The Bengals have a number of fans residing outside of the Cincinnati area. This week, we spoke with one such fan, Brandon Phillips from Southern California.
Cincy Jungle: How did you become a Bengals' fan?
Brandon Phillips: My family is from Cincinnati, I have tons of aunts and uncles and cousins there. As a kid, I grew up in Southern California, but went to Ohio during the summers with my brother to visit my dad. As an adult, I've visited a handful of times, always catching a Bengals game while I was there.
CJ: What's your favorite memory of the Bengals?
BP: I have so many memories of the Bengals! I've been a lifelong fan... I think orange runs through my veins! As far as my favorite memories, the 1988 Super Bowl comes to mind! I had a black Bengals jacket with the orange tiger stripes on the sleeves (my mom bought me it for Christmas), I remember putting the jacket around the TV and watching with excitement as my Bengals were winning, only to be bummed when they lost with only handful of seconds left in the game. Another story that comes to mind was the 1990 AFC Divisional game in Los Angeles; I was there at that game! That was the game that Bo Jackson got hurt and never played again (he did go on to play baseball, but never played football again). I was a teenager at the time and had "Bengals" shaved into the back of my head, I remember people being mean to me...I was kind of scary! Unfortunately, a lot of my memories of the Bengals as a kid or teenager involve a lot of losing! I've always been a fan though, through the good time and the bad.
CJ: Who are your favorite players?
BP: My favorite Bengals player of all time is James Brooks. I loved the way he ran, he was just so fun to watch. When the Bengals drafted Ickey Woods out of UNLV, that made it even better. Those to were amazing, too bad Brooks and Woods didn't last very long...they were awesome! I've always loved the Bengals greats, Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Anthony Munoz...but James Brooks has always been my favorite.
CJ: Is there any story behind the license plate? Any more plans to dress up the Wrangler to show off your Bengals pride?
BP: I had to renew my Arizona registration one year (many years ago) and out of the blue, I decided to look to see if I could get a personalized Bengals plate; I was excited to see (but not really surprised) that it was available. I've had that Bengals plate on many cars, probably 5 or 6 over the years...I get lots of comments on it, some good...some not so good (usually from Steelers fans). As far as my Wrangler goes, when my wife gave me the okay to buy one, I knew that when I found the orange one, it was a sign! I just got it a couple of months ago, but yes, I want to repaint it a better orange and I want to do the bumper with tiger stripes!
CJ: Do you have a favorite piece of memorabilia?
BP: I have so much memorabilia, you name it and I probably have it. I have a Bengals cheerleader outfit that I dressed my daughter in when she was a baby, that's probably my favorite. I also have an Ickey Woods throwback jersey, I break that out usually once or twice a year on sports days at work.
CJ: If you could send a message to the team what would it be?
BP: Keep on plugging along. We've been drafting great, it's so important to build from within, keep up the good drafts and good things will continue to come. It's so fun and exciting these days to be a Bengals fan, one of these days (hopefully this year), we'll be able to bring a championship to the Brown family and to all the Bengals fans worldwide! Marvin Lewis has done a great job over the years, I would love for him to be a lifelong Bengal...either on the sidelines like he is now, or in our front office.
My wife (I just got married this past new years) comes from a long line of Steelers fans, it's tough sometimes but the Bengals/Steelers games always make for a good party with good food and awesome family. You can count on a good gathering around my 73' TV as the Bengals and Steelers battle it out.
Be sure to wish Brandon a Happy Anniversary and a Who Dey!!