LOS ANGELES — For Cincinnati Bengals fans living in Los Angeles, the Super Bowl is bringing two worlds together.
“The last three weeks have been like nothing we've ever seen,” said Tom Singer, who owns 5 Line Tavern, a bar that has adopted Bengals fans and hosts them on game days. “We've had to bring security lines out the door turning people away.”
Singer said a few Bengals fans used to gather at the bar on Sundays years ago, but crowds have grown this season.
“This year it's just been unbelievable,” Singer said. “We kind of fully leaned into it as a venue.”
One of the people responsible for those crowds is Todd Armstrong, who helps run the BengalsWest fan group in California.
“I wear Bengals hats all the time anyway,” Armstrong said. “But people now see my gear and they're like, ‘Oh, you guys are for real.’”
The fan group started about 13 years ago as a small bunch of fans gathering to watch Bengals games. Once they started sharing the group’s activities on social media, the events got bigger.
“One season we woke up and we had 20 people standing outside the bar waiting to get in,” Armstrong said. “It’s been kind of crazy ever since.”
Singer says he’s caught the Bengals bug too. He’s from Australia and didn’t grow up with the NFL.
“After this season, how could you not be a fan?” Singer said. “I think just watching this comeback, watching everything turn around - you can't write a better story for a football team.”
It’s a sentiment he thinks other people share in Los Angeles, even while cheering for the other team.
“There's going be a lot of support for the Rams out there,” Singer said. “So you know, in the orange and black, it might be might be a little rough for some, but I think I think everyone here is just so stoked, regardless of who your team is to see the Bengals this far ahead… It's definitely put Cincinnati on the map for us for, sure.”
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