KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for their third-ever Super Bowl berth, their first since 1988, and in the way are the Kansas City Chiefs.
At the helm of the Bengals is head coach Zac Taylor who spent part of his collegiate career in El Dorado, Kansas with the Butler Community College Grizzlies.
Taylor joined the Grizzlies in the 2004 season and led the program to a Region VI title and only lost one game. He earned All-American honors in the National Junior College Athletic Association after throwing for 2,682 yards and 27 touchdowns.
He went on to play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and won Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2006.
Taylor is the first Butler alum to earn the title of head coach in the NFL.
“Butler has had some many great student athletes come through our programs and move onto the next level but to see what Zac has been able to accomplish is just amazing,” Tyler Nordman, Associate Athletic Director at Butler Community College, said. “We couldn’t be more proud of Zac and seeing the success he is having in the National Football League isn’t surprising to us knowing the Zac Taylor that was here in 2004.
His coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M and he eventually made the jump and became the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2015.
A year later, he was the offensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats before making it back to the NFL as an assistant for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.
The Bengals called for Taylor’s services in 2019.
His first year, Cincinnati won two games and had the worst record in the NFL. A blessing in disguise as with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected quarterback Joe Burrow.
Burrow made an immediate impact that season, but a season ending injury led to a 4-11-1 record.
One season and a few offseason moves later, the Bengals finished the 2021 regular season with a 10-7 record and are one game away from the Super Bowl.
“Knowing that he sat in the same seat our current athletes sit in today is very encouraging and gives our students a drive knowing, if they work hard and want it bad enough, they can be the next Zac Taylor,” Nordman said.
The former Grizzlies quarterback now leads Burrow and the Bengals into Arrowhead Stadium, 2.5 hours away from his old stomping grounds, with a Super Bowl LVI spot on the line.