The 2002Cincinnati Bengals season was the team's 35th year in professional football and its 33rd with the National Football League. With a record of 2–14, however, they were the worst team in football in 2002. The Bengals struggles continued as they lost their first seven contests losing by average of 19 points in each game. The Bengals would finally garner their first victory Week 8 by soundly defeating the expansion Houston Texans on the road 38–3. The winning would not last long, however, as the Bengals lost their next six games to fall to 1–13.
In their final game at home, the Bengals would stun the New Orleans Saints 20–13 to earn their second win on the season, but there would be no saving the Bengals from setting a new franchise record for losses as they finished the season with a 27–9 loss to the Buffalo Bills on the road to finish with a league worst 2–14 record. This resulted in the Bengals owner Mike Brown firing head coach Dick LeBeau and replacing him with Baltimore's defensive cordinator Marvin Lewis.
By being the worst team in 2002, they earned the first pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, which they would use to draft Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Carson Palmer out of USC, and releasing embattled quarterback Akili Smith.