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The Cincinnati Bengals are a professional American football team based in Cincinnati. The Bengals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) North division. The club’s home games are held in downtown Cincinnati at Paycor Stadium. In 1967, the Bengals were founded when a group headed by Brown received franchise approval by the American Football League (AFL) on May 23, 1967, and they began play in the 1968 season. The Bengals, like the other former AFL teams, were assigned to the AFC following the merger. The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC championship in 1981, 1988, and 2021. After the first two conference championships, they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. The 1990s and the early 2000s were a period of great struggle. Following the 1990 season, the team went 14 years without posting a winning record, nor qualifying to play in the NFL playoffs. The team’s fortunes improved in the mid-2000s and they continued up until the mid-2010s, which saw them become more consistent postseason contenders, but they continued to struggle past the regular season. The turning point for the Cincinnati Bengals was during the 2021 season, when they won their first playoff game in 31 years and advanced to Super Bowl LVI, their first appearance in the Super Bowl in 33 years, where they lost to the Los Angeles Rams. The following season, they once again advanced to the AFC Championship Game, losing a close rematch to the Kansas City Chiefs.

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