Scooter Hobbs column: Bungled bet for Bengals

Published 7:01 am Thursday, February 2, 2023

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By Scooter Hobbs

American Press

Let’s hope this past weekend’s unpleasantness will serve as a lesson and a warning for all the politicians out there.

In the future, please limit your filibustering to trivial matters like war and peace and the shrinking dollar.

Otherwise, when it comes to the really important stuff of state such as, say, the AFC Championship game, better to just stay in your lane and — to borrow a phrase from Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelse — “Know your role and shut your mouth, you jabroni.”

In this case, the politico was Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval who was being compared to whatever a jabroni is.

But Kelce’s point is well taken.

Anything more than a silly, headline-catching bet with a corresponding elected official from enemy territory is playing with fire.

In Pureval’s case, that would probably have been something as predictable as his own city’s overrated Skyline Chili wagered against some really good Kansas City barbecue.

Fairly harmless.

But best to let the pros handle it from there.

This can be tough, of course. Politicos in general love the spotlight almost as much as they love talking.

Hitching your approval rating to a successful local sporting franchise is a long-honored campaign tradition.

It’s almost as easy as running on a platform of mom, apple pie and free downtown parking.

Just don’t abuse it. It can blow up in your face.

As hizzoner is learning.

So, just clarify here, it wasn’t Joe Burrow who suggested renaming Arrowhead Stadium to Burrowhead Stadium, given the Bengals quarterback’s uncanny success there on the Chiefs’ home field.

That, of course, was Pureval, who got to liking the sound of his own voice more and more.

So he wasn’t done, upping the pregame ante when he went on to suggest that Burrow should take a paternity test to find out if, indeed, he was Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ “Daddy.”

Any rational human would know that would be impossible — Mahomes is 15 months older than Burrow.

Still, the latter example was clever enough that it sounds like maybe Pureval’s speech writers were involved.

Regardless of the author, it quickly morphed into “bulletin board material” and did not pass Go en route to wherever the Chiefs keep their official bulletin board.

Now, granted, we experts here know that the bulletin board’s effect on any NFL game’s outcome ranks somewhere between the first stage of the Iditarod and the price of wheat of Albania.

College coaches have been using them forever, and to little avail. The NFL should know better.

But never mind that.

The whole fiasco apparently annoyed the Chiefs enough to work up a mighty lather in advance of the game.

Several of them didn’t mind crediting the mayor’s untoward remarks after the Chiefs’ 23-20 victory.

Pureval’s mistake was pretty obvious.

His aim, no doubt, was to wrap himself in Bengals’ stripes and swaddling orange to get down into the fray with the common fans (voters) to support a popular cause.

Instead, he showed his ignorance. Far better to have stayed above the fracas and leave the trash talking to those grass-roots fans on social media where it belongs. And where those fans are pros at it.

Reportedly his salvos at KC brought boos from Bengals fans (constituents) who recognized that, funny or not, it was all headed to the Chiefs locker room to come back to haunt them.

The fans would have been excused, or at least ignored. But coming from the mayor’s office put the official seal of the City of Cincinnati on it. Unforced error there.

— Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at