CINCINNATI — This might be Mike Hilton's first season with the Bengals, but the veteran is making a difference on and off the field.
The 27-year-old finished with a career-high 66 tackles and brought stability to a secondary that has had its fair share of rough moments over the past few years.
Hilton not only helped the Bengals win the AFC North for the first time since 2015. He's also making sure a die-hard fan is in attendance for all of Saturday's festivities.
Hilton gave Meg Burkhard two tickets to the game. They're great seats on the Bengals' sideline.
Burkhard has been a Bengals fan for nearly two decades. She's attended 30+ games over the past six years.
The COVID-19 pandemic got in the way last year, but she's been to six games this season.
Burkhard lives in Central Pennsylvania, but makes the commute regularly to see her beloved Bengals.
She's had multiple favorite players over the years. From Carlos Dunlap to Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon.
When Burkhard saw Hilton play in person, she instantly liked the veteran cornerback.
"I love Mike’s passion for his team, like how he cheers for his team when they’re on offense," she said. "You can see he wants it bad. He plays hard, never gives up. I feel like he found home with us in Cincinnati."
Burkhard went to the Bengals-Steelers game on Nov. 28. She made a sign that read: "Hi Mike Hilton, you look lit in stripes! Can I please have your jersey?"
She made the sign to have some fun with Hilton facing the Steelers, a team he played for from 2017-20, while also praising one of her favorite players.
It worked. Hilton saw the photo on Twitter and plans to give Burkhard a jersey in the future.
In the meantime, Hilton ensured that one of the biggest Bengals fans on the planet will be in attendance on Saturday as Cincinnati looks to win their first playoff game since 1991.
"It’s crazy! I’m excited. I bleed orange and black," Burkhard said. "It’ll feel so great if we beat them."
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