“I’m packing and I’m choosing each article of clothing as if it was okay to burn it if I came home a loser,” said Hemmer. “I don’t want anything I like to remind me of coming home a loser. It runs that deep.”
One of those pieces he packed was a hat that he never wore, along with other Bengals gear he keeps in a drawer in his New York apartment. He said he wouldn’t wear that hat unless the Bengals won, and they did, 26-19.
Then he took the same clothes to Nashville when the Bengals beat the No. 1 AFC seed in the Tennessee Titans in this year’s playoff, and the same clothes to Kansas City when the Bengals came from behind to beat the No. 2 AFC seed Chiefs. He’ll be at the Super Bowl in Los Angeles to cheer on his Cincinnati Bengals against the L.A. Rams.
“I’ve been on a great NFL roadshow, and I had a blast,” said Hemmer. “I can see the amount of joy the personalities on this team bring to the people that support them, and I can see the amount of the joy that’s been brought to this city. It’s been a thrilling ride.”
Until this season, it has been 33 years since the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, and 31 years since they won an NFL playoff game. This playoff run was unexpected for many people, even fans of the team, because of the youth. But Hemmer said these are the moments fans need to cherish.
“These moments are like lightning, you don’t know when or where they’re going to strike, but if it’s your team you cannot afford to take the chance to miss it,” he said.
The team has brought hope to the city for the Cincinnati Bengals after three decades of disappointment, but Hemmer said he believes Joe Burrow has been a key to that hope.
“I think the attitude of Joe Burrow is so refreshing,” he said. “He was solely focused on the job in front of him. What I like to hear from him is how he talks about preparation and getting ready for the moment, and I’m a big believer in that. And I think that’s what we all should be in what we do in our jobs and in life. If you’re prepared, you will find yourself ready to meet the moment, and you’ll be prepared for whatever contingencies may come your way.”
They had major adjustments when playing Tennessee and Kansas City, and he says it won’t be an easy task against the Los Angeles Rams. But all he wants on Sunday is “victory.”
“All I want is victory. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be reminded of two of the worst days of my childhood,” Hemmer said referencing the Bengals two Super Bowl losses San Francisco 49ers in 1982 and 1989.