not only the founder of the Bengals, but he was also intrumental in creating the Cleveland Browns as well. He was hired by team owner Arthur McBride in 1945 and during his stay as the Browns head coach, he finished with an impressive record of 144-66-6, won four AAFC titles (in four years), won three NFL Championship games and seven Conference Titles (in 13 years). He also was credited as being one of the great innovators of the game; he was the first to instal facemasks on helmets, to instal radios in a quarterback's helmet, he created one of the first game film libraries and he was the first to give intelligence tests to newly acquired players. Needless to say, Paul Brown was ahead of his time.
Brown was controversially fired from Cleveland by new owner Art Modell in 1963 and decided that he should start his own franchise. He did so in Cincinnati.
Brown founded the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968 and acted as the teams owner, head coach and general manager and operated in the American Football League. In his eight years as head coach of the Bengals, Brown led the team to a 48-36 record with two division titles and three playoff appearances.
Brown retired from coaching in 1976, leaving Tiger Johnson as the head coach, but continued to have success as the Bengals' general manager. He led the team, as the GM, to two Super Bowls and numerous playoff appearances.
Paul Brown was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and is constantly considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. He died in 1991 and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Massilion, Ohio.
His name not only graces the home of the Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, but a stadium in his local town of Masilion, Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Because of everything he did for the Bengals, and for the game of football on a whole, Brown is Cincy Jungle's greatest Bengals coach of all time.