Former Bengals, Bucs coach Sam Wyche dies at age 74
January 2, 2020
Sam Wyche, the former Bengals quarterback and coach, passed away Tuesday after a brief battle with recurring melanoma at the age of 74, the team announced in a statement.
"Sam was a wonderful guy. We got to know him as both a player and a coach," Bengals president Mike Brown said. "As our coach, he had great success and took us to the Super Bowl. He was friends with everyone here, both during his tenure as head coach and afterwards. We not only liked him, we admired him as a man. He had a great generosity of spirit and lived his life trying to help others. We express our condolences to Jane and his children Zak and Kerry."
Wyche spent three seasons playing in Cincinnati before heading to the Redskins, then Lions and Cardinals, retiring after the 1976 season. After winning a Super Bowl as an assistant on the 49ers' coaching staff, Wyche returned to the Bengals in 1984 and led them to their second Super Bowl appearance at the end of the 1988 season.
Wyche's coaching career also included four years as the Buccaneers' head coach (1992-95), a two-year stint as the Bills quarterbacks coach (2004-05) and two different tenures at Pickens High School in South Carolina, most recently serving as the school's offensive coordinator. But Wyche is mostly remembered for his eight seasons as Bengals coach that saw him lead the team to 64 wins and an AFC championship in 1988. That season, Cincinnati won a franchise-record 12 regular-season games before defeating Seattle and Buffalo en route to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIII.
While decidedly underdogs, Wyche's Bengals held a 16-13 late in Super Bowl XXIII before Joe Montana, Wyche's quarterback during his time in San Francisco earlier in the decade, engineered a 92-yard drive that culminated with his 10-yard pass to John Taylor with 39 seconds remaining.
Beyond his coaching accomplishments, Wyche is also remembered for his colorful personality in an age where coaches were just beginning to show emotion. He was also one of the first coaches to agreed to be "mic'd up by NFL Films" during a Super Bowl, with his in-game commentary helping add to the lore of one of the greatest Super Bowls of all-time.
The following rant Wyche made during a Bengals home game became an instant classic.