CINCINNATI – Fans and media who voted for the Bengals’ Top 50 retired players might have some explaining to do.
At least one of the franchise’s top names and a few All-Pros weren't on the list after the club announced its Top 10 Thursday morning.
There was no question who would be No. 1 - OT Anthony Munoz had to be at the top of the Bengals "First 50" when the club recently took a vote as part of the celebration of its upcoming 50th season.
The rest of the top 10 includes:
- 2. QB Ken Anderson
- 3. NT Tim Krumrie
- 4. WR Chad Johnson
- 5. K Jim Breech
- 6. SS David Fulcher
- 7. WR Cris Collinswroth
- 8. QB Boomer Esiason
- 9. WR Isaac Curtiis
- 10. RB James Brooks
Four All-Pros and seven Pro Bowlers missed the cut for the Bengals 50 (see the complete list below). More than 160,000 fan votes were cast, which accounted for 50 percent of the results, according to the Bengals. The other 50 percent was determined by 24 members of the media who have covered or currently cover the team.
The biggest omission might be RB Paul Robinson, but younger fans might not know him since he was one of the original Bengals. The Cactus Comet (because he came from Arizona) was AFL Rookie of the Year and an All-Pro in 1968.
Robinson rushed for 1,023 yards in 14 games for Paul Brown's expansion Bengals. That was only 43 yards shy of Ickey Woods' rookie total of 1,066 in 1988 - and Woods played in two more games. Robinson played a more limited role in 1969 when Greg Cook took over as QB, but he still made his second Pro Bowl.
Other Bengals All-Pros to miss the First 50 cut:
- P Dave Lewis: led the NFL with 46.2 yards per punt in 1970.
- CB Ashley Ambrose: eight interceptions in 1996;
- CB Deltha O’Neal: 10 picks in 2005.
Other Pro Bowlers who didn’t make the First 50 were K Shayne Graham (second in scoring all-time), QB Jeff Blake, RB Harold Green and Lorenzo Neal, WR Chip Myers, and DB Tremain Mack and Tory James. LB James Francis never made the Pro Bowl but he was one of the team's top defenders during the lost decade of the 90s.
That's not to say one great season should have earned anyone a spot on the Bengals 50 or that these players were more deserving than any who were selected. If anything, it shows that, for a team that has never won a Super Bowl and hasn't won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the Bengals had a lot of outstanding players through the years.
If this doesn't convince Mike Brown to start a Bengals Hall of Fame, nothing will.
Monday Morning Quarterbacks will second-guess the voting order. My biggest gripe is leaving CB Ken Riley out of the Top 10. If you believe, as many do, that Riley and Anderson deserve to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, then Riley deserves to be in the top 3 on this list instead of No. 11.
Older Bengals fans may object to recent players being ranked higher than some of the old-timers - for example, 1970s stars S Tommy Casanova (30) and DT Mike Reid (39), both all-pros. That also goes for Cook (46), who was 1969 AFL Rookie of the Year. But that was a long time ago and those three had shorter careers. Casanova retired after six seasons to become an ophthalmologist, Reid quit after five years to become a songwriter and singer, and an injury snuffed out Cook's bright star after one fantastic season.
Final thought: Wouldn’t it have been nice to make an honorary spot for backup QB Sam Wyche? Wyche made nine starts in the Bengals’ first three seasons before coaching the SB XXIII team two decades later.
Otherwise, argue among yourselves about the rankings.
The First 50 and other Bengals Legends will be recognized during halftime ceremonies at every regular season home game, which will include video highlights and an on-field presentation.
See the list of the First 50 below or go to Bengals.com/50
1 to 10:
1. T Anthony Munoz: Widely considered the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history. Only Bengals player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Eleven-time Pro Bowler, the most in team history. Earned All-Pro honors every season from 1981-91. Received NFL's Man of the Year Award in 1991. Played in both Bengals' Super Bowl games.
2. QB Ken Anderson: Led Bengals to Super Bowl XVI and won NFL MVP in 1981 season. Holds team records for passing attempts (4,475), completions (2,654), passing yards (32,838) and touchdown passes (197). Led NFL in passer rating four times. Sixteen-year career with the Bengals is longest in team history.
3. NT Tim Krumrie: Tenth-round draft choice was heart of the defense for 10 starting seasons. Never missed a game in his 12-year career. Led Bengals in tackles five times, an unusual feat for an interior lineman. Two-time Pro Bowler. We’ll never know if the Bengals would have won Super Bowl XXIII if he hadn’t broken his leg in the first quarter.
4. WR Chad Johnson: Six-time Pro Bowler (tied for second most in team history). Bengals career leader in receptions (751), receiving yards (10,783), receiving touchdowns (66) and 100-yard games (31). Second all-time in total touchdowns (66). Led NFL in receiving yards four times.
5. K Jim Breech: Bengals' all-time leading scorer with 1,151 points. Nine for nine in overtime field goals. Scored in 186 consecutive games. Member of both Super Bowl teams. Kicked three field goals in Super Bowl XXIII. Thirteen-year career with the Bengals is tied for fourth longest in team history.
6. SS David Fulcher: Three-time Pro Bowler. Redefined his position, blending a safety’s speed and cover skills with the size and hitting power of a linebacker. Third in franchise history with 31 interceptions. Tied for most interceptions by a safety in a season (eight in 1989). Member of Super Bowl XXIII team.
7. WR Cris Collinsworth: As a rookie, helped the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI and led team in receiving yards in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. Ranks in the top five in team history for total receptions (417), career receiving yards (6,698), average yards per catch (16.06) and most 100-yard games (18). Three-time Pro Bowler.
8. QB Boomer Esiason: Led the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII and was the NFL MVP in the 1988 season. Ultimate team leader. Three-time Pro Bowler. Holds team records for most 300-yard games (23), passing yards in a game (490) and average yards per passing attempt (7.62). Second in career passing yards (27,149) and touchdown passes (187).
9. WR Isaac Curtis: Four-time Pro Bowler. Averaged 17.07 yards per catch - a Bengals record. First-round draft selection in 1973. Four-time Pro Bowler. Third in team history for receiving yards (7,101), receiving touchdowns (53) and 100-yard games (20).
10. RB James Brooks: A multi-purpose weapon who was second in yards rushing (6,647), fourth in rushing TDs (37) and the franchise leader in catches and passing yards among running backs. Four-time Pro Bowler. Holds team record for average yards per rushing attempt (4.80). In top five for rushing yards in a game (201) and 100-yard games (17). Member of Super Bowl XXIII team.
11 to 20
11. CB Ken Riley: Fifteen-year career with the Bengals is second longest in team history. Holds team records for games played (207), career interceptions (65), interception return yards (596) and interception returns for touchdowns (five).
12. LB Reggie Williams: Member of Super Bowl XVI and XXIII teams. Second in team history for games played (206) and total sacks (62.5). Third in team history for most seasons played (14). Led team in tackles in 1976, 1977 and 1984. Honors include All-Rookie Team (1976), Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award (1985), Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (1986) and Sports Illustrated Co-Sportsman of the Year Award (1987).
13. G Max Montoya: Three-time Pro Bowler. Member of Super Bowl XVI and XXIII teams. Honored by Pro Football Weekly as the NFL's best guard at pass blocking. Had a stretch in 1988 where he allowed his opponent to hit the quarterback just once in 237 passes.
14. T Willie Anderson: Four-time Pro Bowler. Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1996. Played in 181 Bengals games, tied for sixth place on the team's all-time list. Helped set club record for fewest sacks allowed in 2007 at 17. Recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2004, given to players who best demonstrate commitment to values of sportsmanship and courage.
15. RB Corey Dillon: Three-time Pro Bowler. Holds team records for career rushing attempts (1865), career rushing yards (8061), most 100-yard games (28) and most rushing touchdowns in a game (four). 96-yard touchdown run against Detroit in 2001 is the longest rush in team history.
16. CB Lemar Parrish: Six-time Pro Bowler (tied for second-most in team history). Holds team records for average yards per kickoff return (24.66 yards), average yards per punt return in a season (18.78 yards in 1974) and career punt returns for touchdowns (four). Fifth in team history for career interceptions (25).
17. TE Bob Trumpy: Four-time Pro Bowl player who was equally adept at blocking and catching the ball. Second in team history in yards per reception average in a season (22.57 in 1969).
18. G Dave Lapham: Member of Super Bowl XVI team. Versatile lineman with the ability to play all five offensive line positions. Played in 140 games, ninth in team history for an offensive lineman. Voted Bengals Man of theYear by fans in 1980.
19. LB Takeo Spikes: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1998. Led team in tackles four out of five seasons and topped the 100-tackle mark five times. Became first rookie to lead team in tackles since James Francis in 1990.
20. C Bob Johnson: First player drafted in team history and the only player to have his number retired. Played in 154 games, seventh most by a Bengals offensive lineman. Only center in team history to be selected for the Pro Bowl (1968).
21 to 30
21. RB Rudi Johnson: Holds team records for rushing attempts in a season (361), rushing attempts in a game (43) and rushing yards in a season (1,458). Second in team history for career rushing touchdowns (48) and most 100-yard games (19). Made 2004 Pro Bowl.
22. TE Dan Ross: Instrumental in development of the modern passing game. Scored two touchdowns in Super Bowl XVI. Tied for third for most receptions in a Super Bowl (11 for 104 yards). Made Pro Bowl in 1982. All-rookie in 1979.
23. TE Rodney Holman: Three-time Pro Bowler and member of Super Bowl XXIII team. Versatile player who was an excellent blocker and good pass receiver with speed and strength to make big plays.
24. RB Ickey Woods: Holds team record for rushing touchdowns in a season (15). Rushed for 1066 yards as a rookie, helping to make the Bengals the NFL's number one rushing team in 1988. Member of Super Bowl XXIII team. All-rookie in 1988.
25. P-WR Pat McInally: Second in team history for total punts (700) and career punting yards (29,307). Placed 157 punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged 41.87 yards per punt in his career. Made Pro Bowl in 1981.
26. WR Carl Pickens: Holds team records for most receiving touchdowns in a season (17 in 1995) and most receptions in a game (13 in 1998). First Bengal to reach 500 receptions. Second in team history in receptions (530), career receiving touchdowns (63) and consecutive 100-yard games (four). Made Pro Bowl in 1995 and 1996
27. WR TJ Houshmandzadeh: Holds team record for total receptions in a season (112 in 2007). Third in team history with 507 total receptions. Led team in catches for three straight years from 2006-08. Made Pro Bowl in 2007.
28. CB Louis Breeden: Member of Super Bowl XVI team. Tied for team record for longest interception return (102 yards). Second in team history in career interceptions (33), career interception return yards (558) and interception return yards in a season (145).
29. WR Eddie Brown: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1985 and named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Holds team record for average yards per reception in a season (24.02 in 1988). Sixth in team history for career receiving yards (6,134). Member of Super Bowl XXIII team. Made Pro Bowl in 1988.
30. S Tommy Casanova: Three-time Pro Bowler. Named to NFL All-Rookie team in 1972 and selected by fans as Most Valuable Player. Fifth in team history for punt return yards with 784 yards on 91 punts.
31. RB Pete Johnson: Holds team record for career rushing touchdowns (64). Fourth in team history for career rushing yards (5,421). Led team in rushing seven times. Member of Super Bowl XVI team. Made Pro Bowl in 1981.
32. LB Bill Bergey: AFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1969. Led team in tackles in 1969, 1970 and 1971. Voted most valuable player by fans in 1970.
33. LB Jim LeClair: Long-time defensive captain known for being a hard-hitter. Led team in tackles five times (1976, '78-81). Made Pro Bowl in 1976.
34. DE Coy Bacon: Holds team record for sacks in a season (22 in 1976). Made Pro Bowl in 1976 and 1977. One of five defensive linemen in team history to go to back-to-back Pro Bowls
35. C Bruce Kozerski: Versatile player who started at all five offensive line positions. Center on the 1988 team that went to the Super Bowl. His 172 games ranks third in team history among offensive linemen.
36. T Joe Walter: Tied for most seasons played by an offensive lineman (13). Ranks fifth in games played by an offensive lineman (166). Recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 1990, given to players who best demonstrate commitment to values of sportsmanship and courage.
37. DE Eddie Edwards: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1977. Member of Super Bowl XVI and XXIII teams. Holds team record for career sacks (83.5). Tied for team record for most sacks in a game with five against Cleveland in 1980. Had a career-best 13 sacks in 1983. Ranks 10th in team history for games played (170).
38. C Rich Braham: One of only seven players to log 13 or more seasons with the Bengals. Played in 146 Bengals games, with 142 starts. Recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2001, given to players who best demonstrate commitment to values of sportsmanship and courage
39. DT Mike Reid: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1970. Named top defensive rookie in pro football by several publications. Recorded five sacks in a game in 1972. Made Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1973.
40. S Solomon Wilcots: Member of Super Bowl XXIII team. Finished third in tackles in 1988. Top-flight special teams player who tied for team lead in special teams tackles in 1989.
41 to 50
41. DE Justin Smith: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 2001. Sixth in team history with 43.5 career sacks. Led the line in tackles for six straight seasons.
42. P Lee Johnson: Holds team records for total punts (746), career punting yards (32,196) and punts inside the 20-yard line (186). His 63-yard punt in Super Bowl XXIII ranks second in Super Bowl history.
43. DE Ross Browner: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1978 and named to all-rookie team. Third in team history for career sacks (59). Led team in sacks in 1978, 1979 and 1985. Led team in tackles in Super Bowl XVI.
44. K Doug Pelfrey: Third in team history in total points (660). Holds team record for consecutive extra points made (103) and ranks third in field goal percentage (77.27).
45. DB Eric Thomas: Member of Super Bowl XXIII team. In the top 15 in team history for career interceptions (15). Blocked three field goals in 1991. Made Pro Bowl in 1988.
46. QB Greg Cook: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1969. AFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Led AFL in passing in 1969, connecting on 106 of 197 passes for a 53.81 completion percentage. Holds team record for average yards per passing attempt in a season (9.41) in 1969.
47. LB Brian Simmons: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1998. Versatile linebacker who played all three spots in 122 games as a Bengal. Led team in tackles in 1999, 2003 and 2004.
48. DE Robert Geathers: Two-time team leader in sacks and one of 10 Bengals to have 10 or more sacks in a season, having registered 10.5 in 2006. Holds team record for fumble return yards in a season (113 in 2009). Recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2013, given to players who best demonstrate commitment to values of sportsmanship and courage.
49. WR Tim McGee: Bengals' first-round draft selection in 1986. Third in team history for average yards per reception (16.68). Led team in receptions (65) and receiving yards (1211) in 1989, including five 100-yard games.
50. RB-KR Stanford Jennings: Scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII with a 93-yard kickoff return. In the top five in team history for kickoff returns (136), kickoff return yards (2,752) and longest kickoff return (98-yard touchdown against Kansas City in 1988).