Trip to bubble pre-planned as Bengals prep for Super Bowl

Bad weather made Thursday a good time for the Cincinnati Bengals to move preparations for Super Bowl LVI indoors, but coach Zac Taylor said it was already planned in advance for them to go to the University of Cincinnati’s practice bubble anyway.

The Bengals will be playing the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium, a fixed-roof facility in Los Angeles.

While the Rams have the luxury of staying home with their usual routine, the Bengals are preparing in the best way possible to simulate the game environment in Cincinnati this week.

“This is the first time in a long time we’ve been playing inside or in warm weather, so this decision was made a long time ago,” Taylor said Thursday. “On top of it, we’re having the worst weather we’ve had from the ice standpoint, from a rain standpoint, snow, so that’s obviously helpful as well. But we made this decision long before we knew that was gonna be a problem.”

The Bengals have used UC’s bubble before when there was bad weather, but they have made due at Paul Brown Stadium when conditions have been less than ideal this season. There hasn’t been much snow to deal with until now. The Bengals also will be at UC on Friday.

The team will be traveling to L.A. on Tuesday and keeping its game-week routine as close to normal as possible, outside of extra media engagements and Super Bowl Week obligations. This week is all about putting in the game plan.

“It is important as a coaching staff that we’re putting our plan in this week, and then if you’ve got to tweak anything next week, that’s great,” Taylor said. “I think our staff has done a great job of putting pressure on themselves to get it all done so that our players feel very confident as we get through this week and get on the plane and start to travel, that they feel confident about what we’re doing.”

Taylor said he wants the players to enjoy the experience of making the Super Bowl, but they understand how important it is to stay focused on the game.

The Bengals already had film broken down on the Rams and were going over the logistics part of things Monday, though the first practice day of the week wasn’t until Thursday.

“That’s our best bet, is to get everybody to focus in on how important winning this game is and avoid the distractions that come with it because it’s easy to fall into that trap,” Taylor said. “But being a Super Bowl champion, you carry that for a lifetime. Enjoying the Super Bowl process is a 10-day enjoyment factor. We want something much longer than that. Again, just trying to get that to resonate with the guys. Again, we’re here for a reason. We’re here because we have a very disciplined, mature team that cares about winning. That’s what has gotten us here. I trust that’s what’s going to carry us into Sunday and that we’ll be able to put our best performance forward.”

Getting ready for national TV

The Bengals needed an entire team photo shoot with NBC this week because they weren’t on Sunday Night Football this season, and there are so many new players since they last appeared on NBC for a game.

Wide receiver Tyler Boyd said the recognition players are getting this week and next is well-earned.

“We don’t usually get national televised games week in and out,” Boyd said. “We always get the 1 p.m. games. We have to prove ourselves to get on the big stage and that’s what we’ve done. At the end of the day, it’s all fun and dandy but we’re still worried about what we have to do.”

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