Longtime Bengals fans from Springfield excited for Super Bowl

Jim and Melissa Clingman

Combined ShapeCaption
Jim and Melissa Clingman

Springfield residents Jim Clingman and his wife, Melissa, have been Cincinnati Bengals fans for more than 50 years.

“58 years and counting...,” he said. “I’m a past season ticket holder and have a wardrobe of Bengals clothes and memorabilia.”

The Clingmans are among thousands of Bengals fans in the region hoping to watch the Bengals win their first Super Bowl on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

It’s been a long 33 years since the last time the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, but the wait has been worth it for the Clingmans.

ExplorePHOTOS: Fans who cheered for Bengals’ Super Bowl teams of the 1980s

Clingman said becoming a fan started with his dad.

“I guess it started with my dad. Being that we are also big Buckeyes fans and Paul Brown was one of the greatest Buckeye coaches, it was natural we followed him to Cincinnati,” he said.

“The best memories I have are going to the games with my dad in 1981 and 1988. And this year’s championship game with my wife,” Clingman added.

Combined ShapeCaption
Jim and Melissa Clingman

Jim and Melissa Clingman

Combined ShapeCaption
Jim and Melissa Clingman

Clingman said he and his wife were at the team’s last game and “nearly cried with joy” when they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27 to 24.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “This year’s playoffs have been the best I have ever seen. The competition has been so even and every game has decided on the last play.”

ExploreLongtime Bengals season-ticket holder: ‘You couldn’t keep me away’ from Super Bowl

The couple “cannot express how excited” they are about the team going to the Super Bowl and would love to attend the game.

“Let’s get this done for Cincinnati and Ohio. We deserve a Super Bowl champion in the state where it all started,” he said.

90-year-old Rosa Floyd of Springfield said she never misses a game from home.

“I became a fan when I lived in Kentucky and Marvin Lewis would bring the team to Georgetown and pour money in that low economy,” she said.

“I fell in love with the Bengals for that reason. I was not a football fan but started to watch every game. I wrote down the player numbers and got to know the names when Houshmandzadeh was playing maybe 20 years ago,” Floyd added.

Floyd said she moved from Lexington, Kentucky to Springfield in 2018 to be near her family, and “now lives where everybody loves them (the Bengals) too.”

“When I moved here, besides my family, my Bengals were all I loved to watch. I have watched nearly every game since and was so thrilled my Bengals got the Heisman trophy winner quarterback,” she said.

Floyd said she is pumped the team has made it to the Super Bowl.

“The spirit of the team is so obvious and they want to win just like the rest of the nation. I will be watching and when they win, I won’t sleep all night,” she said.

While Floyd’s family will be having a Super Bowl party in London, she said she will be watching alone in her living room “enjoying a nice warm, comfy chair.”

Barb McCoy of Riverside watched in-person Jan. 15 as the Bengals held off the Las Vegas Raiders for Cincinnati’s first playoff win since 1991.

Now she plans to be in Southern California at Super Bowl LVI on Sunday hoping to see the Bengals’ first NFL Championship when they play the L.A. Rams.

The Carroll High School grad wants “to have a lot of fun and bring a win home” by the Bengals, her favorite team for more than 40 years.

The 56-year-old McCoy said she jumped at the chance to be “along for the ride” when her season-ticket holding sister and brother-in-law landed Super Bowl tickets through friends — and offered her one.

“I said I would clean out my vacation account if I need to do the trip,” McCoy said.

Catching Bengals fever in the late 1970s, she recalls it was aided later by her teenage attraction to wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, who helped the Bengals reach Super Bowls in 1982 and 1989 before falling to the 49ers both times.

McCoy’s allegiance then weathered more than a dozen non-winning seasons and continued in more recent years, withstanding the barbs that sometimes accompany sports loyalty when your favorite franchise is on the downside.

“I’ve hung in there through the good and the bad,” she said. “And I’ve taken a lot of grief from friends who are not Bengals fans.

“But you pick your team and you either like them or you don’t and you go with it,” McCoy added. “You can’t jump off and on the bandwagon.”

About the Author