If the Bengals were to build their own version of Mount Rushmore high in Mount Adams, overlooking the city of Cincinnati, which four faces would be carved into the stone? That's the question Pro Football Talk asked on Tuesday morning. While they say the team's best days may be in the not-too-distant future, the past is where they'll find players to immortalize on the side of a cliff.
They mentioned the following players:
Possibilities include Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, James Brooks, Corey Dillon, Chad Johnson, Cris Collinsworth, Isaac Curtis, Anthony Muñoz (who else remembers Madden pronouncing it without the tilde?), Reggie Williams, and others.
My Bengals Mount Rushmore would be Paul Brown, Anthony Muñoz, Ken Anderson and Tim Krumrie. Of course, arguments could be made for Chad Johnson, who still leads the Bengals in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns (though I'd be willing to bet A.J. Green will eventually replace him). Corey Dillon is still the team's leading rusher and Boomer Esiason was one of the two quarterbacks to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl. One could argue he deserves a spot.
Here's what some of Cincy Jungle's other writers thought:
Lucas: Anthony Muñoz, Ken Anderson, Paul Brown, Chad Johnson
Mickey: Anthony Muñoz, Paul Brown, Ken Anderson, Ken Riley
Nick: Paul Brown, Ken Riley, Anthony Muñoz, Marvin Lewis
Josh: Paul Brown, Anthony Muñoz, Ken Anderson, Reggie Williams
Anthony: Paul Brown, Anthony Munoz, Boomer Esiason, Lemar Parrish
All of us agree on Muñoz and Brown, but thanks to Anthony, there's a disagreement on quarterbacks. The rest of us went with Anderson, but Anthony just had to go against the grain a little bit and go with Esiason. Regardless, it's that fourth player we can't agree on.
Lucas picked Chad Johnson because he's the team's all-time leading receiver.
I picked chad because he is symbolic of an important (if ultimately unsuccessful era). And he was easily one of the team's biggest playmakers of all time. The dude sent pepto bismol to opposing secondaries. That's reason enough to put him up there.
Mickey picked Riley because he thinks he's the best defensive back in team history.
In his 15 Pro Football seasons, Riley recorded a total of 65 interceptions, 596 return yards, 5 touchdowns, 18 fumble recoveries, 96 fumble return yards, 334 kickoff return yards, and 15 receiving yards. His interceptions, interception return yards, and interceptions returned for touchdowns are all Bengals records.
Nick picked Marvin Lewis because he's the winningest coach in team history.
He's the longest tenured coach in the history of the organization. He took what was a laughingstock in the NFL and has made them relevant, and though his postseason appearances did not turn out well, he's made this team a contender.
Josh picked Williams because he's second in franchise history in sacks and played in both Super Bowls.
He was one of a handful of players that played on both Super Bowl teams and recorded 62.5 quarterback sacks, ranking second in franchise history. He also recovered 23 fumbles, picked off 17 passes, tied for most safeties in a career, played the second-most games by any player (206) in team history and recorded the third-highest consecutive games played (137).
Anthony picked Esiason because of his stats, leadership ability and the fact that he's one of the most recognizable faces in Bengals history:
I went the unpopular route and went with Boomer Esiason over Ken Anderson. It was a tough call, but I just see No.7 as such a successful Bengal and one of the most popular players in franchise history. Watching him engineer a truly innovative and highly successful offense for a number of years was amazing. What's funny to me is that Esiason and Anderson have the exact same amount of Pro Bowls (four), All-Pro designations (one), MVP Awards (one) and Super Bowl appearances (one) to their names, yet Anderson is always viewed as the superior quarterback. Had Joe Montana not engineered that last-minute drive to win Super XXIII, there likely wouldn't be an argument of who the best Bengals quarterback is/was. I went with my heart instead of my head on this one.
Anthony also went the unorthodox route of taking cornerback Lemar Parrish as the fourth player:
There were so many other players to choose from, and almost all of them had some beef with the organization. Carl Pickens, Corey Dillon, and Chad Johnson all had their issues with the Bengals and Lemar Parrish was no exception. I felt like I had to put someone on defense on the list and Parrish was the first who came to mind. Though Ken Riley is often viewed as a better cornerback because of longevity and amount of interceptions, I feel that Parrish was the better player. In eight seasons with Cincinnati, he made six Pro Bowls (eight in all) and was a highlight reel on interceptions and punt returns. In his Bengals career, he had five special teams returns for touchdowns (punt and kickoff), and another four touchdowns off of interceptions. He's one of the greatest Bengals that's often forgotten.
I picked Krumrie because he's the team's leading tackler and one of the best defensive linemen, if not the best, in the history of the team. He has over 1,000 career tackles with the Bengals while the team's second leading tackler has just over 500.
Who would be your four faces on the Bengals Mount Rushmore?