It's time for the Bengals to have a Ring of Honor and a museum where fans can learn about the rich history of the organization.
We tend to appreciate people after they're gone. It's time for the Bengals to acknowledge their former greats while they're still alive.
Ken Riley's passing is just another example of that. The legend died on Sunday morning at his home in Bartow, Florida.
He's arguably the best cornerback in franchise history.
Most Bengals fans under the age of 40 never saw Riley play. Plenty of them probably don't know who he is. Fans might've learned a little bit about him since his death, but the Bengals have to do more.
If they want the Pro Football Hall of Fame to acknowledge Ken Anderson, Riley and other former greats, then maybe they should do the same.
Both Anderson and Riley should've been inducted into the Hall of Fame years ago.
There are plenty former Bengals that deserve more credit for what they did for the organization.
"Isaac Curtis," Anderson said without hesitation on the Locked on Bengals podcast when asked about underappreciated players. "Isaac came in 1973. He was our number one draft choice (15th overall), a wide receiver from San Diego State. People don't remember that he had the impact on the league when he came into the league that Jerry Rice had. He was a football player that had world class speed. In fact, they wanted him to try out for the Olympic relay team and he chose football.
"He was tremendously fast, but he was a great route runner with great hands and doesn't get the respect he deserves."
When Bengals fans — even die hards, think of Cincinnati wide receivers, most think of Chad Johnson or A.J. Green. Curtis' former teammates think he was just as good, if not better than those guys.
"The other one would be Kenny Riley," Anderson said. "He played 15 years in the league. He's up there in total interceptions for a career. He was a quarterback at Florida A&M and converted to a defensive back when he got to the Bengals and he had an illustrious career."
Anderson went on to name Bob Trumpy and Lamar Parrish.
The Bengals' history is filled with players that have been overlooked. The lost decade of the 1990s hurt the public perception of the organization.
Cincinnati's playoff draught hasn't helped their cause. Everyone focuses on their lack of postseason success and for good reason. The Bengals were 4-3 in the playoffs in the 80s and made two Super Bowl runs in an eight-year span.
A museum would be another way the Bengals could make money and boost the value of their organization. Fans are ecstatic that they were aggressive in free agency this offseason and drafted Joe Burrow. This would help wake up a fan base that had grown apathetic in recent years.
Most NFL teams pay homage to their past. The Bengals have had plenty of success over the years, but a significant portion of the fan base doesn't remember the 1981 Super Bowl run.
Plenty of fans will tell you they went to the Freezer Bowl, but the official attendance was 46,302. How cool would it be to have an entire display dedicated to one of the biggest wins in franchise history?
They should celebrate their history, not hide it. Kids should be able to go to a Bengals museum with a virtual simulator where Ochocinco can teach them his best touchdown celebrations.
Fans should be able to relive Corey Dillon's 278 yard performance against the Broncos in 2000.
The museum could include a 'Madden Station,' which would allow fans to play with Bengals teams from their favorite seasons.
There should be a place that fans can go to and learn about their favorite team.
A Ring of Honor is a necessary step if the Bengals want to ensure that Anderson, Riley and other greats get the respect they deserve from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Why would anyone expect voters from across the country to give former Bengals legends their due if the organization doesn't even acknowledge them properly?
Anthony Munoz is the only Bengals player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's a legend, but he shouldn't be alone.
The Bengals' current mentality hasn't worked. This isn't the first time someone asked for a Ring of Honor or a museum and it probably won't be the last.
They brought back former players in 2017 to celebrate their 50th season. It was one of the best things they've done to recognize their past.
They need to take that energy and put it towards a Ring of Honor and a museum to commemorate more than 50 years of pro football in the Queen City.