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Commentary: 5 reasons St. Louis football fans should root for the Bengals in the Super Bowl

Rooting against the Rams is obvious enough for jilted St. Louis football fans. But just in case you need more reasons, here's why you should pull for the Bengals.

ST. LOUIS — Outside of my misguided 5 On Your Side colleague Ahmad Hicks who still loves his Rams, it's pretty safe to say St. Louis will be tuning in on Super Bowl Sunday with the hopes of seeing a Los Angeles loss.

(Don't worry Ahmad, we still like you. But you're wrong.)

And yeah, it's pretty obvious why St. Louis would rather see a Bengals championship than a Rams one.

But, for those hoping to have some actual ammunition for either piling it on the Rams or looking reasons to support the Bengals, I thought I'd come up with a nice little cheat sheet for you to pull out at your Super Bowl party.

So, here's why St. Louis should fully embrace the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

1: They're not the Rams

Time to get the obvious one out of the way right off the bat. And I could give you about 790 million reasons why St. Louis doesn't want to see a Rams championship.

St. Louis was going to root for whomever the Rams were facing. Even the contingent in town that may be annoyed by the Chiefs likely would have embraced them instead of the Rams.

Ever since Rams owner Stan Kroenke skipped town with our team, we've rooted against them.

We already had to begrudgingly root for Tom Brady and the Patriots to beat them in Super Bowl LIII, so the Bengals are a considerably easier pill to swallow.

Imagine if the Rams had actually tried to field a winning team in their last decade in St. Louis like they have in Los Angeles? Our town would have lost its mind with excitement.

Yeah the lawsuit is over and we ended up with $790 million for the relocation shenanigans, but we still don't have a team. This Super Bowl run was supposed to be happening here.

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The rest of the NFL fanbases around the country can tell us to "get over it" as much as they want. It isn't going to happen.

The thought of watching Stan Kroenke stepping up to accept the Lombardi Trophy in his monstrosity of an overpriced stadium while the national media fawns over the moment makes me want to vomit.

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2: Joe Burrow is the absolute real deal

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has become one of the most popular players in football over the course of the last year. 

Now, he's attempting to become just the third starting quarterback in football history to win a national title, and a Super Bowl title (Joe Namath and Joe Montana are the others). No quarterback has ever won a National Championship, Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl, so he'd be the first to do that.

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He's the hometown Ohio kid leading his team places they haven't been in a generation.

He's one of the most efficient and exciting quarterbacks in the league.

He shows up to games with swagger beyond his years.

He has quotes like this about wearing real diamonds.

It's not hard to like this dude. And he's on one of the most unbelievable hot streaks we've ever seen.

In the span of just three years he:

  • Won a National Championship
  • Won a Heisman Trophy
  • Tore his ACL and MCL in his rookie year
  • Led his team to the Super Bowl

And if you need any more reasons to love Joe Burrow, just ask satisfied fantasy owner and 5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano.

3: Everyone loves an underdog

If you're like me, you were probably going to root for the underdog no matter the Super Bowl matchup. It's almost always a better story.

At the beginning of the season, the Bengals were 125-1 to win the Super Bowl. Those were the same odds as the New York Jets, who finished tied for the second-worst record in the league at 4-13.

The Bengals are still the underdogs, with the Rams opening on the betting lines as a 4-point favorite.

The Rams were supposed to be here at the end. They assembled a team full of stars, sparing no expense or draft pick to go all in. It's no surprise they're one of the last two teams standing.

The Bengals were not supposed to be here. Sure there was excitement with the return of Joe Burrow, but picking the Bengals to reach the Super Bowl in the preseason would have garnered more than a few chuckles.

4: It's no "Greatest Show on Turf", but the talent on Cincinnati's offense is a lot of fun

We know what a fun offense looks like in St. Louis. The "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams gave us some of the best offensive play in NFL history.

No, these Bengals don't have Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Kurt Warner on the roster, but they do have some fun players.

Joe Burrow's supporting cast on offense is one of the main reasons the Bengals are in the Super Bowl.

It's not an over-exaggeration to call Burrow's LSU-teammate-turned-Cincinnati-teammate receiver Ja'Marr Chase one of the most exciting players in football. The rookie caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. He has game-breaking speed and makes plays that send your jaw to the floor.

Chase isn't the only weapon, though.

Running back Joe Mixon, receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and tight end C.J. Uzomah (who will hopefully be healthy for the Super Bowl) make for a potent group.

Don't discount defensive end Trey Hendrickson to bring some excitement on the other end. He had 14 sacks this past season.

5: Ending a franchise-long title drought is something St. Louis can appreciate

As someone who saw the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup in person (pardon the humble brag), I have a special place in my heart for downtrodden teams finally winning the big one. It's why I was rooting hard for a Bills/Bengals AFC title game so we were assured one of those teams would have a shot at ending years of heartbreak.

The Bengals franchise debuted in 1968, just one year after the Blues took the ice for the first time in St. Louis. And overall, the Blues have actually had much more success than the Bengals.

Cincinnati made it to one Super Bowl in 1981, falling to the San Francisco 49ers 20-16. They made the playoffs six out of seven years from 2009 to 2015 but lost in the first round each time.

There's a lot of heartbreak there that we can relate to in St. Louis.

Like we've seen in recent years with the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks, 2020 Kansas City Chiefs, 2019 Toronto Raptors, 2019 St. Louis Blues, 2019 Washington Nationals, 2018 Washington Capitals, 2018 Philadelphia Eagles and 2016 Chicago Cubs, there have been a lot of demons expelled lately by long-tortured fanbases.

Here's hoping the Bengals can join that list.

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