Top Five Coaches in Bengals History: No. 5

bill johnson

We've decided that it might be fun to count down the greatest coaches in Bengals history. Originally I started with the idea of moving through the top-10 coaches but then I realized that would include some of the less successful coaches of the '90s and I don't feel like being completely depressed. So, I knocked the number down to five and picked the five best coaches and placed them in order.

So, without further ado, the fifth best coach in Cincinnati Bengals history is.....

Bill "Tiger" Johnson

Johnson grew up in Texas. He attended college in his home state at Stephen F. Austin State University where he was a football stand out on the offensive line. After graduation, Johnson found himself playing center for the San Francisco 49ers. He played center for the 49ers from 1948 to 1956. 

Johnson didn't find his way to the Cincinnati Bengals until over a decade later when he was hired by Bengals founder Paul Brown to coach the offensive line coach in 1968.

When Brown decided to retire from coaching in 1976, he named Johnson his successor. That year, Bill "Tiger" Johnson coached the Bengals to a 10-4 record throughout the regular season, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers' record. Unfortunately, the Steelers won the division with a head-to-head sweep of Cincinnati and, at the time, there were only three divisions in each conference, which meant three division champions and one wild card. The New England Patriots took that wild card spot from the Bengals with an 11-3 record.

The next season, Johnson's Bengals went 8-6, missing the playoffs again. Then in 1978, Johnson resigned as the head coach of the Bengals after starting the season with an 0-5 record.

Because of Johnson's two winning seasons, including one in which the Bengals just missed the playoffs, he has earned a spot as the fifth best head coach in Bengals history.

We'll continue the countdown on Friday with the fourth best coach in Bengals history.

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