Best Of 2019

Best Potential New Pro Football Hero/Scapegoat for Long-Suffering Bengals Fans: Zac Taylor

After another disappointing season, the Bengals finally decided maybe it wasn’t a sign of great leadership to have never won a playoff game after 16 years and fired head coach Marvin Lewis. Zac Taylor was named his replacement, but the team had to wait until Taylor’s previous job ended; he was the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams, whose quarterback scored no points in a losing Super Bowl effort. It was at least an inauspicious way to come into being introduced as the Bengals’ new head coach, if not a fitting one for a team known far and wide as “The Bungles” for a reason. Given the organization’s reputation, the “Welcome to the Jungle” tagline used in the advertising welcoming Taylor to the team had some ominous connotations. But for Bengals fans wanting a fresh start, Taylor is, at the very least, just that. Many see Taylor’s signing as part of a “youth movement” trend in the NFL that has resulted from 33-year-old Rams head coach Sean McVay’s success. Taylor is 35 years old, just four years older than Bengals starting QB Andy Dalton, and he has minimal coaching experience. Still, the Rams had a phenomenal 2018 season, and Jared Goff — and, presumably, Taylor — were a big part of that. If he can accomplish what Lewis did in his first year (i.e. just get to the playoffs), fans will be deliriously hopeful; if Taylor helps the team to another 10-loss season, well, fans will just carry on as they have for decades. Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, bengals.com.