The 2017 season will be a special one for the Cincinnati Bengals as the organization reflects back on 50 years of existence.
One of the things the team is doing in celebration of its 50th anniversary is honoring the 50 best players in the team’s history. To be eligible for the recognition, players selected must be retired from the NFL.
The Bengals announced today that the “First 50” (as the group of selected players is being referred to) will be revealed starting on Sunday and culminating with the top 10 being announced on Thursday, July 20. 10 players will be revealed each day from Sunday to Thursday at 10 a.m. ET on the Bengals’ website.
The Bengals First 50 was selected by a vote from fans and media. More than 160,000 fan votes were cast, which accounted for 50 percent of the results. The other 50 percent was determined by 24 members of the media who have covered or currently cover the team. The final list features the top 50 retired players who received the most votes, regardless of position.
The Bengals First 50 and other Bengals Legends will be recognized during halftime ceremonies at every regular season home game this year, which will include video highlights and an on-field presentation. Each member of the Bengals First 50 will be invited to be the Bengals’ guest for a game. Additional Bengals Legends will have the opportunity to participate in the halftime ceremonies as well.
Throughout each home game weekend, the Bengals First 50 and other Bengals Legends will be able to reconnect in various settings, including watching a team practice and attending a special dinner with other invited guests the night before the game, according to a press release.
Corey Dillon has already revealed he is one of the 50 selected players.
Here's the order in which the First 50 will be revealed:
Sunday, July 16: Players ranked 50-41
Monday, July 17: Players ranked 40-31
Tuesday, July 18: Players ranked 30-21
Wednesday, July 19: Players ranked 20-11
Thursday, July 20: Players ranked 10-1
In the meantime, we’ve started our own ranking of the Top 50 Bengals of all-time, which includes current players, in addition to retired players.
The Bengals are are encouraging fans to use the hashtag #Bengals50 on social media during this 50th anniversary season.