“Bengals 1988 Yearbook, Go-Bengals.com.”
From Go-Bengals Dot Com
The 1988 Cincinnati Bengals represent to me what the 1980s Bengals should’ve been all along and how good they could’ve been not just in 1988, but that entire decade, at least under Sam Wyche. And 1988 was the season that Wyche and the Bengals finally put it together under Wyche and came within really just one play, is Lewis Billups catches that Joe Montana pass and intercepts it, from winning Super Bowl 23.
I at least believe the Bengals of the mid and late 1980s were the most talented team at least in what was called the AFC Central back then. (The AFC North now) Boomer Esiason, was a better and more talented QB than Bernie Kosar, (Cleveland Browns) the Bengals had more talent than the Browns on offense, a better running game than the Browns, better receivers than the Browns, except for the TE where Ozzie Newsome was probably the best receiving TE, at least in the AFC during that era. But the Browns had Marty Shottenheimer as head coach and they always played tough defense under Shottenheimer.
Not saying that Sam Wyche was the reason for the Bengals inconsistency when he was there and why all by himself they underachieved: their defense wasn’t good enough for the most part giving up too many yards in the air and didn’t have a strong run defense either. But the when the Bengals did get decent or good defense, they were as good as anyone in the AFC in that decade, which is what they got in 1988 for the most part, as well as in 1981 when they made their first Super Bowl appearance.
The 1988 Bengals represent what Sam Wyche’s Bengals should’ve been, because he finally put it together as a head coach and his team put it together because they stopped making those critical mistakes at the worst time in the game that they made during most of the 1987 season, as well as 84 and 85. They were better prepared to win because they were better prepared under Sam Wyche and his coaching staff and learned how to win.