For the second straight year, only one team has to travel for the Super Bowl, and for the second straight year, that team will be arriving in the Super Bowl host city later than usual. Before the pandemic started, most Super Bowl teams would head to the city where the game is being played the weekend before Super Bowl Sunday. However, that’s not what the Bengals will be doing this year. The NFL announced that the Bengals will be landing in Los Angeles on Tuesday, which means they won’t be in town for Super Bowl media night. Of course, not being in L.A. for media night isn’t a huge deal because it’s going to be completely virtual this year. Instead of traveling to the West Coast for the unofficial opening ceremony of Super Bowl week, the Bengals will be holding a fan rally at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Monday night. The event will run from 6 to 7 p.m. ET and will be hosted by comedian Gary Owen. The Bengals’ portion of media night will be simulcasted on the video board at the stadium.
From a game-planning standpoint, nothing will really change for the Bengals, despite their unusually late arrival. Coach Zac Taylor revealed Thursday that the team’s plan is to put its game plan in this week and then make any potential changes next week in L.A. “We’re putting our plan in this week, and if you have anything you need to tweak next week, that’s great,” Taylor said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. The Bengals could have done what the Chiefs did last year and waited until later in the week to leave — the Chiefs didn’t land in Tampa Bay until the day before the Super Bowl — but Cincinnati’s coaching staff feels like the team needs time to get acclimated to the West Coast.
“I think it will be important that we (go early), but it’s always easy to transition from not-so-great weather to good weather,” Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said this week, via the Associated Press. “Doesn’t take long to figure that part out, and the guys will get accustomed to that quick.”It probably won’t take long for the Bengals to get acclimated to the weather. On Thursday, the Bengals were forced to practice indoors at the University of Cincinnati after their city was hit with a winter storm while in L.A., the temperature was 67 degrees. When the Bengals arrive Tuesday, the temperature is projected to be 79 in L.A. compared to 36 in Cincinnati. “I think it will be good to get the lay of the land, but when the weather is good like that it’s an easier transition than going to to play in 8, 9, 10 degrees or something like that,” Anarumo said.
After landing in L.A. on Feb. 8, the Bengals will spend their week practicing at UCLA’s Drake stadium.