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Will this Super Bowl bring another ‘oh, my’ moment?

Stanford Jennings '84 runs the ball during his famous 93-yard kickoff return during Super Bowl XXIII.

Billy Joel sang the national anthem. A 30-second commercial cost $675,000. And an Elvis impersonator split the halftime show with a group of dancers from South Florida who performed something called “Be Bop Bamboozled.”

It was 1989, Super Bowl XXIII. And it was the last time the Cincinnati Bengals competed in the biggest athletics event in the country. The Bengals will return more than 30 years later for Super Bowl LVI to play the Los Angeles Rams on February 13 in Los Angeles.

The Jennings family, from left: son, Jamie, daughter, Kelsey ’11, and wife, Kathy. / Sam Greene, The Cincinnati Enquirer

It was that last Super Bowl on January 22, 1989, that Furman alumnus Stanford Jennings ’84 delivered his “oh, my” moment, a stunning 93-yard kickoff return against the San Francisco 49ers that prompted the awed utterance from NBC Sports announcer Dick Enberg. The day’s events came with added emotion for Jennings because his daughter, Kelsey ’11, had been born just one day before the game.

Another Furman alumnus helped guide Cincinnati to the Super Bowl. The Bengals head coach at the time was Sam Wyche ’66, who passed away in 2020.

Furman Trustee Emeritus Stanford Jennings ’84

The Jennings household has a variety of mementos from Super Bowl XXIII – newspaper articles, photos of the kickoff return staged in sequence and even the official football of Super Bowl XXIII, undisturbed inside its Wilson box. And every year, Stanford and Kelsey watch videos of his kickoff return.

There is one thing, however, said Jennings, who is an emeritus member of the Furman Board of Trustees.

“It’s the thing that still sticks with me, that sticks with all of us (on the team),” he recalled with a laugh in an interview with Furman magazine in 2019. “As great as it was, it would be a lot better had we won the game.”


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