Americans Think the Rams Will Win Super Bowl LVI, But Are Rooting for the Bengals

Sportsbooks have the Rams, who will be playing in their home stadium, listed as favorites, but America is backing Cincy

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow passes from the pocket in the AFC Championship game
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow passes from the pocket in the AFC Championship game.
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Even if the Rams take Super Bowl LVI with a win at their home stadium in Los Angeles, they won’t emerge from the game as America’s Team.

The majority of Americans polled in a recent Morning Consult survey, especially members of older demographics, want the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI. However, while they’re rooting for the Bengals to win, 38% U.S. adults said they expect the Rams, who are favored by 4.5 points at most sportsbooks, to defeat Cincinnati in the Super Bowl (30% of respondents backed the Bengals, with the remaining 32% unsure of the result). Among those who plan to wager on the game, the number is even higher: 55% of bettors predicted the Rams will win, compared with the 38% who picked the Bengals.

Interestingly, the fans who said they are rooting for the Rams tended to be young and people of color. Per Morning Consult, adults 18-34 were the only age group with a larger share of respondents rooting for the Rams (41%) than the Bengals (34%). And while only 28% of white adults will be cheering for the Rams, more than 40% of Black adults, Hispanic adults and those identifying as a member of another ethnic group said they’ll be rooting for the Rams.

The likely reason for the rooting disparity? Americans love an underdog story and Joe Burrow and the Bengals fit the bill.

“When viewers don’t have a vested interest in a particular game, conventional wisdom says they’re more likely to root for the team they view as the underdog,” per Morning Consult. “In last year’s survey, animus toward Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was a key reason that a plurality of fans rooted for the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, even though the Chiefs were favored coming into the game. Sunday’s game will be just the second Super Bowl since 2017 without Brady participating, and without the now-retired quarterback to skew opinion, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Americans are embracing this year’s plucky underdogs.”

Within the city of Cincinnati itself, Bengals fever has taken hold, as public school has already been canceled for the day after the Super Bowl, and there have been substantially more “if-win” orders of championship licensed products placed in Cincy than LA despite the latter having a population about 10 times larger than the former.

“So far, it looks like pent-up demand in Cincinnati is more than making up for the population difference,” Fanatics senior VP John Killen told The Sports Business Journal. “And Joe Burrow’s success is a great story that should play nationally, especially with some of the older quarterbacks like Brady and [Ben] Roethlisberger retiring.”

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