Third Bengals game ball surfaces at OTR bar in revival of 2022 tradition

Some game balls will go to out-of-state Bengals bars.
Zac Taylor, Vonn Bell deliver game balls to Tri-State bars reviving 2022 tradition
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 12:08 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Several bars in the Tri-State got a surprise when they received game balls from the Bengals as part of a continuing tradition started during last season’s playoff run.

The Blind Pig in Downtown and Crowley’s Irish Pub in Mt. Adams each got a game ball following the Bengals’ thrilling 24-17 wild card win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Coach Zac Taylor was cheered by an enthusiastic crowd at The Blind Pig when he brought a ball to the bar.

A third game ball surfaced Monday night at Clutch OTR. Bengals Director of Communications Emily Parker retweeted the following:

Crowley’s Irish Pub shared photos on Facebook late Sunday night of Bengals safety Vonn Bell delivering them one of the six game balls.

“Oh, we were so excited,” explains Crowley’s manager Lainie Smith. “I mean, this is a big Bengals bar. We have huge watch parties every Sunday, lots of people just standing remotely, so we were really excited to get it.”

Rick Schmidt says for the past 15 years he has watched nearly every Bengals game at Crowley’s. He was there Sunday when Bell walked in.

“It was really a nice surprise,” Schmidt recalls. “I couldn’t believe it. I hit my buddy and said, ‘hey, look at this. You won’t believe it.’ He said, ‘what,’ and we didn’t recognize [Bell] because he’s out of uniform and had no helmet.”

The tradition of handing out game balls to bars in the Tri-State started during the Bengals...
The tradition of handing out game balls to bars in the Tri-State started during the Bengals playoff run last season.(WXIX)

As for where the other three game balls are, that is a mystery.

Coach Taylor did say on Monday that not all of the footballs have reached their destination and some will be going to out-of-state Bengals bars.

The tradition started last season after the Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders and continued throughout Cincinnati’s Super Bowl run. One of the first bars to get a game was Mount Lookout Tavern, from which the ball was infamously stolen.

Coach Taylor said the tradition is here to stay.

“That tradition is never gonna die,” he said.

“We got a good thing going,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to reveal all that right now, but we want to include as many people as possible,” he said.

Following the Divisional Round win against the Tennessee Titans, the game balls went to Jeff Ruby’s Precinct in Columbia Tusculum, 16 Lots Brewing Company in Mason, Delwood in Mount Lookout and The Holy Grail Tavern and Grille at The Banks.

Five game balls went out after the AFC Championship Game win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The recipients included Zip’s Cafe in Mt. Lookout, Gametime Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill in Mt. Healthy, Maloney’s Pub West Bar & Grill in Delhi Township, Streetside Brewery in Columbia Tusculum and Sinners & Saints Tavern in the East End.

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