Bengals draw 30,000 fans for Super Bowl pep rally

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Former, current players rev up crowd ahead of Sunday’s game vs. Rams

CINCINNATI — Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson remembered hearing an interview with coach Zac Taylor about four weeks ago when he was asked if the players needed to turn it up a notch going into the playoffs.

As Anderson recalled to a crowd of about 30,000 fans at Paul Brown Stadium on Monday night, Taylor responded, “No. They’ve been turning it up a notch all year.” But to that, Anderson added his own sentiment: “This team has found a way to win all year, and they will win one more time.”

Anderson was one of the guest speakers at the Bengals’ Super Bowl LVI Opening Night Fan Rally, revving up the crowd as they celebrated the team’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. The team hosted the rally to let fans show their support before the Bengals head to Los Angeles to continue their preparations for the L.A. Rams on the campus of UCLA ahead of Sunday’s championship game at SoFi Stadium.

ExplorePHOTOS: Fans cheer on Bengals at Super Bowl fan rally at Paul Brown Stadium

The event was emceed by super fan Bengal Jim Foster and local comedian Gary Owen and began with former players like Anderson, Max Montoya, David Fulcher, Tim Krumrie and Willie Anderson taking the stage to answer some questions. All the Bengals legends had been a part of the organization’s past Super Bowl trips in 1981 or 1988.

On the video board, fans were treated to NFL Network pre-recorded virtual interviews with Joe Burrow and L.A. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and with Taylor and Rams coach Sean McVay.

NFL Network host Rich Eisen asked Burrow what it’s like around Cincinnati right now, to which he described it as “chaos.”

“Everyone is really excited about what we’re doing,” Burrow said in the interview. “… These fans have deserved something like this for a long time. I’m excited to help give them something like this.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The fans at the stadium erupted at Burrow’s response. He drew a similar roar from the crowd when he later was introduced along with the starters like on a normal gameday as the players and coaches, dressed in all-white Bengals’ Super Bowl LVI warmup suits, came onto the field for the final 15 minutes of the hourlong rally.

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“I don’t know who said there’s nothing to do in Cincinnati, but this sure looks like something to do in Cincinnati,” Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin said, after introducing himself as the first team rep to take the mic.

Running back Joe Mixon started the “Who Dey” chant, and long-time Bengals punter and Cincinnati native Kevin Huber teared up trying to describe what it’s like for him finally getting to a Super Bowl.

Defensive end Sam Hubbard told the crowd the team is going to L.A. “with only one thing (in mind) and it’s not second place.”

Taylor called this a “special team playing for a special group of fans in a special city,” and Burrow drew a massive “M-V-P” chant as he was wrapping up his short speech, in which he said he was “honored to be the quarterback for such a great organization.”

Tight end C.J. Uzomah, who sprained his MCL in the AFC Championship win at Kansas City, took off his knee brace and threw it off the stage, WWE style, saying, “We love you all. This is amazing.” He then capped the night jogging a lap around the entire stadium, high-fiving fans.

Huber summed it all up best, though, a few minutes earlier.

“Hopefully we’ll be back next week for the after party,” Huber said.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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