January 29, 2023

Entire Nation Calling Cincinnati Mayor 'Jabroni' After Bengals' AFC Championship Loss

Photo: twitter.com/aftabpureval (background) and twitter.com/bhaskeyv (inset)
Is Cincinnati's mayor to blame for the Bengals losing the AFC championship to the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 29?

The answer, of course, is no, but Twitter has been aflame with that declaration since KC tight end Travis Kelce called mayor Aftab Pureval a "jabroni" for his pre-game smack talk. Of course, football fans on Twitter – particularly those in Kansas City – delighted in Kelce's pointed insult toward Pureval after the Chiefs won the matchup. Scroll down to read their responses and learn why "jabroni" became one of the platform's trending topics.

What Pureval said

It all started when Cincinnati's city administration raised the Bengals flag on Jan. 27. Flanked by faithful fans in black and orange chanting "WHO DEY," Pureval set up the stakes for the team taking on the Chiefs in the AFC championship round in back-to-back seasons.

"I told you last year that this team perfectly personified our city. They are young, they are diverse, they are hungry, they've got that Cincinnati swagger, and they are not 'just happy to be here,'" Pureval told the crowd from the steps of Cincinnati City Hall. "We belong here, and we're going to come back year after year after year."

As has been popular on social media, Pureval then called Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium "Burrowhead Stadium" (a nod to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow) while mentioning local goods that Pureval and KC mayor Quinton Lucas put up in a friendly bet. Pureval said that if Cincinnati were to lose the AFC championship, he would send Lucas a Bengals bomber jacket from local shop BlaCkOwned Outerwear as well as a six-pack of Rhinegeist beer.

Pureval then increased his smack talk in a video posted to his social media accounts later in the week. In it, Pureval sat at his Cincinnati City Council chamber spot to deliver a "proclamation":
Be it proclaimed:
whereas the Cincinnati Bengals are headed to Burrowed Stadium for their second consecutive AFC championship game,
whereas [in] last year's game, the Bengals scored more points than the Chiefs, resulting in a Bengals victory and a Chiefs loss,
whereas Joseph Lee Burrow, who's 3-0 against [Chiefs quarterback Patrick] Mahomes, has been asked by officials to take a paternity test to confirm whether or not he's his father,
whereas all season long, Cincinnati has been on a path of destiny, fighting it out to overcome anyone who stands between them and a Super Bowl win,
and whereas Kansas City is named after its neighboring state – which is, you know, just kind of weird.
Now therefore, I, Aftab Pureval, mayor of the city of Cincinnati, do hereby proclaim Jan. 29, 2023, as They Gotta Play Us Day in Cincinnati. 

What Kelce said

The Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 on Jan. 29 at Arrowhead stadium in Kansas City thanks to the Chiefs' solid defense and Burrow sacks, the Bengals' slippery fingers and penalties, and questionable officiating. Holding up the AFC championship trophy immediately after the game, Kelce had some thoughts about Pureval's jabs at his team.

"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!"

"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 dictionary.com, 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. Dictionary.com added the word to its archives in 2020.

Naturally, football fans picked up on Kelce's insult, making "jabroni" trend on Twitter and even temporarily amending Pureval's Wikipedia page to say "Aftab 'Jabroni' Karma Singh Pureval" and "Jabroni mayor of Cincinnati since 2022" immediately after the game (the entry has since been restored to its original form).

Noticing the activity, Pureval shared a response on Twitter.

"Yeah. Deserved that," Pureval wrote around midnight. "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!"

The Kansas City Chiefs will battle the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12.

Scroll down to see football fans' creative responses to Kelce's use of the term "jabroni."
Scroll down to view images