The Cincinnati Bengals, owners of the NFL's longest active postseason-victory drought entering Super Wild Card Weekend, are finally on the right side of history.
An exciting 26-19 home victory over the Raiders on Saturday snapped the Bengals' 31-year gap between playoff wins, sparking hope for a franchise that hadn't advanced past the wild-card round since the 1990 campaign. Cincinnati last won a playoff game on Jan. 6, 1991, when the Bengals routed the Houston Oilers, 41-14.
Standing tall in a revved-up locker room still celebrating the milestone win, head coach Zac Taylor dedicated a game ball to franchise owner Mike Brown -- who assumed ownership seven months after that '91 win -- and his wife, Nancy, before sharing a special message with a city that's supported them through many tumultuous seasons.
"The next one is a new tradition we start today with our first playoff win," Taylor said. "It goes to the city of Cincinnati and we pass this thing out at bars across Cincinnati tonight and we let the fans celebrate with us. Every playoff game from here on out, the city shares in this with us."
The team later announced it will send three game balls to popular local watering holes, Pontiac, Walt's Hitching Post and Mt. Lookout Tavern.
Saturday night's triumph also provided the Zac Taylor-Joe Burrow era with a new benchmark two weeks after beating the Chiefs. Burrow, who spent a portion of his childhood in Ohio, attended high school in the state and played one season at Ohio State before transferring to LSU, shared his excitement in the calm fashion synonymous with his M.O.
"It's exciting," he said. "It's exciting for the city and the state, but we're not going to dwell on that. We're moving forward, whoever we got to play next, we'll be ready to go out and execute the game plan."
Burrow, showing considerably less enthusiasm than the fans packed inside Paul Brown Stadium, followed that response with a bit more vigor when asked what it meant to secure his first playoff win. The business-as-usual QB wasn't shy about reminding everyone of the team's mission to give Cincy something else to cheer about in the weeks ahead.
"It's exciting, but this was expected," he said. "This isn't the icing on top of the cake or anything, this was the cake. So, we're moving on."