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Chargers Advent Calendar - Dec. 9: A History of Chargers Vs. Bengals

This Chargers and Bengals game has a little bit more significance than most matchups for Ruben J. Gonzalez

This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December still holds such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that makes it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.

Dec. 09: A History of Chargers Vs. Bengals

The history between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals has a little bit more meaning to me when these two teams meet up. I’ll explain in a bit, but before that lets get acquainted with the team with the second best helmet in the NFL…

When these two meet later on today, it will be the 36th time these teams have met. The Chargers lead the all-time series 20-15, but that gap has narrowed down recently. In the past five meetings, the Chargers have only won once- in 2013’s AFC Wildcard game where they won 27-10 on the heels of touchdowns from Ladarius Green, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. I guess if you are going to win any of the past five games, make it count in the playoffs.

The last time these two teams played was in 2015. That game saw the Bengals jump to an early lead, forcing the Chargers to play catch-up all game. Stevie Johnson and Malcolm Floyd scored the only Chargers touchdown that day. The touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Johnson in the third quarter was Rivers’ 255th, passing Dan Fouts on the Chargers all-time list.

Perhaps the most famous meeting between these two clubs happened in 1981. Dubbed the ‘Freezer Bowl’, the Bengals hosted the Don Coryell-led Chargers for the AFC Championship game winning 27-7. The game was called the Freezer Bowl because it was the coldest game in NFL history as far as wind chill. That day there were 27 mile per hour winds swirling in Riverfront Stadium, making it feel like -37 F.

For more Chargers/Bengals matchup results here is a link.


Which brings me to the special significance I hold when these two teams play each other.

This story involves my sister who is four years younger than me, which in 1988 puts her at the age of seven years old. So one day I’m sitting there and I ask her who her favorite NFL team was. She didn’t really watch football, and I’m not really sure why I even cared if she had a favorite team or not.

But that day I made her choose a team.

She seemed interested and so I had to figure out the best way for her to make her choice. There was no internet back then, so finding a way for her to unobjectively choose her favorite team took some imagination. And then I remembered one of my greatest pastimes around Christmas: skimming through the annual Sears Christmas Wish Book Catalog to make my Wishlist. After practically memorizing that whole catalog from looking at it everyday the previous winter, I knew that catalog would have all the logos.

In color.

I flipped to the NFL section to let her look at all the teams and she chose the Cincinnati Bengals. As she told me that day, ‘They have the best helmet”.

I’ll give credit to my sister. She’s been rooting for the Bengals ever since then. And it has now been 30 years since that fateful day. She’s been rooting for them for a lot of four and three win seasons, and even a two win season. As Chargers fans, we think we’ve had it bad, sometimes we forget that the Bengals for a time there had people showing up to the games wearing paper bags over their heads.

We’ve been to a few games at the Q and I always felt like I had to protect her from unruly Chargers fans if anything came up. They didn’t, but I always felt on the ready.

So, with that being said, I kind of created this Bengal Monster that I call my sister. She wears her jerseys, she has this Bengals head piece she brings over when they play. Its an all-around great time when we get to meet up as sibling rivals.

That’s why there’s a little bit more a stake when these two teams play each other. And it’s always one of those games that I always look forward to every time they play.