When you make the playoffs five years in a row and six out of the last seven years, you're certainly doing something right. Such is the case for the Bengals who have followed a practice of developing their drafted players to the point where they become starters and picking up a few key free agents in the offseason to complement their roster. They rarely overpay for a player and rank fourth in the NFL in terms of how much of their roster is comprised of homegrown talent.
There are also only two teams with more consecutive trips to the postseason than the Bengals, which has given them recognition among the NFL's best. Unfortunately, the Bengals haven't been able to win any of those postseason games, which would really take them to the next level and make them one of the NFL's most elite franchises.
Consecutive trips to the postseason:
- 7 seasons: New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers
- 5 seasons: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos
- 4 seasons: Seattle Seahawks
Still, an ESPN list out today ranks the Bengals as the 6th most dominant team in the NFL since 2012.
Cincinnati Bengals: 43-20-1 (0-4)
Of course, incorporating playoff performance into this ranking drops Cincinnati a bit. If we looked only at regular-season DVOA, Cincinnati would move ahead of Green Bay and Carolina. The Bengals have finished among the top dozen teams in regular-season DVOA all four years.
As for the rest of the top 10 list, with two Super Bowl berths and four consecutive years of ranking first in DVOA, the Seahawks place first on the list, followed by the Patriots, Broncos, Packers and Panthers. After a 2015 season that saw them finish with a 5-11 record, somehow, the Ravens still rank 7th on ESPN's list and the Steelers rank 8th. The 49ers and Lions round out the list.
The Andy Dalton era in Cincinnati, for all its criticisms, has been a great one, as evidenced by the Bengals' high ranking on this list and placing above their division rivals in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Next season, the Bengals will be back to continue fighting with the attempt to take down the playoff demon that haunts them and continue their dominant ways.