Twenty years ago today, one of the greatest football minds in NFL history and Bengals founder, Paul Brown, passed away. At the time of his death, I wasn't old enough to appreciate what he had done for football and the city of Cincinnati, or old enough to appreciate the game in general for that matter. However, the more I watch football now and the more I learn, the more I can see Brown's ever lasting impact on the greatest game in the world.
The Cincinnati Enquirer went digging through their archives and found the article they wrote on August 6, 1991. Click the jump to check it out.
Paul Brown will be remembered everywhere for his many achievements and innovations in football. It will be that and more in Cincinnati.
Paul Brown already was a legend when he announced in the late 1960s that he would bring professional football to Cincinnati.
Man and city were a perfect match. His roots in Southwest Ohio went back to his playing days at Miami University. Most of his coaching success was Ohio-based, from Massillon to Cleveland. It was impossible to tell, back in 1967, who was more excited about the National Football League expansion Bengals -- Paul Brown or the people of Cincinnati.
The pairing was forged by more than geography. Paul Brown was a man of remarkable character and discipline, and he made these qualities an integral part of his football. He often spoke of his affection for Cincinnati and how he regarded it as the kind of city that he wanted his Bengals to call home.
Mr. Brown coached the Bengals until 1975. Just seeing him pacing the sidelines was enough to convey the impression that pro football belonged in the Queen City.
Cincinnati is blessed to have had the chance to be well acquainted with Paul Brown. Cincinnatians learned firsthand that the trademark stoicism was only a patina, that beneath it was a warmth and wit that was the true measure of the man.
Paul Brown loved football, his Bengals and this city. The feeling was mutual.
The team has obviously fallen on tough times since Paul Brown's passing 20 years ago. However, today we shouldn't think about that today. Today we should be thankful that Brown saw Cincinnati a fitting place to start a new professional football franchise. Without him, none of us would be able to call the Bengals our favorite team.
Even though 20 years is a long time, Paul Brown's legacy will live on in Cincinnati and in the NFL as long as there's football to be played.