The Kavanaughs have a connection to the Bengals’ opponent in the Super Bowl.
Tom Kavanaugh was one of the first University of Dayton football players recruited by John McVay, the grandfather of Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. He was a starting center for the Flyers football team in the 1960s.
John Kavanaugh, the father of former UD basketball player Matt Kavanaugh, said he remembers how good the Bengals team was early on, winning the division in its third year in the league and making the playoffs several times in the 1970s. Then Cincinnati went from being good for a sizeable part of the 1980s only to fade away in the “lean years” of the 1990s and early 2000s.
“We’d go down to games ... at the end of the year to watch them get their third or fourth win,” John Kavanaugh said. “Those were the lean years, so now, to have them on top of the division and on the rise with a group of young players, that’s exciting because, we’ll take one year at a time, but it seems like they’re poised for success for a number of years going forward.”
John Kavanaugh said he celebrated the team winning the AFC Championship Game with high-fives between he and his wife and his oldest son, Alan, then contacted his out-of-town children via video chat. The next morning, he and his brother received confirmation that they were selected in the lottery to purchase tickets for Super Bowl LVI.
This won’t be the first playoff game John Kavanaugh has attended. He was at the “Freezer Bowl” in January 1982, when the Bengals beat the San Diego Chargers in a game with a kickoff temperature of nine degrees below zero and a minus 59 degree wind chill. He also attended the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills in January 1989.
John Kavanaugh’s son, Alan, was born nine days before the Bengals went to the Super Bowl that year against the San Francisco 49ers “so I had more important things to do,” he said.
“I didn’t know if I’d get my chance to see the Bengals in the Super Bowl again, so I’m really excited about it,” Kavanaugh said.
A BENGALS FAN’S FAVORITES
Name: John Kavanaugh
Resides in: Washington Twp.
Favorite Bengals moment (before this season): “The Freezer Bowl in 1982. I went with three of my brothers. That put (the Bengals) to their first Super Bowl. It was an epically cold day, but that was pretty cool.”
Favorite moment this season: “Watching them win the division against the Chiefs with my oldest son, Alan.”
Favorite Bengals player: “For years and years I always said (wide receiver) Isaac Curtis, but I think you can count me in the Joe Burrow column right now.”