In 1937, a team known as the Cincinnati Bengals was formed as a member of the American Football League, but the AFL folded after the season. The Bengals continued as an independent team in 1938, and in 1939 joined a new AFL, but again, the league folded after the season. In 1940, a new AFL emerged and the Bengals joined. But that AFL suffered the fate of the two AFLs before it, folding after the 1941 season.
Pro football returned to Cincinnati 26 years later in 1967 when Paul Brown headed an ownership group that landed an expansion franchise in the modern-era American Football League. Brown, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who founded and coached the Cleveland Browns from 1946-62, picked the name Bengals for the new team to give it a link with past professional football in Cincinnati.
The Bengals made appearances in Super Bowl XVI and XXIII. Most recently, the Cincinnati Bengals were crowned the AFC North Champions in 2005 and 2009.