© 2022 Cincinnati Public Radio
purple_waveback6.png
Connecting You to a World of Ideas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Sports

'I'm really proud of them': Bengals fans react to team falling short in Super Bowl LVI

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) kneels after the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. The Los Angeles Rams won 23-20. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez
/
AP
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) kneels after the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. The Los Angeles Rams won 23-20.

The Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday.

Just two seasons ago, the Bengals were the worst team in the NFL. This season, they came up just one game short of being the top team in the league.

Cincinnati's road to the Super Bowl was not an easy one. The Bengals won their first playoff game in over 30 years when they defeated the Las Vegas Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium in the AFC Wild Card. They then went on to defeat the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, the first road playoff win in franchise history. The following week, the Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC Championship.

Ahead of Sunday's game, Bengals' play-by-play announcer Dan Hoard told WVXU that Cincinnati was embracing its underdog status ahead of the big game.

"Tight end C.J. Uzomah famously said at the beginning of training camp at a fan gathering, 'Why not us?' That kind of became the rallying cry early and then at the end of the year, Joe Burrow flipped it and said, 'You know what? I don't like that anymore. We're no longer underdogs. We've proven we can beat anybody on our schedule, so let's change it from, 'Why not us?' to 'It is us.' "

The Rams were favored to win Super Bowl LVI. At the beginning of the season, the Bengals odds were 100 to 1.

Multiple Bengals picked up honors for their work during the regular season. Quarterback Joe Burrow was named AP Comeback Player of the Year after returning from tearing both his ACL and MCL to lead the league in completion percentage. Pro Bowl rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase was named PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year after making 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. Rookie kicker Evan McPherson was named to the PFWA All-Rookie special teams.

Along with Chase, defensive end Trey Hendrickson and running back Joe Mixon were voted to the Pro Bowl. Hendrickson arrived to Cincinnati as a free agent during the off-season and picked up 13 sacks this season. Mixon rushed for over 1,000 yards for the season.

A 'once in a lifetime experience' for fans

0213222057a.jpg
Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU
Bengals fans watch the Super Bowl at Fountain Square.

Bengals fans spent hours at watch parties across the Central Business District. At The Banks, fans partied all day long. Drew O'Brien of Mason, Beth Heimbuch of Glendale, and Elizabeth Steiner of Dayton were among them.

It was a long day, and it ended with disappointment. But for O'Brien, it was worth it. "It was fun. Something you have to do," he said. "It's a once in a lifetime experience, but who knows? They'll probably be back plenty of times in my lifetime — hopefully at least."

Heimbuch was holding back tears after the loss. "I'm just really proud right now. I'm also crying at the end because I've never seen the Bengals come this far. I'm really proud of them."

 Fans watch Super Bowl LVI at Towneplace Suites at 7th and Race.
Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU
Fans watch Super Bowl LVI at Towneplace Suites at 7th and Race.

Steiner says she comes from a family of long time Bengal fans, and she's eager for the future. "I feel good about them. Super proud of them this year. Awesome experience, a lot of fun, and I think they've got a lot of potential."

All three added "Who dey!"