Cincinnati Bengals out to prove Super Bowl run was no fluke

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton says team deserve more respect as they look to build on their surprising Super Bowl appearance last season.

The Cincinnati Bengals have a general theme heading into the new season - and that's to prove last year's Super Bowl run was no fluke.

Under head coach Zak Taylor and second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals surprised the entire NFL with a fairytale run to the Super Bowl, where they only narrowly lost out to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals made all kinds of history, making the playoffs for the first time since 2015, winning a playoff game for the first time since 1991, winning a playoff game on the road for the first time ever - and making their first Super Bowl since 1989.

Cincy did it the hard way too, beating the Titans in Tennessee before dethroning Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs in Kansas City to win the AFC Championship.

Despite all this, though, the Bengals are far from favourites to get back to the Super Bowl, with as many as 10 teams above them in the betting - while some even favour the Cleveland Browns to win their division.

Bengals no flash in the pan

Mike Hilton #21 during the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals game

Being dismissed as almost a one-hit wonder may help Cincy in giving them something to prove again, and cornerback Mike Hilton is certainly out to prove the critics wrong.

"When people call it a fluke, we just smile and take it on," said Hilton. "We're ready to go out there and prove it again."

Hilton also admitted that the team's best season in over 30 years being described as a flash in the pan will definitely put a chip on their shoulder.

"Absolutely, because people still didn't believe it throughout the whole playoff run. They were saying we were lucky and this and that."

Hilton insists they are in the process of turning the entire team's fortunes around, and knows why they're being dismissed after years of mediocrity.

"Because it's the Bengals - point-blank, period," Hilton said. "When you think of the Bengals, you're like, 'Oh, the Bengals,' you know?

"But now, with this group of guys that we have and the coaches that we have, we're really turning this organization around. And we're just trying to get the respect we deserve."

Bengals want to build on momentum

Cincinnati Bengals

Head coach Taylor believes he's creating a new era in Cincinnati, and the team have looked to address their main area of need by bolstering their offensive line.

Burrow was battered in the Super Bowl so protecting their star QB became priority number one, to ensure he can continue to supply wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase after his stellar rookie year.

"We have to continue to build on the momentum we had last year," said Taylor as the team returned for their first offseason gathering.

"We built up to last year and we spoke about it here that we could see it coming, but we have got to keep building on that."

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