Zac Taylor makes deal to keep Bengals focused on Super Bowl
The Super Bowl tends to be held in warm locales, but few markets are more attractive than greater Los Angeles, with its beaches and Hollywood lights.
But the Cincinnati Bengals have sworn to tune out the potentially enticing distractions of Los Angeles while in town for Super Bowl LVI against the hometown Los Angeles Rams.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor told his team that once the job was done, they could return to Los Angeles in the offseason — on his dime. Safety Jessie Bates III was the first to mention the deal to reporters Wednesday.
“I think we’re a focused team, man. I don’t think there’s guys who have their minds on other things,” Bates said. “Like Coach Taylor said, he’ll buy us a flight to L.A. after we win this whole thing. So that’s the goal.”
Cincinnati players didn’t need much convincing. On the precipice of the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history in just their third year under Taylor and second under quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals know they have a momentous goal in their grasp.
“This is a business trip,” tight end C.J. Uzomah said. “I can come out here after the season, hit the beach. … This is another week, another chance to put our best foot forward.”
If the pleasurable distractions of Los Angeles won’t bother the Bengals, there’s still the question of the climate. Taylor admitted to the Bengals’ team website that a heat wave in the Los Angeles area this week has presented some unusual challenges for February.
“Hydrating as best we can,” Taylor said of battling temperatures in the upper 80s. “It’s just like the cold. What can you do? You go out there and manage it the best you can. We’re practicing in some good heat and I think our guys will be ready for it.”
Taylor, a 38-year-old from Oklahoma, has some familiarity with the city. He coached on the Rams’ offensive staff in 2017 and 2018, coming up short in the Super Bowl in the latter year in a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
But it isn’t too hot in California for some Bengals players who are taking it all in stride.
“Everybody’s happy to be out the cold weather in Cincy,” cornerback Tre Flowers said. “But that’s something we grew used to there. It’s just something we’ve got to adapt to here.
“Everybody is just ready to play. This is the biggest game of our life, and that’s because it’s the next game of our life.”
–Field Level Media