With the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the beleaguered Cincinnati Bengals selected quarterback Joe Burrow. It represented hope for an extreme makeover of one of the league’s most forgettable franchises.
In his first season, Burrow was named the team’s starter. While he showed signs of promise, he led the team to just two wins in the 10 games he started, before suffering a knee injury that ended his season. But this year, his second season, Burrow led the team into the playoffs—an area traditionally fraught with danger for Bengals Nation.
Postseason hasn’t been kind to the team in orange and black. In fact, it hadn’t made a Super Bowl appearance since the 1988 season.
But much like a hit HGTV home renovation show, Burrow knocked down a few walls, exorcised past rebuilding mistakes, and led a renovated Bengals squad all the way into this year’s Super Bowl. And he provided plenty of swag in the process, a positive sign for the franchise, which has been labeled cheap, stingy with supplies, and poorly run.
Thrifty behavior is in the team’s DNA. The Bengals have been a Brown family business since their founding in 1968. It’s one of a handful of teams left in the league that isn’t the result of a billionaire’s purchasing power. Owner Mike Brown took over following his legendary father and original Bengals owner Paul Brown‘s death in 1991.
While getting the Brown family to part with cash has been a problem for players in the past, Cincinnati real estate remains very player-friendly. The median list price of a home in the city sits at a modest $220,000, which means even a rookie can afford to buy a nice home.
But where do the most famous Bengals curl up at night? And does Mike Brown’s thriftiness extend into the realm of real estate? Let’s break down the homes of the Bengals.
Owner: Mike Brown
It appears as if the Bengals owner practices what he preaches. For an NFL team owner, he lives in relative modesty.
His primary residence is a three-bedroom home in the city’s affluent Indian Hill neighborhood. Sitting near the end of a wooded cul-de-sac, the home was built in 1955. Conflicting reports show the square footage as either 2,384 or 3,884. We’ll go with the larger figure and assume Brown made a 1,500-square-foot addition sometime over the past five decades.
He purchased the single-story home on a 3-acre lot in August 1978.
A satellite view shows the property is now surrounded by much larger mansions with pools, tennis courts, and motor courts—all amenities not on offer at Brown’s modest property.
He and his wife own another three-bedroom home less than a mile down the road. They paid $389,000 in 1998 for this adorable home. Built in 1908, it has 3,058 square feet of living space and a detached garage.
Both homes are in the 45243 ZIP code, one of Cincinnati’s priciest with the median list price sitting at a robust $639,000. It boasts an array of multimillion-dollar mansions, including a $6.9 million estate—the most expensive home in the state—just a mile from Brown’s primary home.
Brown and his wife acquired this home from his brother Peter in 1992.
Built in 1970, the 1,971-square-foot condo is similar to Brown’s Ohio homes in one regard. It sits in a neighborhood of multimillion-dollar residences.
The big difference? These homes along the coast come with sublime views of the Pacific Ocean.
La Jolla is also where family patriarch Paul Brown retreated after being fired by the Cleveland Browns in early 1963—a period he called “the dark days of my existence.”
The coach: Zac Taylor
For the Bengals, the storm clouds began to part when they lured the then-35-year-old Taylor away from the Los Angeles Rams three years ago. Taylor had served as an assistant on the Rams staff for a couple of seasons and was seen as a quarterback guru. He’s now prepped to face his former boss Sean McVay in the Super Bowl.
Hired by Cincy in February 2019, he wasted no time in finding a place to live. In April he picked up a charming four-bedroom home in the Mount Lookout neighborhood for $1.55 million, the price at which it was listed in January.
Built in 2015, the 4,069-square-foot home was marketed as “being much larger than it looks.” Highlights include hardwood floors throughout and a large, flat backyard with a spacious patio.
The star QB: Joe Burrow
Right after the 2020 NFL draft, we proposed three home choices for the brand-new Bengals quarterback. We figured he’d need a place that was practically turnkey, close to the team facilities, and priced right around a million bucks.
Now that we know where the man they call Joe Shiesty bought, how did we do? Were our prognostication skills on point?
Actually, they weren’t bad, but Burrow wound up spending less than a million on his starter home in June 2020. He scored a 2,900-square-foot place in Columbia-Tusculum—the city’s oldest neighborhood—for $835,000. Built in 2014, the two-story residence is about 5 miles northeast of downtown and Paul Brown Stadium.
Located toward the dead end of a steep street, the home looks sharp on the exterior. Sadly, we have no interior photos of the place. We’re sure he’ll be upgrading in the near future.
The star running back: Joe Mixon
Drafted by the Bengals in 2017, the elusive running back is also difficult to pin down when it comes to real estate.
We found a four-bedroom home in the Cincinnati suburb of Anderson Township that he sold in February 2021 for $790,000. Property records indicate Mixon bought the place in October 2020 for $760,000.
Built in 2015, the home was marketed as “almost new” when Mixon put it on the market. Highlights include a wet bar, wine cellar, and home theater.
Mixon does figure to stick around the area, given that he signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension in September 2020.
Details are scant, but it looks like a trust connected to Mixon plowed some of that hard-earned cash into a 1.13-acre lot close to the city’s Coldstream Country Club. Purchased for nearly $3.2 million last July, the vacant lot is surrounded by luxe mansions. Will Mixon’s next move be into his own custom country club home? Stay tuned.
Local boy made good: Defensive end Sam Hubbard
A Cincinnati native who starred in college at Ohio State, the hulking Hubbard is all about the Buckeye State. Drafted in the third round in 2018, he proved his mettle as a pass rusher and parlayed that ability into a four-year, $40 million contract last summer.
With his relatively newfound wealth, he might look to upgrade his housing situation after the Super Bowl.
In July 2020, he bought a four-bedroom place in the Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood—just a few streets over from Burrow’s pad—for $623,000.
Located at the end of a cul-de-sac, the two-story home backs up to acres of green space. With 2,739 square feet of living space, the home is updated throughout with a modern kitchen, spacious primary suite, and gleaming hardwood floors. A large backyard is an ideal spot to entertain the entire team, and a covered patio out back adds to the allure.
Hubbard previously bought the smaller house next door for $375,000 in July 2019. One year later, when he bought the larger home next door, he sold the smaller home to his sister.
The star cornerback: Mike Hilton
After signing a four-year, $24 million deal with the Bengals prior to the 2021 season, Hilton has cashed in with a trip to the Super Bowl in his first season in Cincy.
He’s another player who will likely be upgrading his real estate portfolio after the big game. In the midst of his four-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers (before signing with the Bengals), the Georgia native splurged on a relatively modest four-bedroom home in Newnan, GA.
Built in 2017, the two-story home was listed in January 2020 for $324,900. Hilton closed a deal the following month for $317,000. About 40 miles southwest of Atlanta, Newnan is an affordable suburb with a median list price of $335,000.
Hilton’s home features a two-story foyer, granite counters, and a walk-in pantry in the kitchen. The primary suite is spacious and comes with a double-tray ceiling.
The star safety: Vonn Bell
The hero of the AFC Championship game, Bell intercepted Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in overtime to set up the team’s huge upset. Bell joined the Bengals in 2020, signing a three-year, $18 million deal prior to the season.
A year after inking that deal, he closed a deal on a six-bedroom home in Miami. Located close to the city’s Pinecrest neighborhood, the 5,357-square-foot house went on the market in February 2021 for $1.95 million. Bell snagged the place one month later for $1.81 million.
Built in 2015, the home features a wide-open floor plan and plentiful windows. Hardwood flooring runs throughout the residence, and the large primary suite features a private balcony overlooking the pool.
Prior to the purchase, Bell sold a nearby four-bedroom home in Palmetto Bay, FL, in March 2021 for $950,000. The sale represented a decent return on investment for the safety: He had bought the place in May 2018 for $782,500.
Randy White contributed to this article.