A harmless inside joke within the Cincinnati Bengals organization has become a full-blown social media sensation now that the team is Super Bowl bound.
Earlier in the season, the Bengals began using an old multi-purpose cart with three tiers to help conduct interviews. The wheeled contraption, affectionately known as “The Cart,” made journalists and players laugh due to its simplicity and outdated functionality. In other words, it’s the kind of thing you would see in a high school classroom twenty years ago; not in an NFL locker room.
Bengals staff originally used The Cart to hold microphones and recorders in order to adhere to COVID safety protocols. Players would gather around it to give interviews, instead of standing amidst a circle of journalists with recording devices. Some good-natured mockery towards The Cart eventually morphed into an inside joke. Now it will travel to Los Angeles as part of the team.
How the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl
Armed with its very own Twitter account, The Cart occasionally stars in funny little videos meant to promote upcoming games. The Bengals also use the silly viral fame to raise money for various charities in the neighborhood.
The Cart’s emergence as a fun, fan-friendly joke coincides with the Bengals’ first trip to the Super Bowl since 1989 — possibly around the same time when The Cart was manufactured.
The Bengals made it this far by improbably winning three straight playoff games. First, they won against the Raiders, then against the #1 seed Titans, and then against the perennial-powerhouse Chiefs. The first game was a tossup, with both teams fairly evenly matched. The second game featured a Titans team who played lights-out defensively but couldn’t get it going on the offensive side of the ball. And then last weekend in the AFC Championship Game, the Bengals won in dramatic fashion, besting Super Bowl champ Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on the road in frigid Kansas City.
Now the scrappy, working-class Bengals and their rising star quarterback Joe Burrow (an Ohio native, himself) will face the ultra-talented LA Rams for the NFL’s championship next Sunday. Not only do the Bengals face a Rams team with a veteran quarterback, themselves, and tons of highly-paid defensive talent, but they will have to play them in the Rams’ home stadium. This year’s game marks the second time in NFL history that a team has advanced to the Super Bowl in their own home stadium. The first time was last year when Tom Brady’s Bucs won in Tampa Bay.
Of course, if the Bengals upset the Rams, the Lombardi Trophy will surely get a well-photographed ride on The Cart; surely to everyone’s amusement in Cincinnati.