Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval confident he’ll win Super Bowl bet with Eric Garcetti
While the Los Angeles Rams are favored to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the mayor of the Ohio city warned that his favored team, just like his city, should not be counted out in Super Bowl LVI.
“Like this team, our city is young, diverse, ambitious and confident,” said Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, in L.A. for the big game. “We’ve got Cincinnati swagger, and we’re going to win. We’re so confident that we have been talking a lot of trash.”
In the traditional Super Bowl bet between competing elected officials, Pureval and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti agreed that the losing city’s mayor will wear the victorious team’s jersey, while the winning city’s mayor will personally donate to the children’s hospital in the city that falls short.
Lost in all the Super Bowl week histrionics is the fact that everything the Bengals do, the Rams do better, and have done better this season.
But Pureval said he had proposals left on the cutting room floor if the Bengals won: Los Angeles would temporarily change its name to “Loss Angeles.” And the Bengals would get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with the game’s final score.
Pureval, the son of immigrants, points to his own history to explain the team’s resilience. His mother was a Tibetan refugee who fled through the Himalayas, into Nepal and eventually India, where she met his Punjabi father in college. The young couple immigrated to Beaver Creek, Ohio, and Pureval was born. Six years later, the Bengals last appeared in the Super Bowl, which they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
Pureval, 39, became mayor of Cincinnati a little more than a month ago. He is the first Asian American mayor not only of the city but in the entire Midwest.
“In one generation, my family went from being refugees to my becoming mayor. It’s a story that only happens here in the Queen City,” Pureval said, referring to a nickname for Cincinnati. “It’s really reflective of who we are as a community.”
He sees commonalities between his city’s grounding and desires and their hometown team’s.
“They’re hungry, and like them, our city is just happy to be on the national stage,” he said. “We belong here, and we’re going to stay for a while.”
Pureval was in town partly to promote Cincinnati — he notes that it is home to the largest city-led solar farm, is the most connected city in terms of broadband and is home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies despite its size.
“In the national context, we are incredibly affordable to live in yet we have big-city amenities. The reason I’m out here frankly in L.A. is to take the opportunity to reintroduce the world to Cincinnati,” before adding that he was age 6 the last time his team won a conference championship. His anticipation for seeing his hometown team was undeniable.
“This is no longer your granddad’s Bengals. We are the future,” he said. “Who dey, baby, who dey?”
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