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Super Bowl XXIII: The Moment I Became A Bengals Fan

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I was 10-years-old when my family moved to Cincinnati; a crazy city, under the Bengals' spell. And it was the Super Bowl that began my conversion, which led to my adoption as a Bengals fan.

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I was only 10-years-old when I became a Bengals fan.

Despite decades of life experiences accumulating an infinite amount of memories, January 22, 1989 is like an ink pen on a crossword puzzle. My tiny sausage fingers clutched the maroon-colored pillow like a security blanket. Running my finger over a cigarette burn with a distinctive sensation, my heart was racing and my body was a tremble commonly mistaken for a minor seizure... or a lottery ball.

There with only 39 seconds remaining in the game.

With 3:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, placekicker Jim Breech converted a 40-yard field goal to snap a 13-point tie and give Cincinnati a 16-13 lead. San Francisco was called for a hold on the ensuing kickoff, placing the 49ers on their own eight-yard line. It was surgical; not the west coast offense; it was the Ohio River Offense. Joe Montana completed an eight-yard pass to Roger Craig and then a seven-yarder to tight end John Frank -- who would later become an otolaryngologist. Montana took what the overconfident Bengals defense, clearly in prevention, had given him. Jerry Rice snagged a seven-yarder in the flats, and another 17-yarder on the sidelines. Before we knew it, San Francisco crossed midfield and continued marching down the field.

It became evident that... 1) the 49ers were going to tie up the game and send it into overtime or 2) they were going to score a touchdown to win the game.

With 39 seconds remaining in the game, San Francisco crushed Bengals fans (again) when Joe Montana fired a strike to John Taylor, giving the 49ers a 20-16 lead and the eventual win.

"The second of the Bengals-49ers Super Bowls was one of the best games," wrote Gil Brandt with "Of course there was the Montana play, but Tim Krumrie broke his leg, which changed the game. It was close throughout." It was 3-3 at half-time. Unfortunately the Cincinnati Bengals offense failed to score a touchdown at all, converting three field goals, two of which capped possessions of 13 and 11 plays respectively.

Sports Illustrated ranked Super Bowl XXIII in the top-10.

The score was only 3-3 at halftime, but fireworks were in store. After the Bengals went ahead 16-13 on Jim Breech's 40-yard field goal with 3:20 left in the game, Joe Montana saved the 49ers in perhaps the greatest individual moment of his career. The otherworldly cool, efficient quarterback drove his team 92 yards in 11 plays, culminating with a 10-yard TD pass to John Taylor with only 34 seconds left.

Despite allowing 454 yards, Cincinnati's defense held San Francisco to four of 13 on third down opportunities, including four fumbles (one lost). Fox ranked the game No. 8 all-time.

Down 16-13 with 3:10 left to go, Joe Montana led the 49ers on a magical 92-yard game winning touchdown drive. Though Montana connected with John Taylor for the game-winning score, it was Jerry Rice, with 11 receptions for a Super Bowl-record 215 yards, who took home MVP honors.

A year prior to this game, we were living in Minnesota. Imagine my enthusiasm when I discovered my new city featured a Super Bowl team and the Cincinnati Reds, who were a big deal and eventually won the World Series in 1990. Life was good for a 10-year-old sports fan; an adopted son of Cincinnati sports fandom.

What's your story? Share with us how you became a Bengals fan in the comments!