His NFL draft day was some 31 years ago, but on this Friday April 29th, the former number three overall pick for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1980 will be on hand to announce the clubs second round pick in this year’s 2011 NFL Draft. “It’s a great honor. Plus I get a chance to do a couple of events with the league and visit some Boys & Girls Clubs and to get a chance to announce a second round pick for the Bengals is pretty exciting,” stated Anthony Munoz. “Maybe second round pick a quarterback and of course they have the fourth pick in the draft. You never know they’re just might be some trading going on,” offered the HOFer who chuckled at the anticipated response from the always vocal demonstrative New York football fan contingency of audience at Radio City.
Speaking of firsts and new beginnings, the 13 time Pro-Bowl lineman recalled their being a “lot of firsts and it was just fun to be a part of that” in discussing his second season with the Bengals which culminated in a trip to the Pontiac Dome for Super Bowl XVI verse the San Francisco 49ers. “It was almost like you had the teacher and the student kind of battling each other,” said Munoz when asked about Kenny Anderson and his offense going against the former Bengals assistant and father of the west coast offense now turned San Francisco 49ers Head Coach and Super Bowl Opponent. “We had that slow start in the first half … but that second half we finally got things rolling … of course [that third quarter goal line stance] was really the key to them winning that game,” recalled Munoz.
Perhaps if the “Bengalese” of Sam Wyche and Bruce Coslet had been in existence at the time during those four goal line attempts, they might have called “Anthony, 28 Bounce Pass” which led to the offensive tackle’s first career touchdown against the Cleveland Browns on December 2, 1984. “We were down in the end zone, ankle deep mud, I got up, Boomer rolled to his right and threw back to his left … [and] we made it work” a surprised Munoz explains.
Fast forward seven years and a 1988 AFC Championship victory of Bruce Smith and the Buffalo Bills, and number 78 and his Bengals find themselves as the AFC representative for Super Bowl XXIII once again facing Bill Wash, Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. “I was just thrilled to get back. Where going in at halftime saying again, ‘we’re right there, we’re not down 20 – zip … and we have a chance to win this second half if we just go out and do what we are capable of doing,” recalled Munoz. When asked about the final outcome the Bengals only Hall-of-Famer expressed, “It was total shock. I don’t care if you have Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas or Joe Namath, 92 yards in three minutes, that’s a tough feat to accomplish especially in a Super Bowl.”
As great as Anthony Munoz was on the field he continues the extension of that greatest now off the field via his Munoz Foundation. “My Foundation is actually celebrating ten years this month. It’s been a lot of fun through leadership, character and education. We do all programs. We have the chance to touch a lot of kids from elementary school to middle school . . . and then from our youth leadership seminars, for high school kids, and then 23 scholarships we give every year,” genuinely details Munoz.
But right now the former NFL great having experienced two prior similar situations, is clearly concerned with the foundation of the game threaten by a Lock-Out, “ I personally think it will be devastating. I hate to see it happen because it’s such a strong game right now, but because the fan base is so strong, I think [the lockout] will have a huge effect on us.” And as much as he loves the game, Munoz still says that despite all the accolades, “you would love that ring, but I guess I’m one that is just thankful for having the experience.” And yes Bengal fans we did discuss the experience of 59 below wind chill in The Freezer Bowl where you will hear the God’s honest truth on petroleum jelly and the garage door!