CINCINNATI – If you were wondering if the Bengals would mark their 50th season by finally establishing a Hall of Fame or Ring of Honor for their great players of the past, like other teams have, the answers are no and no.
Instead, they're inviting fans and the media to select the "Bengals First 50," the club said in revealing its celebration plans Thursday.
The Bengals said the "First 50" vote is intended to select the top 50 players from all retired Bengals, regardless of position.
The fan vote, which counts for 50 percent, started Thursday and runs through June 15. Fans can vote once per day at Bengals.com/vote and be entered to win a Bengals 50th Anniversary Prize Pack. The media vote, which also counts for 50 percent, will include a select group of media who have covered or currently cover the team.
The Bengals First 50 will be announced before the season, the club said. Several selected Bengals alums will be honored at each home game.
The Bengals revealed a 50th season commemorative logo (above), which will be displayed on players uniforms and the field at Paul Brown Stadium. Fans will be able to buy 50th anniversary merchandise in the Bengals Pro Shop starting April 28.
In a letter posted on the team’s website, team owner Mike Brown invited fans to join in the season-long celebration.
“Since we were formed in 1968, we have enjoyed great support – first at Nippert Stadium, then at Riverfront Stadium, and now at Paul Brown Stadium,” Brown wrote. “Throughout all those years, there has been one constant: you, our fans. We appreciate your support, and I say thank you on behalf of the entire organization. We look forward to celebrating our team’s history with you this season.”
Season ticket holders will receive special access and recognition throughout the season, the club said. That includes an invitation to an NFL draft party, town hall meeting and private training camp practice. Before each home game, 50 season ticket holders will be selected to form the tunnel that the team runs through to take the field.
Season ticket holders will also get commemorative tickets featuring iconic photos from the past 50 years, the club said in a release.