Super Bowl LVIII (58) is here, and some of us Cincinnati Bengals fans are still struggling with who we should root for this evening. Others are going to be happy with the food and libations and really don’t care.
But for those who do care, I have a couple of facts that might help you make up your mind.
First off, there is only one former Bengal on a Super Bowl roster this year, and that is quarterback Brandon Allen, who is currently listed as a third-stringer behind Brock Purdy and former New York Jet/Carolina Panther Sam Darnold.
Although Allen was primarily a backup during his three-year tenure in Cincinnati, he did have to step into a starter’s role after Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending injury in the fall of 2020. While Allen mostly struggled, they did put up a 371-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 37-31 victory over the Houston Texans.
Allen also started the 2021 season finale against the Cleveland Browns, where he passed for 136 yards and a touchdown in a 21-16 loss.
Or, you might choose to stay loyal to the AFC. The Bengals won the AFC Championship game in 2021 en route to their third Super Bowl appearance. Cincinnati made it to the AFC Championship game again in 2022 before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the last five years and have a pair of Lombardi Trophies to show for it.
My take on the whole thing is that maybe we should throw our support behind the San Francisco 49ers. That’s really hard to say, considering the fact that it was the 49ers who denied Cincinnati Super Bowl glory on the Bengals’ first two trips to the Super Bowl.
But I look at it this way. Kansas City beat the Bengals this year by a 25-17 count in a game that cost Cincinnati a trip to the playoffs. So there’s that.
Most importantly, though, the Bengals, with a healthy Joe Burrow at the helm, crushed the 49ers, 31-17, earlier this season. So, if San Francisco wins Super Bowl LVIII, Cincinnati can brag that it beat the Super Bowl champs on their home field. And they may have done so again, if only it had the chance.
If only Burrow had stayed healthy. If only the Bengals had a top-10 offensive line.