Bengals' Zac Taylor treats Cincinnati fans to free breakfast

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CINCINNATI -- Tom Bobinger thought he was in trouble when a local restaurant manager wanted to speak to him before he paid for breakfast.

Instead, he and his wife got a free meal thanks to Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor. Taylor spotted Bobinger and his wife, Kathy, wearing team apparel and thanked them for being fans by picking up the check for their meal.

For Taylor, it was just a chance to repay fans for their support of the club.

"It just felt like I wanted to show my appreciation," Taylor said Monday as the team started offseason workouts. "It does lead me to [say], hey, if I see people wear Bengals gear, you never know. That may continue to happen."

Taylor, who is entering his sixth year with the team, has made it a point to embrace fans throughout his tenure. In 2021, when the Bengals won their first playoff game in 31 years, Taylor started a tradition of handing out ceremonial game balls to various bars and restaurants around the city after each postseason win.

In the recent breakfast encounter, Taylor said he and his younger son, Luke, were looking for breakfast while his older son, Brooks, was in a basketball tournament. They stopped in at the Tealside Diner, which opened in September 2023.

In a letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer published last Friday, Bobinger wrote that when he got to the counter, he was informed that Taylor had already taken care of the bill. And on the way out, Taylor made sure to thank the fan for his support.

"I told him that was not a problem," Bobinger wrote. "Been a fan since 1968."

Taylor mentioned that a neighbor informed him of the letter to the newspaper, and further detailed his interactions with fans as the franchise has continued its turnaround. After winning just six games in his first two seasons, Cincinnati won the AFC North in 2021 and 2022 and made the Super Bowl in 2021, the franchise's first title appearance since 1988.

And throughout his time in Cincinnati, every time he has run into a fan, he has received a warm response.

"Face-to-face interactions that I've had with people in the community are a hundred percent positive and supportive," Taylor said. "[I] always appreciate that love driving down the road and just seeing people wearing Bengals gear or out jogging or walking. So when I get a chance to go into these restaurants and see those people, it's just fun to interact with them."