This was originally written on Feb. 2, 2012, with a few additions and updates.
In light of the Superbowl, Sports Illustrated recently published a highlight reel of the top ten Superbowls in history and the Bengals-49ers battle in Superbowl XXIII came in at no. 4. In a recent interview with former Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, who is an analyst for NBC's Sunday Night Football, he laments over his 0-2 record in Super Bowl with the Bengals.
"It’s like someone takes a bucket of ice water and pours it over your head and you never get warmed up. I’m 53 years old, and I still think about it every day," he said. "I wouldn’t trade playing in it for anything, but the pain of losing those two was twice as bad. Joe Gibbs has won three Super Bowls, but he said the one he spends the most time thinking about is the one he lost."
This Sunday's game comes 30 years after the Bengals match-up against the 49ers in Superbowl XVI in 1982 where they lost the first of two Superbowls to Joe Montana. Even though he played two times against the 49ers, Superbowl XVI gives him more nightmares than XXIII.
"We had such a good team and to have four turnovers and we’re down 20-0. Forrest Gregg’s halftime speech was ‘Hey, just go give it a shot in the second half. You (screwed) it up so bad in the first half, you can’t (screw) it up any worse.’ And we almost won the game."
At least Collinsworth can say that he made it to the Superbowl with the Bengals. The only thing Bengals fans presently have to boast about are five playoff appearances in the last 20 years and five wild card losses, but even Collinsworth comments that the Bengals have a very bright future and will have plenty of opportunities to make their own playoff memories now that the bitterness and attitudes are out of the locker room.
"I like A.J. and Andy (Dalton), and it feels young and energetic and enthusiastic. Not sour and bitter and tired of being there. Some of those guys that were there, you can tell they didn’t want to be there."