The legend Paul Brown is all over the state of Ohio’s football landscape. He coached at various Ohio high schools and was the first coach to win a National Championship at Ohio State. The Cleveland Browns are named after him. The Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium is named after him as well. As coach of the Cleveland Browns, he was an innovative coach who ushered in many of the practices that football teams just take for granted now.
Graphic via ballparks
Brown was the first to use game film to scout other teams, hire a full time staff of assistants and invented the face mask. He was a seven time championship winning coach with the Browns and the founder of the Bengals.
When he founded the Bengals they began play in Nippert Stadium for their first two seasons before they moved into the new Riverfront Stadium in 1970 which they shared with the Cincinnati Reds. As those 1970s cookie cutter stadiums began to be replaced for football only stadiums, the Bengals were no exception. In 2000 they moved into Paul Brown Stadium.
The seats at Paul Brown Stadium are almost like they are on top of the players. The lower level seats are almost up against the field and the upper level seating areas were built at a steep incline to give fans the best view of the action.
Architecturally speaking, this place is one of the best looking sports venues in the country. It is open in the endzones and the steep levels of the upper decks give the stadium a unique look. The view overlooking the endzones is incredible. If you want to check out the concourse level instead of watching the game, one can hardly blame you. The concourse features the Pigskin Pub, which looks like a very upscale Sports Bar where you could have a great time watching games on the big screens and pigging out in style.
The concessions on the concourse include food choices such as Gold Star Chili and LaRosa’s Pizza as well as a huge choice of beers including Cincinnati’s own Moerlein Brewery’s different lagers.
Most of the time, the fans try to stay positive, but Bengals fans went through some really bad seasons in the 1990s and early 2000s. Whenever the team begins to struggle the fans will almost automatically revert into “same old Bengals” mode and the mood will sour. But these fans are behind their team and when the Bengals are playing well, few fan bases are more passionate.
The Bengals have been better under Marvin Lewis in the past decade or so. They have been to the playoffs on several occasions since Andy Dalton was drafted as the quarterback out of TCU and they even went to the post season under his predecessor Carson Palmer. But in none of those seasons did the Bengals make much of a postseason run. The most painful memory would be the AFC Playoffs at Paul Brown Stadium against the hated rival Pittsburgh Steelers when Palmer was injured early in the game while throwing a near touchdown pass to Chris Henry in January of 2006. The team seemed to be on a trajectory to the Super Bowl before the play and has never been able to get back there since. With every promising Bengals season since, the fans seem to be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Most fans who are experienced in attending Bengals games seem to park and tailgate across the river in Kentucky. They can normally park for free or for very little and take a shuttle over to the stadium. Also in Covington there are plenty of good spots to eat before the game or shop for some Bengals gear.
A trip to Paul Brown Stadium is a must for any Bengals fan or any football fan really. It is one of the top stadiums in the league where you are sure to have a great NFL viewing experience.
Graphic via wikimedia