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History of bye weeks in NFL and how Bengals perform following bye

Since the Bengals have no opponent this week, we look at a history of the Bye Week and how the Bengals have performed following them.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL hasn't always had a bye week. We take a look at the origin of the bye week and how the Bengals have performed following theirs.

The first appearance of a "bye week" took place during the 1960 season. The NFL had 13 teams, and due to an odd number of teams, one team had a "bye" each week. Again in 1966 the NFL had an odd number of teams with 15 total franchises. So in 1966 the league again had a "bye week" on the schedule for each team. In 1966 and 1967 the AFL (forerunner of the current AFC) had an uneven number of teams, with nine. And so each week, one team had a "bye week".

The NFL introduced the "bye week" for the 1990 season and extended the sixteen game regular season to seventeen weeks. The league has featured a "bye week" every year since then.

In 1993 the league stretched the regular season to 18 weeks by handing every team two bye weeks. This scheduling philosophy was scrapped after only one season, and the league returned to one bye week per team, per season.

NFL bye weeks typically begin on Week 4 and end by Week 12. The only deviation to this was for the 1999, 2000, and 2001 seasons. With the reincarnation of the Cleveland Browns 2.0, the league held an odd number of teams. With 31 teams in the league, at least one team was on a bye every week during the regular season. This lasted until the expansion Houston Texans returned the league to an even number of teams.

A quick look at how the Bengals have done in the Marvin Lewis era in regards to the bye week.

  • Overall, the Bengals are 38-36 before the bye (51.4%)
  • Overall, the Bengals are 62-54-2 after the bye (53.4%)
  • The Bengals under Marvin Lewis are 4-7-1 in the game following the bye week (37.5%)

With Lewis’ teams, there really isn’t much of a difference in how they play in the first part of the year (before the bye week) and the second part of the year (after the bye week) as they are slightly above 0.500 early and late. The only noticeable distinction is that in the game immediately after their bye week, they hold a subpar 4-7-1 record.