The budding rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs that started last year can be found in a number of area family households.
The Bengals beat the Chiefs earlier this year after sweeping them in two games last season, including the AFC title game. Now they are set for a conference championship rematch Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, one win away from a return to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons.
Kansas City is hosting its fifth straight AFC Championship. The Chiefs lost in the 2018 and 2021 seasons but went to two straight Super Bowls the two years between.
For some area fans, the rivalry will play out in their homes on Sunday but mostly for fun, including Springboro couple Kathy Ann and Mike Mossbarger.
“I’m originally from Kansas City, that’s where I was born and raised,” said Kathy Ann, who is the Chiefs fan in their household. Mike is a lifelong Bengals fan who grew up around his father’s and grandfather’s love of the team.
The Mossbargers have been married almost 20 years, and one of their first memories together as a married couple was going to Cincinnati to see the Bengals and the Chiefs play the day after their wedding.
“That’s when our rivalry started,” Kathy Ann said, adding that she also wore a veil to the game that day to celebrate.
“She was the only Chiefs fan in the section. We had a blast. It was a lot of fun,” Mike said.
Kathy Ann and Mike continued to make more memories as two diehard fans of their respective teams, including having fun with each other while watching the games at home. Mike recalled one game they watched together a couple years after they were first married where who had the remote control led to a fun memory.
“My father and I and my wife were watching the game, and the Bengals were beating up the Chiefs pretty bad, and my wife had the remote control in her hand. And one of the Bengals running backs was about to score, and she paused the game right before he scored,” Mike said, adding this was around the time when digital video recorders were popular. “My dad and I couldn’t believe what happened and she was holding the remote with a big smile on her face ... We don’t take it too seriously.”
“She’s very passionate about her Chiefs,” Mike said.
Kathy Ann isn’t the only Kansas City native who may have left Missouri but brought her love of the Chiefs with her to Ohio. Sherrie Parker of Mason is a Chiefs fan while her husband, Bill, is a Bengals fan.
“I was born and raised in Kansas City,” said Sherrie, who grew up with her father watching the Chiefs and has been to Arrowhead Stadium a few times. She said it was exciting when the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV in February 2020 over the San Francisco 49ers because it had been 50 years since the Chiefs last won its last Super Bowl in 1970.
“We had a party, and it was a lot of fun, but they weren’t playing the Bengals that year, so things changed a little bit in the last couple of years,” Sherrie said.
Bill said he’s always been a fan of Bengals since the beginning.
“It’s been a tough road for awhile,” Bill said. He said he went to the Super Bowl XVI in January 1982 when the San Francisco 49ers won against the Bengals.
With both their favorite teams coming up for a rematch, Bill said, jokingly, they were trying to decide if they could watch the game in the same house or in the same room of the house.
Sunday’s game also has one family in Kettering divided by generations.
Russell Dennis, of Kettering, and his wife, Linda, are Chiefs fans, while their daughter, Amanda, is a Bengals fan. The third generation of the family, though, reverted to the Chiefs with granddaughter Kaylee being a fan of the Chiefs, too. Russell’s son, Matthew, says he’s a fan of both teams, and his son, Eddie, who died, was a diehard Rams fan.
“We always get our gear on every Sunday,” Russell said. “It’s definitely a Bengals-Chiefs household, and it has been for years.”
With game day between those two teams coming up, they are currently “frenemies.”
“Yesterday morning, my granddaughter, Kaylee, got ready for school, and she had her Chiefs Super Bowl shirt on, and my daughter, Amanda, said, ‘Oh you’ve already got your (Chiefs) shirt on?’ and she said back to her, ‘Yeah, I’ll be getting a new one of these this year,’” Russell said on Wednesday. He said Kaylee, who will be turning 12 in February, is a big fan of Patrick Mahomes, quarterback for the Chiefs.
“We’ve been watching the Chiefs, at least I have, since ’89,” Russell said. “I was a Cleveland Browns fan for a long time before that.” When their coach at the time, Marty Schottenheimer, left the Browns, Russell followed him to the Chiefs and became of a fan of the Chiefs.
“I followed him to Kansas City and started watching Kansas City,” Russell said. “As I got older, my kids and grandkids have just kind of followed my lead, but if Kansas City can’t win the Super Bowl, we would be happy for it to be an Ohio team.” Russell added that his sister-in-law’s son is related to D. J. Reader, football defensive tackle for the Bengals.
“We root for him during the week,” Russell said.
The football family rivalry also is done in fun, too, as it has become a way for the family to bond and spend time together, even if they are rooting against the other’s favorite team.
“Since COVID and everything when people couldn’t get together, we kind of used it as a way to get the family together on Sundays. We know it’s all in good fun, and everybody has their team,” Russell said.
The Dayton Daily News is covering this Cincinnati Bengals season from start to finish.
Inside Today’s Paper
Storylines to watch in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, C1
In Today’s Digital Paper
A poster of Tee Higgins appears in today’s ePaper.
How to watch AFC Championship Game
WHAT: Cincinnati Bengals (14-4) vs. Kansas City Chiefs ((15-3)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
More online at DaytonDailyNews.com
- Photos from previous games.
- See a gallery of photos of the team’s uniforms throughout the years
- Numerous articles about local fans, their memorabilia collections, history, the players, coaches and more
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