From Gigi’s Restaurant in The Plains to Ohio is Home in downtown Athens, all of Southeast Ohio is rooting for Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
THE PLAINS, Ohio — Joe Burrow’s impressive football résumé includes a national championship in college football and the Heisman Trophy, but the only thing missing in his young career is a Super Bowl title.
It may come sooner or later.
On Sunday, Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals will march to Kansas City, where the defending AFC champions will face the Chiefs for a chance to play in the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.
Burrow’s legion of Southeast Ohio fans in the small towns of The Plains, Athens and beyond will be glued to their TVs to watch this hometown legend.
“It’s absolutely crazy. Every bar, every seat is full. Everyone wears the Joe Burrow number, even the houses have flags with the Joe Burrow number. It’s so much fun,” says Julia Kara, a student at Ohio University.
Inside Gigi’s Country Kitchen, you’ll find a wall of Joe Burrow posters and two designer helmets from LSU and the Bengals.
Burrow’s footballing success was good for business.
“We had a lot of people eating here for good luck this week,” says general manager Jennifer Cooksey.
And the most popular item on the menu is the Burrow Omelet.
“Formally the Western omelette, it has ham, green peppers and cheese and Joe likes it with a double side of hash browns and a biscuit,” she said.
Tim Martin owns “Ohio is Home” in downtown Athens. He designs Burrow themed T-shirts. He says Burrow’s story is what people gravitate towards, not just the football player.
“For the kids to realize we’re down here in southeast Ohio, we’re often forgotten. We’re not Columbus, we’re not Cincinnati or Cleveland, but great things can still happen here,” Martin said.
Martin created a new hoodie on his Facebook page and already had a stack of pre-orders. One of his most popular draws from him is the phrase Burrow used when he won the Heisman: “Just a kid from Southeast Ohio.”
Pride is evident. Burrow’s face is on the Fire Department, there is a “Who Dey Go Bengals” sign at the local McDonald’s, outside Gig’s Country Kitchen the sign says “Joe Says Spend Atlanta Payback Here” in reference to a game for which the NFL sold tickets between Buffalo and Kansas City which never happened.
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