To be fair, he does look younger than 38
Even after winning the franchise’s first playoff game in 31 years, Bengals coach Zac Taylor is still pretty anonymous in Cincinnati.
Following Saturday’s win over the Raiders, Taylor dropped in at the Mt. Lookout Tavern on his way back home and surprised a bunch of fans with a game ball in a moment that went viral on social media.
“It was what I pictured,” Taylor told The MMQB’s Albert Breer. “It was packed. It was a good scene. People had been there for a while, having a good time, which is what I was hoping for. So it was fun to be able to share that with those people.”
In the video, it seems like everyone in the place was thrilled to see Taylor show up. But the person working the door had no idea who he was.
During an appearance on Good Morning Football on Thursday, Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah revealed a slightly embarrassing detail about his coach’s night out.
“Since Coach kinda threw me under the bus last time I was on [the show], he got ID’d when he went to that bar, by the way. So we got a kick out of that,” Uzomah said.
I don’t know if Taylor should be flattered or annoyed that the bouncer wasn’t convinced he was over 21. He’s 38 (the second-youngest head coach in the NFL this year, behind only 35-year-old Sean McVay) and he’s got the kind of boyish face that makes it easy to mistake him for someone much younger, especially in the dim light of a crowded bar. Plus, the description of the scene Taylor gave Breer makes it sound like the bouncer had a busy night. They probably weren’t able to catch much of the game and go, “Hey, that’s the guy from TV.”
The Bengals hope the game ball delivery is a new tradition in Cincinnati. Uzomah brought one to a place called Walt’s Hitching Post in Fort Wright, Ky., but it doesn’t sound like he had any trouble getting in. If Taylor wants to bring another one to Mt. Lookout Tavern if Cincinnati beats the Titans on Saturday, at least they’ll know who he is.
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See you in a little bit
As I mentioned first on Wednesday, this is the final edition of Hot Clicks. It will live on in the form of a new daily newsletter that I’ll be launching soon. (I had said on Wednesday the first newsletter would go out on Jan. 31, but it looks like that’s getting pushed back and I’ll refrain from announcing a new start date so I don’t look stupid if I blow by that deadline as well.) You can sign up to receive that newsletter by subscribing to the SI Extra list on this page. It’ll also be published in article format on SI.com.
The newsletter will be very similar to what Hot Clicks readers have come to expect from me over the past four years, so I don’t think I need to take up space here eulogizing the end of this particular era. But I do just want to thank everyone for reading this column frequently enough for me to remain employed by Sports Illustrated for the better part of a decade. I also want to thank all the dozens of creeps who sent me unhinged emails in 2018 when I discontinued the Lovely Lady of the Day feature upon taking over Hot Clicks. I assume a good portion of you were bluffing when you said you wouldn’t read SI ever again and are in fact reading this sentence.
I will also take this opportunity to annoy Jimmy Traina one last time by pointing out that he started Hot Clicks when I was in middle school. I turn 30 later this year, so it’s obvious he had a great idea and I’m thankful for the chance to continue what he started.
Around the sports world
Defending champion Naomi Osaka was upset in the third round of the Australian Open. ... Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark became the first player in Division I basketball (men’s or women’s) to record back-to-back 30-point triple-doubles. ... MLB put an end to the Rays’ cockamamie plan to split time between Tampa and Montreal. ... The Texans interviewed Josh McCown for their coaching vacancy and reportedly want another team to talk to him so he seems like a legitimate candidate.
No. 4 NC State’s ferocious fourth-quarter comeback against No. 3 Louisville was a sight to behold. The Cardinals got outscored 31–8 in the final period.
Penny Hardaway went on an expletive-laden rant after Memphis dropped its third straight game to fall to 9–8
I can’t wrap my head around this goal
Just your typical 39-point night for Stephen Curry
A rare clean hit by Tom Wilson
Clyde is the best
Just let them wear their own uniforms!
I want to see the video of him catching it
A rescue team in England saved a dog by tempting it with a sausage attached to a drone. ... The Missouri Highway Patrol inadvertently sent a Batman-themed alert to cellphones in the state. ... A 19-year-old from England became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. ... Mars is reimagining the anthropomorphic M&M characters, including making the green one less sexy.
A good song
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