The Cincinnati Bengals are a professional American football franchise based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals currently compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Their home stadium is Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati. Their current head coach is Marvin Lewis, who has held the position since 2003 and is currently the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL, behind the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick. Their chief rivals are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bengals were founded in 1966 as a member of the American Football League (AFL) by former Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown. Brown was the Bengals’ head coach from their inception to 1975. After being dismissed as the Browns’ head coach by Art Modell (who had purchased majority interest in the team in 1961) in January 1963, Brown had shown interest in establishing another NFL franchise in Ohio and looked at both Cincinnati and Columbus. He ultimately chose the former when a deal between the city, Hamilton County, and Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds (who were seeking a replacement for the obsolete Crosley Field) was struck that resulted in an agreement to build a multipurpose stadium which could host both baseball and football games.
The team’s official mascot is a Bengal tiger named Who Dey who walks around on the field often behind the goal post. Aside from Who Dey, the team also has the Cincinnati Ben–Gals, the team’s cheerleading squad, which included Laura Vikmanis, the oldest cheerleader in league history.