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Spook-tacular history of NFL Halloween games

This year, the Cincinnati Bengals will face the Cleveland Browns for Monday Night Football Oct. 31. Photo courtesy of RMTip21/Openverse.

Football is no stranger to Halloween matchups with the earliest game dating back to the beginning of the National Football League. Halloween games are the place where players show up and show out. For this year’s Halloween matchup, we have the Cincinnati Bengals taking a short trip to Ohio to battle the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North division game for Monday Night Football. 

 In a 1988 game, the Denver Broncos traveled to Indianapolis to battle the Indianapolis Colts. Former Colts running back Eric Dickerson gave the Broncos “pumpkin” to talk about by recording his first four-touchdown game in his career. That day, Dickerson scored the most points on Halloween in NFL history.  

Before Drew Brees was the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, he was the quarterback for the San Diego Chargers. During the game against the Oakland Raiders, Brees had a stat packed game where he completed 22-of-25 passes for 285 yards along with five touchdowns. Brees achieved a passer rating of 153.1, according to a 2017 article by Fox Sports. Brees was only 5.2 points away from a perfect passer rating. 

The Bengals are no strangers to Halloween games. The last time the Bengals played on Halloween was in 2013 against the Miami Dolphins in an overtime nail-biter. The Dolphins were able to take the lead in the fourth quarter after an interception, but two touchdowns by the Bengals allowed them to bring the deficit down. Each team completed field goals to tie the game and send it to overtime. During overtime, former Dolphins safety, Cameron Wake, sealed the game for the Dolphins with a safety when he sacked former Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, in his own endzone.  

For the Browns, the last Halloween game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 where the final score was 10-15. Many of the Browns players showed up in costume, including defensive end Myles Garrett who dressed up as the Grim Reaper with the names of every quarterback that he had sacked displayed on the cape. Fans also displayed Halloween spirit by showing up to the stadium in costume. It was a back-and-forth fight between the two, but in the end the Steelers prevailed. 

Now the Bengals and the Browns will be going head-to-head Oct. 31 for week eight of the season to see who the “Pumpkin King” will be.  

The Browns will continue to be led by Jacoby Brissett, who currently has a quarterback rating (QBR) of 65.9 (sixth) with a completion percentage of 64.  

The Bengals will be led by Joe Burrow, who has a QBR of 46.4 (19th) with a completion percentage of 64.9.  

The Bengals offensive line will need to be on high alert to keep Burrow from getting sacked as they are facing one of the top defense in the NFL led by Garrett. With the likes of wide receivers Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, tight end Hayden Hurst, and running back Joe Mixon, the Browns defense will need to be on their A-game.  

According to ESPN, the percentage the Bengals have of beating the Browns is 49.7, while the Browns have a percentage of 49.6. That is only 0.1 percent difference, so it is anybody’s game. 

It will be exciting to see both the fans and the players in Halloween costumes and outfits, especially football fashion icon Burrow. Trick or treat yourself to the Halloween edition of Monday Night Football at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, on ESPN. 

All stats for the Bengals and Browns courtesy of ESPN, 

Katrina Villarreal is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
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Spook-tacular history of NFL Halloween games