Throwback – Cincinnati Bengals

Team Colors
Note: Names not official

The Bengals deserve way more credit than they receive for their role in the modern gridiron football.  These things began in Cincinnati before they were cool:

  • (Game Long) No Huddle Offense – No Huddle Offense is normally used near the end of the first half or the end of a game. The offense would huddle quickly (if at all), then the play is called out in coded words or phrases (“audibles”), and finally the snap is done with a “silent count” (the quarterback makes a gesture such as a toe step or an arm wave as a timer for the offense, rather than shouting a countdown).  Ideally this would tire out the defense and give them no time to settle on the quarterback’s snap count. Sam Wyche, head coach of the Bengals in 1988, is credited for using NHO throughout the game.
  • West Coast Offense – Football was almost exclusively a running offense before the West Coast Offense became popular. WCO has the offense make short yard gains or first downs with quick passes to multiple receivers. Ideally this would spread out the defense and improve the odds of a deep throw connecting. Bill Walsh was the Bengals assistant coach in the early 1970s. Bengals game footage during his time there showed a proto West Coast Offense. Bill went on to refine WCO  while coaching at Stanford University, and it thrived during his head coaching days with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s.
  • Zone Blitz – A response to the West Coast Offense. The play assigns defense players to specific players (or zones).  This extra movement is meant to confuse the offense about the defense’s block assignments and their own play positioning. Zone Blitz was rarely used in professional football until it was made over by Dick LeBaeau, Bengals defensive coordinator in the 1980s.

throwback-cibe1 throwback-cibe3 throwback-cibeplay
Colors Used
Note: Names not official
Black – Combination. Base layer is Inglot Cosmetics AMC Eyeliner in 78. Top layer is Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion.
Orange – Make Up For Ever Blush Powder in 18 (discontinued).
White – Nyx Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk.

Modern Nike uniforms use a more intense red-leaning orange than uniforms of the 1980s. The 1980s uniforms use a less saturated orange, which is the orange of division rivals the Cleveland Browns. Paul Brown owned the Browns uniform look. He took it with him when he created the Bengals in 1968.

The tiger stripes that were at the top of the shoulders of the 1980s uniforms extend down the sleeves of Nike uniforms, and take up more of the piping of the Nike pants.  Thankfully, the tiger stripped helmet stayed with the Nike uniform update. Bless the design team that came up with the tiger striped helmet. All of their other helmet designs are weak compared to the tiger stripes. I found it interesting that the 1980s Bengals uniforms have their tiger stripes vertical. I can understand the helmet, which resembles the way the stripes lay on a tiger’s back, but the shoulder stripes and pant piping are also vertical. On a tiger the shoulders and leg stripes are more horizontal, or at least follow the musculature of whoever is wearing the uniform. The 1980s uniform tiger stripes were also noticeably thinner than the Nike uniform stripes.

The stripes I created for this play need sharp lines for the cat eye I created. You can do this with a very sharp eye pencil if you need more control, or with liquid eyeliner for sharp lines. I went for gel liner for that compromise between sharp lines and control. Then I filled the tips of the lines with my liquid liner. This way to get some depth in your look.  Here’s a bonus shot of the tiger stripes on the side. They are noticeably thinner than they look from the front.


I lined my lower lids away from the natural lines to give an illusion of larger, rounder pupils. You can skip this step if you’re not comfortable with it.

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