The Cincinnati Bengals may be the most beloved team on Cincy Jungle (or at least I’d hope so), but where do the Bengals rank among the major Cincinnati sports franchises?
Do they generate the most excitement and buzz? Do they have the greatest track record for success? Do they have the biggest fan following?
Let’s examine the competition and ponder how the Bengals stack up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.
It would be difficult to begin any list of the major Cincinnati sports teams without the Reds. They have a rich history as the oldest professional baseball team, having been a fixture in Cincinnati sports for 137 years.
During that time, the Reds have collected 10 pennants and won five World Series championships, most recently in 1990. They also won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976 during the era known as the “Big Red Machine”. In 1976, the National League All-Star team featured five Reds players among the eight starting position players, with two more on the bench.
A whopping 40 players are enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame who donned the Reds jersey as either a player or manager. Names like Barry Larkin, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr, and Frank Robinson all spent many years with the Reds.
The Reds have a long history, multiple championships, a litany of great players, and had a run of dominance over a decade. They certainly give the Bengals a good run as the top team in Cincinnati sports.
If the Reds are the elder statesman of sports in the Queen City, Futbol Club Cincinnati is the young toddler. But despite their very recent entrance into the area, to say Futbol Club Cincinnati is trending in the right direction would be something of an understatement.
Just two years after forming and joining the United Soccer League, FC Cincinnati is getting a new $30 million stadium in Milford and are making the jump to Major League Soccer, which is the top level of US professional soccer.
Last season, the team saw tremendous success in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The competition included 99 professional teams, and eight total rounds, with the championship. FC Cincinnati defeated two MLS teams, advancing all the way to the semi-finals before falling 3-2 to the New York Red Bulls in extra time.
The NFL has had recent publicity failings thanks to their denial and mishandling of concussions, and last season’s misplayed positions on the national anthem protests. They have also been losing viewers who would rather cut the cord to cable services than pay excessive monthly bills to watch games.
FC Cincinnati popped up at the right time to try to capitalize on this opportunity.
University of Cincinnati Bearcats sports
UC is the large state school in the Cincinnati area, and their big sport is basketball. They have been a successful team over the past century, compiling a 1787-1009 record with 24 conference championships in the regular season and 11 conference tournament championships.
They have reached the NCAA tournament 32 times, which has resulted in six trips to the final four, and a pair of titles. Yes, the titles were in 1961 and 1962, but a championship is a championship. Their most famous alumni is likely the Big-O, Oscar Robertson, who was a three time All American in the late 1950’s.
Xavier Musketeers basketball
Xavier is the private Catholic university in Cincinnati, who are a natural rival for the Bearcats. The Musketeers’ team is not as old as their crosstown rivals, but have seen their share of success.
They’ve compiled a 1471-989 mark with 18 regular season championships and 9 conference tournament championships. They have reached the NCAA tournament 28 times, but that’s where their success falls off, as they have reached the final four zero times, with zero titles.
Like UC, Xaiver plays much of its season during the same stretch of time that the Bengals are playing their NFL schedule. They are going to pose a head-to-head challenge to the Bengals with much of their seasons overlapping.
High school football
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention high school football. It is very big in Ohio, and Cincinnati is no exception. Cincinnati teams LaSalle, Archbishop Moeller, Winton Woods, Anderson, Colerain, Elder have all won a state title since the turn of the century, while St. Xavier has won three of them over that same span.
Those who live outside Ohio may not realize how big high school football is in some areas of the state, and Cincinnati is certainly one of them.
You wouldn’t have to look too hard to find a local St X alum or Elder alum who would easily pick watching his high school team over the Bengals, if he had to pick.
Biggest thing in Cincinnati sports...
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high school football