Former Cincinnati Bengals Executive Bill Tobin Passes Away Near Anniversary of Most Famous Moment

Longtime NFL executive Bill Tobin was the father of Cincinnati Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin.

CINCINNATI – Longtime Cincinnati Bengals player personnel executive Bill Tobin passed away Thursday evening, the team announced this morning.

Tobin, 83, joined the Bengals in 2003 and worked with the team and alongside his son, director of player personnel Duke Tobin, until 2022, when he ended a storied career that also included stints as the general manager of the Chicago Bears from 1987-92, general manager of the Indianapolis Colts from 94-96, and director of player personnel for the Detroit Lions from 2001-02.

Longtime Bengals Executive Bill Tobin Passes Away

It was during his first season with the Colts when Tobin had the moment many fans remember him for, when he proclaimed, “Who in the hell is Mel Kiper anyway?” during an interview with ESPN.

Kiper, who had been covering the NFL Draft for ESPN for 10 years, criticized Tobin and the Colts for taking Trev Albert instead of quarterback Trent Dilfer.

After the infamous statement on the air, Tobin called a press conference to further rant about Kiper.

Wednesday would have been the 30-year anniversary of Tobin’s most famous quote.

Duke Tobin was scheduled to hold his pre-draft press conference Friday, but the team canceled that in wake of Bill’s passing.

Born in Burlington Junction, Mo., in 1941, Bill Tobin went on to play running back at the University of Missouri. He was a 14th-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1963 and ended up playing 10 games for the Houston Oilers that season, his only in the NFL as a player.

Bill Tobin worked in the Bears’ player personnel department before becoming the GM in 1987, helping build the roster for the 1985 team that went 18-1 and won Super Bowl 20.

While with Chicago, Bill Tobin worked with brother, Vince, who replaced Buddy Ryan as the defensive coordinator.

When Tobin took the job in Indianapolis, he hired Vince again as defensive coordinator. Vince passed away last July at the age of 79.

Despite working for the Colts for just three seasons, Bill Tobin drafted multiple Hall of Famers in Marshall Faulk (one round after the infamous Alberts pick and Kiper rant) and Marvin Harrison (1996).

“He was a true NFL success story,” Bengals President Mike Brown said in a press release. “He was a good person, and I considered him a good friend. With Bill, I respected everything he said. I just took it as a given. He had an eye for players and what they would develop into. If he said the guy was a good player, then he was a good player; that’s all I would need to know. We will miss him.”

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