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Even though the Cincinnati Bengals achieved more than any fan could’ve possibly imagined in 2021, head coach Zac Taylor continues to ruminate on what went wrong in the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Athletic’s Jay Morrison and Paul Dehner Jr. spoke to a number of Bengals players and coaches about the game. When asked to recount in his view the one play Cincinnati “couldn’t make” in the game, Taylor responded it was “every bad play”:
“When you’re not the team that wins it all, I think everything haunts you for the entirety of the offseason. And then you buckle up and get ready to go after it again. And next offseason, there’s going to be 31 teams that are haunted by a whole lot of things that they wish would’ve gone differently, and that’s just life in the NFL.”
As long as quarterback Joe Burrow remains healthy, the Bengals have a bright future. The history of the franchise shows success isn’t guaranteed, though.
After winning its first AFC title in 1981, Cincinnati reached the playoffs only one more time before 1988, when it returned to the Super Bowl. An even longer spell of futility followed that heartbreaking 20-16 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers, as the Bengals had only one winning season between 1989 and 2005.
Based on his comments to Morrison and Dehner, Taylor isn’t resting on his laurels or taking for granted how hard he and his players will have to work to bring the Bengals’ first-ever Super Bowl championship to Cincinnati.