Cincinnati Bengals fans cheer as the Jaguars prepare to run a play on third and long in the first quarter of the NFL Week 7 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (Photo: Sam Greene)
The Cincinnati Bengals played their first professional season in 1968. The franchise has been in existence for more than 50 years. Over the course of 50-plus seasons, only one Bengals player (Anthony Muñoz) has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A plethora of Bengals fans think that’s a “travesty.”
In an effort to advocate for more representation in the Hall of Fame, four Bengals fans are organizing a “Jungle to the Hall” rally on June 19th at 2121 George Halas Drive Northwest in Canton, Ohio. The location is about 20 yards from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“We got one player in our franchise’s history in the Hall of Fame, and that’s over fifty years. We think that’s a travesty,” event organizer and Bengals fan Jim Foster said to The Enquirer. “The why behind this is simply because we want to be able to recognize our Bengals legends that we feel should be recognized and have their legacies protected in the Hall of Fame.”
Foster and fellow Cincinnati native Thomas Justin are organizing the event along with James Spink, of Brownsburg, Indiana, and Jamie Stephens of Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
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They will recognize up to eight players who they believe are deserving of Hall of Fame consideration: Max Montoya, Chad Johnson, Isaac Curtis, Ken Anderson, Ken Riley, Willie Anderson, Corey Dillon and Lemar Parrish.
The Bengals rally organizers are going to particularly push quarterback Ken Anderson and cornerback Ken Riley for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Photo: Jeff Hinckley, AP)
However, Foster and others will place a special focus on Riley, who passed away last year, and Ken Anderson. Riley and Anderson are two former players that Foster and many Bengals fans feel should already be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Two we’re really going to focus on are Ken Riley and Ken Anderson,” Foster said to The Enquirer. “Those are the two that we feel need to be recognized immediately.”
The event will kick off at a very sentimental place for Bengals fans – Massilon Washington High School in Canton. The high school is where the late Paul Brown, who founded the Bengals, attended.
The free event will start at 10 a.m. Attendees will get to tour the school’s hall of fame, indoor football practice facility and see Brown’s statue. After the tour, the rally will get underway at approximately 1 p.m. in an event tent that has a capacity of a few hundred people.
Rally organizers told The Enquirer that they have contacted former Bengals about speaking at the engagement. The event tent will be stationed a stone’s throw away from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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The event is not sanctioned by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Foster said the Hall of Fame has been cooperative. At the end of the event, rally-goers are invited to visit the Hall of Fame at a discounted price.
The Hall of Fame is also planning to create a special Bengals exhibit for the day.
“We’re going to have fun. We’re going to recognize our greats,” Foster said to The Enquirer. “We’re probably easily going to have 200 people in that event tent. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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