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Report: Boomer Esiason snubbed by 2 media members in Bengals First 50 vote

One of the greatest quarterbacks in Cincinnati Bengals history received a huge snub from a couple of voters in the Bengals First 50, a ranking of the top Bengals of all time.

Boomer Esiason

Seeing Boomer Esiason ranked as low as No. 8 in the Bengals First 50 players of all time list was a shock, to say the least. The First 50 is a ranking of the top 50 retired Bengals, as voted on by the fans and members of the Cincinnati media.

As one of the Bengals’ most iconic players of all time, seeing guys like Cris Collinsworth, David Fulcher, and Jim Breech ranked ahead of him was baffling. But, it was the information former teammate and current Bengals radio announcer Dave Lapham recently delivered that made the voting process sound like some sort of cruel joke.

“Here’s a thing I heard about Boomer,” Lapham told Mo Eggar on ESPN 1530, “two media members did not vote for him and it cost him dearly.”

Think about that statement. According to Eggar and Lapham, their voting process involved simply picking 50 players. If the same is true for the other voters, that would mean there are people in this world who do not believe the 1988 NFL MVP, No. 2 all-time team passing yards leader, and No. 1 all-time team pass-to-touchdown leader (among players with at least 250 passing attempts), was one of the franchise’s Top 50 best players.

Per the Bengals, 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, rather than a predetermined number of players at each position.

“When he did not make the top 5 I was stunned,” Lapham said. “League MVP, what?”

The complete and total snub from certain ballots must explain why Boomer is so far down on this list. To not have him in the top 5 is questionable at best, but for some people to not include him in the top 50? Absolutely ludicrous.

“In my mind, it’s Anthony and the two quarterbacks, Kenny and Boomer,” Lapham said. “I have Boomer number three. I have Krumrie number four.”

Here’s the entire list, from 50-1:

  • #50 – Stanford Jennings
  • #49 – Tim McGee
  • #48 – Robert Geathers
  • #47 – Brian Simmons
  • #46 – Greg Cook
  • #45 – Eric Thomas
  • #44 – Doug Pelfrey
  • #43 – Ross Browner
  • #42 – Lee Johnson
  • #41 – Justin Smith
  • #40 – Solomon Wilcots
  • #39 – Mike Reid
  • #38 – Rich Braham
  • #37 – Eddie Edwards
  • #36 – Joe Walter
  • #35 – Bruce Kozerski
  • #34 – Coy Bacon
  • #33 – Jim LeClair
  • #32 – Bill Bergey
  • #31 – Pete Johnson
  • #30 – Tommy Casanova
  • #29 – Eddie Brown
  • #28 – Louis Breeden
  • #27 – T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  • #26 – Carl Pickens
  • #25 – Pat McInally
  • #24 – Ickey Woods
  • #23 – Rodney Holman
  • #22 – Dan Ross
  • #21 – Rudi Johnson
  • #20 – Bob Johnson
  • #19 – Takeo Spikes
  • #18 – Dave Lapham
  • #17 – Bob Trumpy
  • #16 – Lemar Parrish
  • #15 – Corey Dillon
  • #14 – Willie Anderson
  • #13 – Max Montoya
  • #12 – Reggie Williams
  • #11 – Ken Riley
  • #10 – James Brooks
  • #9 – Isaac Curtis
  • #8 – Boomer Esiason
  • #7 – Cris Collinsworth
  • #6 – David Fulcher
  • #5 – Jim Breech
  • #4 – Chad Johnson
  • #3 – Tim Krumrie
  • #2 – Ken Anderson
  • #1 – Anthony Munoz

One of the biggest criticisms against Esiason’s career is his performance in the postseason. Throughout his career, he recorded a total of 51 completions on 99 attempts for 600 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions in five playoff games. On average, that’s 10.2 completions on 19.8 attempts for 120 yards, 0.8 touchdowns, and 0.8 interceptions.

Granted, he did have a good game in the Bengals’ most recent playoff victory (22 completions on 35 attempts for 254 yards and three touchdowns). But, a string of lackluster performances in the 1988 Super Bowl run might diminish his impact in the eyes of some voters. Still, he is one of only two quarterbacks to take the Bengals to the Super Bowl, and, according to Lapham, he was hampered by a shoulder injury in that playoff run.

“Super Bowl XXIII, he was injured. He played hurt in the postseason, he got hurt right at the end of the regular season,” Lapham said. “His shoulder was messed up in that playoff run to Super Bowl XXIII. They were relying heavily on the running game. He had an injury that he didn’t talk about and has barely been talked about since, but he was banged up a little bit.”

For that reason, it makes sense why Esiason recorded a 44 percent completion rating for 144 yards and an interception in Super Bowl XXIII. Only 17 other quarterbacks in Super Bowl history recorded a worse passer rating than his 46.1. It is understandable why some voters may have been hesitant to rank him as high as others. Still, it doesn’t make sense to leave him off the list entirely.

Esiason might have missed out on his chance to cement his legacy with a Super Bowl XXIII victory, but with a solid 81.1 quarterback rating throughout his career, you have to remember how great he was when things were clicking. Between 1985 and 1990, he recorded an unbroken string of 3,000+ yard seasons, even coming close to breaking the 4,000 yard barrier in 1986 with 3,959, a feat only accomplished five times in NFL history before that season. His playing style fit the Bengals like a glove and absolutely struck fear into opposing teams.

“Sam Wyche with the no-huddle offense was cutting edge and Boomer benefited. Boomer was the perfect fit. Had great football IQ,” Lapham said. “And then, all the sudden, you have Marv Levy complaining about it. He wanted to eliminate it from the playoffs. He didn’t want them to be able to use the no-huddle. He basically told the league ‘I’m not going to send my team out there.’ What does he do? Special K. That’s how Jim Kelly made the Hall of Fame.”

Esiason was an innovator and one of the greatest quarterbacks the Bengals ever rostered. It boggles the mind to think anyone would not consider him a top 50 all time player in the franchise.