Jim Breech and Cris Collinsworth (80) are watching all their postseason records disappear.
Bengals.com Senior Writer
LOS ANGELES – If it seems like Al Michaels has called everything but a presidential election, it’s because he has.
Michaels, NBC’s Miracle Man who is calling his record-tying 11th Super Bowl Sunday, puts another benediction on a team Thursday as he watches the Bengals practice at UCLA.
“I think America has been captivated by this team,” Michaels says. “Come back down 18 to Kansas City on the road. And everybody said, ‘Whoa.'”
Michaels could look across Bengals head coach Zac Taylor’s toughest practice of the week and see Pauley Pavilion, the gym where he called John Wooden’s last two seasons and 10th national championship. He also called some of the first great moments of the Big Red Machine and sees Sunday as a nice bookend to his days on the Ohio River that included a World Series.
But Michaels couldn’t call it when he sat down with Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase earlier Thursday and asked him who had the Bengals rookie postseason receiving record.
Chase said he didn’t know and Michaels pointed at his partner and said, “Him.”
“One of the great blank looks,” Cris Collinsworth says. “That’s the way it should be. This is their time.”
Collinsworth, who has almost as many Emmys (16) analyzing the NFL as Chase has postseason catches (20), says Chase is the best receiver in Bengals history even though he’s built more like a running back.
“That’s why,” Collinsworth says. “I think he’s a phenomenal athlete who just happens to play wide receiver. He plays the position like Gale Sayers would play it. You’ll probably have to tell him who Gale Sayers is.”
While we’re at it, on the 40th anniversary of the Bengals’ first Super Bowl team, isn’t Joe Burrow playing quarterback like Collinsworth played that year? A rookie taking shot after shot and getting up and setting record after record on the way to the Super Bowl. And so cool while doing it. Collinsworth had ’80s aw-shucks swag. Burrow has 2020s social media swag.
“There never has been anybody cooler than this kid,” Collinsworth says. “That’s impossible.”
What’s not impossible is that Burrow has made an All-Pro team. You just have to go to Collinsworth’s Pro Football Focus web site to find it. It’s the Pro Bowl team he put together. Burrow is his quarterback.
“He deserved it,” Collinsworth says.
Shelve the PFF grades for a sec. Collinsworth can get a little nostalgic.
“I’m like everyone else. If you can’t have fun watching these guys play football …” Collinsworth says. “They’ve got a certain energy. What’s the big deal? When I came in, I didn’t know. We were the top seed. We won the first two games at home and went to the Super Bowl. I did it in my first year. Doesn’t everybody? I get the same kind of feel with this bunch. ‘OK, we’ve won a couple of games and we’re at the Super Bowl at UCLA. We beat them in school, too, so we’ll keep winning.’ I mean, that’s just how it seems. They’re young and they’re just playing.”
That’s why Collinsworth thinks these Bengals have repeated history and taken Cincinnati by storm. No one was expecting it.