With the Super Bowl this Sunday, it’s a good chance to take a look at players on the Bengals’ roster who have been to a Super Bowl before. Surprisingly enough, they have just one player who has ever been to the big game.
Brandon LaFell won Super Bowl 49 with the Patriots during the 2014 season. They ended up defeating the Seahawks due to a late goal-line interception.
LaFell was actually a fairly big part of that 2014 season. He was their third leading receiver with 953 yards, which was only 19 behind Julian Edelman. LaFell also had the second most receiving touchdowns with seven on the season. He had just signed with the Patriots after spending his first four seasons with the Panthers.
In LaFell’s first year with New England, he quickly posted career highs in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. It was clear that he had found the right fit.
LaFell helped get the Patriots to the Super Bowl that season with his game against the Ravens in the Divisional Round. He caught five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots won 35-31. He didn’t do much against the Colts, but the game ended up being a 45-7 blowout because the Patriots were able to just run the ball the whole game.
In the Super Bowl, LaFell scored the game’s first touchdown while catching four passes for 29 yards. It may not be the greatest receiving stat line in the world, but catching the first touchdown of a Super Bowl has to be a great experience.
Now, it seems weird that a team could only have one player who has ever been to a Super Bowl, but when you think about the Bengals approach to building a team it makes sense.
The vast majority of the talent on Cincinnati’s roster was drafted and developed by the team. They rarely try to do anything crazy in free agency. Most of the time, they seem to just pick over the bargain bin when bringing in outside players.
It also doesn’t help that players on Super Bowl teams are hot commodities right after a Super Bowl. It is a copycat league, and the easiest way to copy someone is to take what they use to be successful.
That means the only Super Bowl players the Bengals end up with are players who are either viewed as past their prime or coming off terrible seasons. You can look at LaFell for the terrible season reason. He went from a career year to barely surpassing 500 yards, and he failed to catch a touchdown pass.
It really doesn’t matter a whole lot how many players with Super Bowl experience you have though. The idea that a guy will come into town with a ring on his finger and turn everything around is just strange.
Unless that guy is Tom Brady, I’m doubting it has a drastic impact. Maybe a slight morale boost at best, but really it just sound better to add that to his resume when presenting it to fans.