CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals are headed to the Super Bowl after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24, and across the city, fans celebrated with screams, hugs and raucous “Who Dey!” chants.

What You Need To Know

  • The Bengals defeated the Chiefs, 27-24

  • The team is headed to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988

  • Fans said the team feels different under Joe Burrow’s leadership

  • Restaurant management said the team’s success is boosting business

  • These fans plan to celebrate by organizing a charity food drive

Cincinnati will play the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in LA. It’s the first AFC Championship title for the Bengals in 33 years and the history is not lost on fans who have followed the team through its tumultuous past few decades.

Surrounded by family and friends at Roosters restaurant in Western Hills, Kassi Lawhorn Glancy said the first emotion that came to mind as the Bengals win flashed across the screen was nostalgia.

“I was in junior high and I just bawled my eyes out,” Lawhorn Glancy said, referring to the team’s last trip to the Super Bowl.

Then came season after season of disappointment, yet Lawhorn Glancy continued to patiently cheer on her team through thick and thin.

“Touchdowns we celebrate and we wave the flag and high five everybody in our way,” she said.

This year, though, Lawhorn Glancy said things feel different. She said Joe Burrow’s leadership is shining, the defense is peaking at the right time and the young offense is hungry. 

“They’re ready this year,” she said. 

Lawhorn Glancy is a part of the tailgate group Bengal Bomb Squad, and while many members were able to make it out to Kansas City, those who couldn’t travel felt it was important to celebrate together. 

“I’m with my family,” Mario Cureton, another tailgater said. “This is my family at the end of the day so I’m happy just to be with them supporting them as they win this victory.”

Cureton was speechless at the end of the game as he hugged his fellow fans. 

“I mean, two years ago our team was 2-14, I mean, we lost our quarterback,” he said. “We got a lot of young players, but everybody’s selfless at the end of the day and we fought hard.”

The restaurants and bars hosting the home watch parties are cashing in as well.

Megan Zeiser, the general manager at Roosters, said between the boom in takeout orders for at-home parties and a crowded dining room on game day, the past few weekends have been some of her busiest.

“These Bengals games are killing us and I love it, so it’s awesome,” she said. “Not just these guys, the whole restaurant fills up and everyone’s covered in Bengals gear and it’s just really cool to see.”

The Bengal Bomb Squad said that’s exactly what they want to see. They believe supporting each others and their community as much as their team is a big part of the game day experience. That’s why in honor of the Bengals win, the fans plan to give back.

Melissa Jacoby said the group plans to collect food and funds to help support efforts providing take-home meals and snacks to school-age children across Cincinnati.

“So we’re going to try and get backpacks full of food and snacks to go home with kids,” she said.

After all, she said the Bengals have brought so much hope to the city. It’s only right for fans to do the same.