With more than a dozen former players and coaches looking on during a press conference Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Cincinnati Bengals unveiled their 50th anniversary season logo and the plans to celebrate the milestone throughout the 2017 season.
“It doesn’t seem so long ago to me that the Bengals were just a concept, an idea, a notion,” Bengals president and owner Mike Brown said. “Led by my father (Paul Brown), a small group of us pursued that notion.
“It took us five years, but we came up with the franchise that became the Bengals, a proud moment for us,” he continued. “We’re now going into our 50th year playing on the field, and over that time the team has become has entrenched as an institution in Cincinnati.”
Among those in attendance was Bob Johnson, the original Bengal drafted second overall in 1968. Johnson said his salary his rookie year was $22,000.
“I figured it out, and Peyton Manning made in the first seven minutes of a game what I made in four years,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Bob Trumpy took turn telling stories from the podium, and there surely will be more to come when the Bengals reach out to all their former players to come to home games to be honored throughout the season.
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Here are five things to know about the way the Bengals will celebrate their 50th anniversary season:
The list of the 50 greatest players in franchise history — the Bengals First 50 — will be unveiled prior to the start of the season, and the voting will be done by fans and media.
The fans will account for 50 percent of the vote, and you can vote once a day at bengals.com/vote to be entered to win a Bengals 50th anniversary prize pack.
Game day celebrations
Each member of the Bengals First 50 will be invited as a guest to a home game and be honored on the field at halftime.
Other Bengals legends will have the opportunity to participate in the halftime ceremonies as well.
Throughout the weekend, the Bengals First 50 and other legends will be able to reconnect and reminisce in various settings, including watching a team practice and attending a dinner with invited guests the night before the game.
Season ticket perks
Season ticket holders will have an opportunity attend exclusive events, including next week’s NFL Draft Party, a town hall meeting and a private training camp practice. Additionally, each home game a group of 50 season ticket holders will be selected to form the tunnel the team runs through to take the field.
Season ticket holders also asked to share their favorite Bengals memories and photos for stories that will be featured on Bengals.com and in the Gameday program throughout the season.
Bengals.com launched “This Day in Bengals History” Thursday. The daily feature will take a look at key events and memories from the previous 49 seasons.
The Top 50 Moments, including memories from Bengals lends and other key figures in team history, also will be highlighted on the site, as well as in the Gameday program and on the video board during home games.
The 50th anniversary merchandise, including jerseys, t-shirts, hats, mugs, key chains and other items, go on sale in the Bengals Pro Shop on Friday, April 28.