Former Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna recently said that a teammate in Cincinnati was once “drunk in the huddle” during a game. The team’s hotel habits for home games makes that situation more plausible.
Former Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh previously told Colin Cowherd that the Bengals at one point did not gather the team at a hotel the night before home games.
“Everybody stayed in hotels for every home game, every team I’ve been on,” Houshmandzadeh said. “When I first got to the Bengals, we stayed at home. So, as a rookie, you figure, ‘I was inactive last week, I’m gonna be inactive this week.’ You’d go out. You’d go out and just go straight from the club to the stadium on Sunday.”
Houshmandzadeh arrived in Cincinnati as a rookie in 2001. He stayed for eight seasons. Kitna also joined the Bengals in 2001, staying for five years.
The Bengals have a reputation for being notoriously careful with money. By letting players stay at home the night before home games, they avoided the expense of putting so many people in hotel rooms. It’s unclear when the practice ended, but it helps explain the ability of a player to be drunk in the huddle if, as Houshmandzadeh said, players were going “straight from the club to the stadium on Sunday.”