Jim Borgman’s ‘Next’ cartoon resurfaces amid Bengals run

After the Bengals lifted the ultimate burden weighing on the shoulders of the organization’s fanbase – a playoff-win drought older than Joe Burrow himself – the city of Cincinnati erupted.

Bars were full. Streets painted in orange and black. And a vibrant buzz reminiscent only of prior postseason runs followed.

Fans took to social media to encapsulate the moment and reflect on the one triumph that succeeded many defeats over the past 31 years. And in every virtual corner of Bengals fandom, one familiar image resurfaced online to remind fans that there would be more to come from their favorite team. That there would be a “next” game.

train inquire editorial cartoonist Jim Borgman’s “Next” cartoon, which became a symbol of the Bengals’ 1988-1989 run to the Super Bowl, is that image, and it has returned online as the current team seeks another crack at championship glory.

After the Bengals defeated the Raiders 26-19 in the wild card round of the playoffs on Jan. 16, scores of fans shared Borgman’s cartoon on Facebook, Twitterand instagram.

“Jim Borgman drew this in the fall of ’88. I had it on a sweatshirt that I wore during the ’89 playoffs and Super Bowl,” wrote Facebook user Barb Nolan Hogan. “It was my first year living in Cincinnati, and first cheering for the Bengals.”

“I’ve always loved this,” wrote user Kris Payler Staverman.

‘Bring on the next opponent’

The cartoon, which features a battle-ready Bengal tiger nestled near midfield of a football stadium, was first published in The Enquirer on Oct. 6, 1988, the Thursday before a regular-season matchup against the New York Jets.

More:Jim Borgman shares his story of winning the Pulitzer Prize

More:Kevin Necessary and Jim Borgman talk Cincinnati, cartoons and careers.

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