By now, you’ve probably seen the list of the 50 greatest Cincinnati Bengals of all time. Scanning that list is like going through old photo albums (kids, ask your parents) and reliving the best parts of your childhood.
Seeing some of those top 50 players (in their prime) back in action would be exciting. Let’s face it, there are some weak spots in our lineup that the greats could help us with. So we took a look at our position groups and came up with five of the best players who could be plugged in and immediately bump up our chances of making the playoffs – maybe more.
If you see names missing like Boomer, Ickey, or Ochocinco, it’s because they played at positions that have talent and/or depth in 2017, and thus wouldn’t make as big an impact. Let’s get to it.
5 Greatest Cincinnati Bengals of All Time That Could Help in 2017
5. Bob Johnson (center, 1968-1979) – Johnson didn’t get a lot of awards outside of his number being retired by the team. While that alone probably won’t impress many people, he was still the real deal. Seems like the unproven offensive line could use the consistency he brought to the team for 12 years.
4. Ken Riley (defensive back, 1969-1983) – One of the oddest things about Riley’s career was how overlooked it was. He never made the Pro Bowl, and there’s no bust in the Hall of Fame. However, his play speaks for itself. Someone of his caliber could really contribute to a secondary that’s good but not Make America Great. He snagged 65 picks over 15 years. He also brought in nine interceptions in 1976 during the NFL’s run-happy era. Most noteworthy, he still holds the franchise career records for interceptions, interception return yards, and picks returned for touchdowns.
3. Jim Breech (kicker, 1980-1992) – We’re high on rookie kicker Jake Elliott. However, since he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself yet, we want to plug in a kicker who could unquestionably fill a hole on the 2017 team. In his 13 seasons with the Bengals, Breech became Cincinnati’s all-time leading scorer with 1,151 points. He connected on 71.4 percent of his career field goals. That would’ve come in handy during the six games last year that either went into overtime, or Cincy lost by six points or less. Most of all, Breech could generate points under pressure (nine for nine on overtime field goals). Maybe Elliott can do the same.
2. Max Montoya (offensive guard, 1979-1989) – Talk about a steal. Montoya was a seventh-round pick who played more than a decade for the Cincinnati Bengals. Most noteworthy, he made the Pro Bowl four times. His work ethic and example would be key for the offensive line that seems pretty vanilla due to the losses of Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth.
1. Anthony Munoz (offensive tackle, 1980-1992) – Yeah, we know … the majority of men on this list are O-lineman. But even if we weren’t trying to use past greats to shore up a suspect line, few people doubt that Munoz’s presence would be a welcome sight. The 11-time Pro Bowler started 182 games in his career and was a brick wall against the rush. He even caught seven passes and scored four TDs, which would put a nice wrinkle in Cincy’s goal-line package. His remarkable toughness, skill and longevity are what put him at the top of the list of the greatest Cincinnati Bengals of all time.
So, which all-time Cincy players do you think are missing from this list?