Rooting for the Bengals is the artistic choice in NFL playoffs

The pro football season ended Sunday.

That’s technically incorrect.

I am a Chicago Bears fan. The pro football season ended in early October for me.

After that, I shift my attention to teams with the best graphic design in their helmet logos.

I rooted for the Arizona Cardinals for a while. I think that angry red bird in profile is one of the best logos in sports.

Arizona backslid into the playoffs and lost to Los Angeles Rams.

The only reason I would consider rooting for the Rams is if I was in the friend circle of Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” who is Rams fan.

This seems unlikely, so the Rams are out.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a nice angry bird on the side of their helmet, but I can only stand green jerseys on the Boston Celtics.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent the Eagles home for the offseason.

Now the Buccaneers? That’s a team who has logo game. The current blood red flag with a Jolly Roger on a steel gray helmet is real cracker.

I’m even found of the old Creamsicle orange with the Buccaneer with long, flowing hair, a feather on his helmet, and a knife in his teeth.

If I’m about to be pillaged or plundered, the guy in that logo is the man I want to do it.

I also root for the Buccaneers because of Tom Brady.

I am a contrarian.

There was a time when everybody seemed to hate Brady, especially when he was with the New England Patriots.

There was some sketchy stuff about a deflated football and illegal video recordings.

Also, people tire of winners if they’re not on their team.

The Bears are seldom winners, so I must study winning elsewhere so I will recognize it if it ever shows up in Chicago.

I believe another reason people didn’t like Brady was the Patriots’ logo game is weak.

The knock off Paul Revere in profile decked in red, white, and blue looks like it belongs on an insurance company website, not an NFL helmet.

Surely people would love Brady more during his Boston years if he wore their old logo — a muscular Revolutionary War soldier in a tri-corner hat standing ready to snap the ball and push to freedom from tyranny of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It matters not, however. Brady and the Buccaneers lost Sunday. I find it hard to be inspired by the remaining teams’ designs.

Locals will argue I should root for the Kansas City Chiefs because of their proximity and, perhaps, because of their excellent quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes is certainly an excellent QB, but I hold a grudge against him.

Mahomes is one of endless number of athletes who star in commercials for State Farm.

I am a State Farm customer. I have an excellent agent and my price is manageable as my penchant for crashes has waned as my age advanced.

But I can’t help but wonder if my insurance would be even cheaper if all these athletes weren’t on State Farm’s payroll for the endless stream of insurance commercials on TV during football games.

I bet a full 1% of my premium helps pay for the appearances Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers of the NFL and Chris Paul of the NBA.

So, the Chiefs are out for me.

That leaves the San Francisco 49’ers, Los Angeles Rams, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

I struggle to believe there isn’t one designer in all the fancy-schmancy Bay Area who can’t come up with something better than an “SF” in an oval.

That’s a “no” for the ‘Niners.

I liked the old white, and later yellow, ram horn on the side of the Rams helmet, whether they were in Los Angeles or St. Louis.

This swirly thing with the “LA” in the middle of it feels overdesigned. Pass.

I like the Bengals colors — orange and black. The tiger stripes are nice, I suppose.

I’m fond of Cincinnati. An old newspaper colleague introduced me to Cincinnati chili, which is a kind of gravy-like chili served on spaghetti. I liked it a lot.

I’m also found of Cincinnati because I enjoyed the old TV series “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

Cincinnati is technically in the Midwest despite being on the Eastern time zone.

This is good.

If they were in California, some crazed activist might throw fake blood on the Bengals, mistaking their uniforms for real fur.

If the Bengals were in Washington, D.C., some jerks might think “Let’s go, Bengals!” was a crude insult to President Joe Biden.

So, I’ll root for the Bengals.

But I’m not rooting enough to wear their hat.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.

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