It's been nearly three decades since the Bengals last made it all the way to a Super Bowl.
Some think this could be the year Cincinnati is finally back in the NFL's championship game and fighting for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. As the weeks go on and the Bengals keep winning, there will only be more talk generating such a claim, but there's already been some who have come out stating this Bengals team is a championship contender.
You can count former Bengals offensive tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz among those who believe in the Bengals and their chances to make a deep playoff run this season. Munoz was recently a guest on Talk Fame Sports Network, during which he explained why his former team can make it to San Francisco for Super Bowl 50.
It all starts down in the trenches where Munoz played for 13 years and helped pave the way for two of his Bengals teams to make it to the Super Bowl.
A big reason why the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl in 1981 and 1988 was because of the play at quarterback. Both Ken Anderson (1981) and Boomer Esiason (1988) were named NFL MVP during those two trips to the Super Bowl for Cincinnati. Andy Dalton may not win the MVP award this year with other great, hall-of-fame QBs playing, but he sure is playing like a guy who will at the very least be in the running for the award.
Still, Dalton is 0-4 in the playoffs, but Munoz answered "I think so," when asked if this was the year Dalton would get his first playoff win. Munoz also reminded listeners this is a team sport, and that holds true for the Bengals. Neither of his teams were able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as their Super Bowl games ended with victorious 49ers teams. Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana gets a lot of the credit for those two titles, but Munoz knows it took a full team effort to get those wins.
"Joe Montana didn’t beat Boomer Esiason," Munoz said. "Joe Montana didn’t beat Ken Anderson. Andy Dalton did not lose to Philip Rivers. It’s the whole squad."
Munoz also pointed out how, while Dalton didn't play put up stellar performances in any of the previous playoff losses, he wasn't exactly playing with a full deck of cards either.
"You look at all the injuries they’ve had over the years. Sure, he hasn’t played that well, but just watching him, I think he has something he didn’t have in the previous years. You ask me, 'Is this a team to get there?' And I’m going to backtrack and say, ‘If they stay healthy.’"
Health and having a full deck of cards is why this Bengals offense has been so explosive thus far and why Dalton has looked far better than he ever has. If this unit can make it to the postseason with everyone healthy, Munoz doesn't see many, if any teams that can stop them.
"With their perimeter guys A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Sanu, Tyler Eifert … I mean, you talk about mismatches? Tyler Eifert was out all last season. Marvin Jones was out. They were not there. The offensive line is pretty good, and you’ve got Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard."
"So the key is going to be health, and then I think this is the year that Andy can do it. The Baltimore game and Seattle game – the way he handled bringing them back – has really shown a lot. It speaks volumes."
You can listen to the full interview here: