Former Bengals’ DB from Bartow Still Thinks About One Super Bowl Play

By RICK BROWN, THE LEDGER

Although the play took place more than 28 years ago, former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley recalls the play as if it happened just a few minutes earlier.

Although the play took place more than 28 years ago, former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley recalls the play as if it happened just a few minutes earlier.

Playing against San Francisco in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., the first Super Bowl for both teams, it was San Francisco’s first possession in the first quarter.

“(San Francisco quarterback Joe) Montana threw an out,” Riley recalled. “I read it perfectly. I probably could have intercepted the pass and scored but I was hesitant. I knocked the ball down but I laid back. I still see it. I was afraid if I didn’t get it, it could have been a touchdown the other way. I still think about that play.”

Riley wonders if he would have made the pick-6 (interception and returned it for a touchdown) if that would have made a difference in the game. The 49ers won, 26-21.

“We had been to the playoffs before but that was our first time there,” he said. “We were happy to be there. But we made some mistakes we normally didn’t make. Then, we had first-and-goal from the 1 and we didn’t score and we had big Pete Johnson. That hurt us.”

Still, it was an experience Riley said he will never forget.

“It’s a feeling I can’t describe,” he said. “Diana Ross singing the National Anthem. It was great. The only bad thing was the weather. They had an ice storm up there but the atmosphere was good.”

Riley, a graduate of Union Academy in Bartow, is one of 10 Polk County players to have experienced playing in the Super Bowl. It came in the 14th of a 15-year career that saw Riley grab 65 interceptions, the most of any player not currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He led the AFC in interceptions and was an All Pro in his career, but he rates going to the Super Bowl among his greatest accomplishments as a player.

“It would have been even better if we had won,” he said. “I look back on it and we had a good football team that year. It was probably one of the greatest Bengals teams of all time. (Quarterback) Kenny Anderson had perhaps his best year. Cris Collingsworth, I think, was a rookie. Getting to the Super Bowl was a great experience. When I watch it now, it never is the same as playing in it.”

Source:

By RICK BROWNTHE LEDGER

The Ledger