The Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams are set to meet in Super Bowl 56 this Sunday and when you think about it, it’s a weird combination of cities fighting for a championship. These are two cities that do not share many common traits, if any at all, and their sports teams have operated in completely different orbits. For that reason, their respective clubs have rarely clashed in playoff encounters.
In baseball, it’s only happened in the 1995 National League Divisional Series, where the Cincinnati Reds swept the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0. The Reds dominated the Dodgers in the series, taking Game 1 in a 7-2 victory, Game 2 in a 5-4 nailbiter, and Game 3 in a 10-1 thumping. Future MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin was excellent in the series, batting .385 at the plate and recording four stolen bases in the three-game series.
What makes this even more bizarre is the fact that its the only postseason battle between these two National League franchises, even taking into account the Dodgers’ pre-L.A. days in Brooklyn. Both of their respective histories date back the the 19th century and they’ve both produced legendary World Series teams. And yet that single 1995 encounter was it as far as playoff series go.
In college basketball, the Cincinnati Bearcats have had a few run ins with UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. They triumphed over the Bruins 72-70 in the Final Four in 1962, moving on to defeat Ohio State in the National Championship game. UCLA downed Cincinnati 105-101 in the second round of the 2002 tourney and defeated them 79-67 in the second round of the 2017 tourney.
In the NBA, the Oscar Robertson-led Cincinnati Royals came close to meeting the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1963 NBA Finals, but were denied by the Boston Celtics in the conference finals. And in college football, Cincinnati has participated in 21 bowl games but none of them have come against either UCLA or USC.
So savor this battle between the Rams and the Bengals. Chances are, we won’t see it again.