CINCINNATI — People in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are not the only ones glued to their screens this weekend for the Bengals game. Fans from all over the world will be watching the team take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.
“I think when you start supporting your team, they're kind of with you for life really,” said Paul Hirons, a Bengals fan in the UK.
Hirons started following the team in the 1980’s.
“The NFL had just started to kind of get a bit of a cult following over here,” he said.
In 2014, he helped launch the team’s UK fan group, which hosts meetups, online tailgates, weekly podcasts and chili cook-offs.
He’s not the only international fan cheering “Who Dey” this weekend.
In Brazil, Andre Morelli Faria has been rooting for the Bengals for the past ten years. His passion for the team started after he connected with a pen pal in Northern Kentucky.
“It’s funny because someday you meet someone from a city that you barely heard,” he said. “And you decide to watch some games of the local football team and then you fall in love with them.”
He said his dream is to visit the United States and watch the Bengals play.
“I can say that my heart is part from Ohio,” he said.
It’s a connection that Hirons feels too.
“Once you start supporting a team that's kind of 5000 miles away, you want to know more about the city, the people, the traditions and the coaches,” Hirons said. “And since that moment since the mid-80s, there's an emotional connection with Cincinnati.”