Mike Hilton: Bengals Are Looking for 'the Respect We Deserve' After Super Bowl Run

Adam WellsMay 3, 2022

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 22: Cornerback Mike Hilton #21 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after intercepting a third quarter pass against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Nissan Stadium on January 22, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton still thinks too many people doubt the team after it reached the Super Bowl last season. 

Speaking to reporters as the Bengals begin their voluntary offseason workouts, Hilton said they are "just trying to get the respect we deserve" because people want to doubt them because of the franchise's long history of disappointment. 

In a 2021 season full of surprises, the Bengals' run to the Super Bowl may have been the biggest stunner of them all.

There were some indications during Joe Burrow's rookie season that he had the potential to be a franchise quarterback. He threw for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games before a gruesome knee injury ended his 2020 campaign prematurely. 

Wins were still hard to come by for the team two years ago, as it finished 4-11-1 overall—its fifth consecutive losing season. 

Getting Burrow back and making some key offseason additions, including drafting Ja'Marr Chase and signing Trey Hendrickson in free agency, made a huge difference for Cincinnati's fortunes. 

The Bengals won the AFC North for the first time since 2015. Their victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in the wild-card round was the franchise's first playoff victory since Jan. 6, 1991. They also knocked off the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season. 

Cincinnati led the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams for virtually the entire second half. Cooper Kupp's one-yard touchdown catch with 1:25 remaining proved to be the difference in the Rams' 23-20 victory. 

Despite being the reigning AFC champions and spending most of their offseason resources to rebuild a leaky offensive line, DraftKings is currently giving the Bengals the 11th-best odds (+1800, bet $100 to win $1,800) to win Super Bowl 57. 

History doesn't bode well for the Bengals to get over the hump in 2022. There have only been three teams in NFL history to win a Super Bowl one year after losing it. The New England Patriots were the most recent team to day it when they defeated the Rams in Super Bowl LIII one year after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.