Cincinnati Bengals Are One of the Most Popular NFL Teams, at Least According to TikTok

Hot on the heels of "jabroni-gate," the Bengals' social media clout keeps rising.

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click to enlarge Defensive end Sam Hubbard of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Paycor Stadium on Oct. 23, 2022. - Photo:
Defensive end Sam Hubbard of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Paycor Stadium on Oct. 23, 2022.

Cincinnati's pro football team already has a devoted fanbase in the Queen City, but the rest of the world apparently is catching on, too.

According to a study from, the Cincinnati Bengals are the fourth-most popular NFL team on TikTok, with an average of 111,790 follower likes for each video posted. At the time of the study, the Bengals had 1,600,000 followers and 25,600,000 likes across 229 videos. The team earns about $1,497 per video, says in a Jan. 31 email.

The Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs take the top three spots in average likes per TikTok video, with the Dallas Cowboys coming in fifth place behind the Bengals. The Chiefs – who just took the AFC championship crown back from the Bengals – have the most followers of any NFL team with 2,500,000. KC also leads in total likes (43,500,000) and earnings per video ($2,401).

For Bengals fans, the Jan. 29 AFC championship game still stings with its déjà vu setup that went a different way.  As with the 2022 version – also against the Chiefs – the Bengals rallied from behind to tie things up in the second half. But unlike last season, there was no overtime magic or last-second field goal that would lead Cincinnati to another Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals ultimately fell to the Chiefs 23-20.

There were plenty of big moments in the game – KC's five sacks on quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals' multiple penalties and some questionable officiating among them – but it was a post-game interview that sent all social media platforms aflame and pushed people to Google "What's a 'jabroni?'" Holding up the AFC championship trophy during an on-field interview immediately after the game, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce shared some thoughts about Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval's jabs at Kelce's team and city.
"Hey, I've got some wise words for that Cincinnati mayor: Know your role and shut your mouth, you jabroni," Kelce shouted on the NFL's national CBS broadcast before invoking the Beastie Boys. "You gotta fight... for your right... to PARRRRRRRRRTYYYYYYY!

Kelce was referring to Pureval hyping Cincinnati during the week prior by calling Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium "Burrowhead Stadium" (Burrow had won his previous three contests against the Chiefs), tossing some friendly jabs at KC's mayor ("The mayor could use some Cincinnati swagger because the clothing he bet me was really quite tired," Pureval said while showcasing a Bengals bomber jacket from local shop BlaCkOwned Outerwear before raising the Bengals flag at Cincinnati City Hall) and basically saying "Joe Burrow is Kansas City's daddy" in a video proclamation.

"Jabroni" largely is viewed as a variation of Italian-American slang that has been around since the start of the 20th century but had decreased in use mid-century. According to, a jabroni is a "stupid, foolish, or contemptible person" or a "loser" and could be a derivative of the Milanese word for ham, giambone.

But it was professional wrestling that pushed the term back into the spotlight. Wrestler Iron Sheik (born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) frequently called his opponents jabroni in the 1980s. In the 2000s, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) popularized the term even more. added the word to its archives in 2020.

After "jabroni" began trending on Twitter, Pureval shared a response.

"Yeah. Deserved that," Pureval wrote around midnight after the game. "Congrats to KC on a well-fought win, and good luck in Arizona. Proud of our fans and our @bengals for all the energy this year. Who Dey!"

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