Bengals fans tend to feel betrayed by Cris Collinsworth.
A former Bengals wide receiver who played in both of the team's Super Bowls and set records that only A.J. Green could break, tends to make fun of the organization. Then again he's calling Sunday Night games, which the Bengals haven't won in since Week 4 of the 2004 season when they beat the Miami Dolphins. During Cincinnati's seven-game losing streak on Sunday Night Football, only twice have the Bengals lost by less than a touchdown (2005 and 2012).
Collinsworth, who will call Sunday's game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, often recalls the memorable losses in Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XXIII, where Cincinnati lost "by a combined nine points".
"You’d like to take one more shot. I even thought that one day at the end of my broadcasting, when it didn't matter so much, the money or whatever, just go back into coaching," Collinsworth said. "Just be a wide receivers coach and try and take one more shot at one of those rings."
"Honestly," Collinsworth said, "there used to be there wasn't an hour that went by that I didn't think about it. Then there was probably not a day that went by I didn't think about losing those two. Now it’s probably not a week that goes by that I don’t think about it…You always think about it."
This isn't the first time that Collinsworth has remarked about those losses. He said this iin 2012:
"We had such a good team and to have four turnovers and we’re down 20-0. Forrest Gregg’s halftime speech was ‘Hey, just go give it a shot in the second half. You (screwed) it up so bad in the first half, you can’t (screw) it up any worse.’ And we almost won the game."
At least Collinsworth can say that he made it to the Superbowl with the Bengals. The only thing Bengals fans presently have to boast about are four consecutive playoff appearances and five in the last six years... all wild card losses.
In the second round of the 1981 NFL draft, the Bengals selected Florida wide receiver Cris Collinsworth No. 37 overall. Collinsworth made an immediate impact, posting 67 receptions, leading the team with eight touchdown receptions and posting the only 1,000-yard receiving season on the team.
|Leading receivers on the 1981 Bengals roster|
Collinsworth's career blossomed afterwards, leading the Bengals in yards receiving in each of his first six seasons from 1981-1986. He led the team in receptions and receiving touchdowns in four of his first six seasons. The following chart illustrates Collinsworth's production through his first six seasons, along with how he ranked on the team that year.
|1981||67 (2nd)||1,009 (1st)||8 (1st)|
|1982*||49 (1st)||700 (1st)||3 (t-1st)|
|1983||66 (1st)||1,130 (1st)||5 (1st)|
|1984||64 (1st)||989 (1st)||6 (1st)|
|1985||65 (1st)||1,125 (1st)||5 (t-3rd)|
|1986||62 (1st)||1,024 (1st)||10 (1st)|
|* Only played nine games due to player's strike|
Currently Collinsworth ranks fourth in franchise history in receptions (417), yards receiving (6,698), yards/reception (16.1) and 100-yard games (18). His 206 yards receiving against the Baltimore Colts on October 2, 1983 is the fifth-most yards receiving, in a single-game, in franchise history. In five major statistical categories in franchise history, Collinsworth ranks fourth. I'd understand if you thought somehow Collinsworth was tied into the Dharma Initiative -- hell, he might be!
Collinsworth deserves to be mentioned among the franchise great wide receivers like Isaac Curtis, Carl Pickens, Eddie Brown, Chad Ochocinco and even T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Unfortunately unpopular comments, usually the same comments made by angry Bengals fans, tend to put him at odds within the community. We're not asking for a Hall of Fame nomination. Nothing close. It's time he be recognized as one of franchise's better receivers. And probably the best Bengals receiver that almost played for the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits.