The Cincinnati Bengals have unveiled the next 10 players in the Bengals First 50 countdown, a list that honors the greatest retired players in franchise history, as voted on by fans and media.
We’ve already seen the players ranked between 50 and 21 and now, the list of players ranked between 20 and 11 has been released.
Bengals First 50 countdown reveals players ranked 50-41
Bengals First 50 countdown reveals players ranked 40-31
Bengals First 50 countdown reveals players ranked 30-21
Coming in at No. 20-11 were offensive lineman Bob Johnson, linebacker Takeo Spikes, offensive lineman Dave Lapham, tight end Bob Trumpy, defensive back Lemar Parrish, running back Corey Dillon, offensive lineman Willie Anderson, offensive lineman Max Montoya, linebacker Reggie William and defensive back Ken Riley.
This group of 10 was offensive line-heavy, highlighted by the first player ever drafted by the Bengals in Bob Johnson. The former center is also the lone Bengal to have his jersey number retired by the team.
Johnson helped pave the way for a number of great offensive linemen to play in Cincinnati, including Dave Lapham and Max Montoya. Those two began their careers in the 70s and were part of one of the best periods in franchise history, which included a Super Bowl berth in the 1981 season. Montoya was actually one of the few players who played in both Super Bowls the Bengals made. His longevity and high level of play throughout his career could have had him land higher on this list.
But of this group, it’s hard to debate anyone other than Ken Riley being the best of them. Riley is not only regarded as one of the best defenders in Bengals history, but also one of the best cornerbacks of his era. He’s even gotten Hall of Fame arguments by national media, and he’s certainly good enough to be in Canton.
Here are highlights and analysis of the latest players revealed in the Bengals First 50 countdown, as well as a brief bio of each, courtesy of the Bengals:
- #20 – Bob Johnson: First player drafted in team history and the only player to have his number retired. Played in 154 games, seventh most by a Bengals offensive lineman. Only center in team history to be selected for the Pro Bowl (1968).
- #19 – Takeo Spikes: Bengals first round draft selection in 1998. Led team in tackles four out of five seasons and topped the 100-tackle mark five times. Became first rookie to lead team in tackles since James Francis in 1990.
- #18 – Dave Lapham: Member of Super Bowl XVI team. Versatile lineman with the ability to play all five offensive line positions. Played in 140 games, ranking ninth in team history for an offensive lineman. Voted Bengals Man-of-the-Year by fans in 1980.
- #17 – Bob Trumpy: Four-time Pro Bowl player who was equally adept at blocking and catching the ball. Second in team history in yards per reception average in a season, with 22.57 yards per reception in 1969
- #16 – Lemar Parrish: Six-time Pro Bowler (tied for second-most in team history). Holds team records for average yards per kickoff return (24.66 yards), average yards per punt return in a season (18.78 yards in 1974) and career punt returns for touchdowns (four). Fifth in team history for career interceptions, with 25 interceptions.
- #15 – Corey Dillon: Three-time Pro Bowler. Holds team records for career rushing attempts (1865), career rushing yards (8061), most 100-yard games (28) and most rushing touchdowns in a game (four). 96-yard touchdown run against Detroit in 2001 is the longest rush in team history.
- #14 – Willie Anderson: Four-time Pro Bowler. Bengals first round draft selection in 1996. Played in 181 Bengals games, tied for sixth place on the team's all-time list. Helped set club record for fewest sacks allowed in 2007 at 17. Recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2004, given to players who best demonstrate commitment to values of sportsmanship and courage.
- #13 – Max Montoya: Three-time Pro Bowler. Member of Super Bowl XVI and XXIII teams. Honored by Pro Football Weekly as the NFL's best guard at pass blocking. Had a stretch in 1988 where he allowed his opponent to hit the quarterback just once in 237 passes.
- #12 – Reggie Williams: Member of Super Bowl XVI and XXIII teams. Second in team history for games played (206) and total sacks (62.5). Third in team history for most seasons played (14). Led team in tackles in 1976, 1977 and 1984. Honors include All-Rookie Team (1976), Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award (1985), Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (1986) and Sports Illustrated Co-Sportsman of the Year Award (1987).
- #11 – Ken Riley: Fifteen year career with the Bengals is second longest in team history. Holds team records for games played (207), career interceptions (65), interception return yards (596) and interception returns for touchdowns (five)
The only player you can somewhat argue about in this part of the countdown is Takeo Spikes. He was a great linebacker for several years, though it was for only five years in Cincinnati. He ended up playing for 10 more years with teams not named the Bengals, so the bulk of his career wasn’t even with the Bengals.
One would think a ranking like this would put a little more value into players who spent a greater deal of time with the Bengals, but if we’re ranking these players on purely what they did in the NFL, not just with the Bengals, then Spikes’ spot is pretty justified. Then again, this ranking was created by fans and the media, so the Bengals didn’t play a part in deciding the final list.
What are your thoughts on this portion of the countdown?