The story behind Cincinnati's popular Cincy Hat

Bengals fans everywhere are loving their Cincy Hats, but what's so special about them?
13th Annual NFL Honors
13th Annual NFL Honors / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

If you're a Cincinnati Bengals fan or from the city of Cincinnati you've likely seen or possibly even own the popular Cincy Hat. But for those who aren't, I think this is a story that you need to know about. It's not just a tale of how a product can quickly encapsulate a fanbase. It's an incredibly uplifting story of how sports can do so much good for a community.

The story begins on March 18th, 2022 when former New England Patriot and Miami Dolphin, Ted Karras, signed a three-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. To show his new teammates a gesture of friendship, Ted printed out 120 hats to distribute during his first spring ball with the team.

The hats didn't take long to gain exposure, as teammates began wearing them regularly.

As fans saw their favorite players wearing the hats, many began asking where they came from.

In November 2022, The Cincy Hat was officially launched on Instagram, making it easier for fans to learn about the brand and how to purchase the hats. The Bengals quickly embraced the hats and they soon became a popular sight, being worn by fans everywhere.

The hats have garnered popularity among Bengals fans and Cincinnati residents, but what truly makes this story compelling is the impact they have had on people's lives. Every dollar earned from the sale of The Cincy Hats is donated to The Village of Merici, a charity supported by Ted. This organization is dedicated to offering residential and community support to adults with developmental disabilities. It's heartwarming to see how this simple gesture of buying a hat can make a difference in the lives of those in need.

To gain insight into the financial impact of this event, I contacted Teddy directly to provide an estimate of the total amount raised. Here is Teddy's response:

"I can’t thank the Cincinnati fan base and Who Dey Nation enough for all of the support for the Cincy Hat Project. Over the last two seasons, we’ve raised over 1 million dollars and sold hats in all 50 states plus several countries internationally. With the money raised the Village of Merici has been able to double the amount of adults with disabilities that they can house, and they are at the forefront of care for IDD, as one of the first organizations in history to offer equity and ownership in real estate to people with Down’s syndrome and Autism."

Teddy Karras (4/9/2024)

It's amazing to witness how a simple gesture for new teammates has turned into a fan favorite and a powerful tool for raising awareness and funds for a great cause. The video below provides a glimpse of Ted's impact on the community.

If you're interested in learning more about the full story, I highly recommend watching the video below. It is a heartwarming video that is guaranteed to make your day. If you'd like to support the Village of Merici and get your very own Cincy Hat, head to