USA About: Rams Publish: 02/13/2022 Edit: 02/13/2022 Author: Gardener
One way or another, it'll be a Hollywood ending to a riveting NFL season with Super Bowl 56, which will offer either the final act of a true underdog story or the conclusion of an ambitious all-star gamble. With another lineup of all-stars also set to make the halftime show a blockbuster, everything is set to be a night like no other in Los Angeles. Absolutely no one believed the Bengals would get this far with just six wins in two previous seasons combined - and in fact, no team had a worse record in the two years before reaching the Super Bowl. With sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow and college teammate Ja'Marr Chase, the Bengals were an offensive team full of outstanding big plays. Aside from Burrow and Chase, the Bengals have a roster that's more befitting of a low-key franchise that's never won the Super Bowl and hasn't even won a playoff game in 31 years up to this season. In contrast, since returning to LA from St. Louis in 2016, the Rams have really taken the Hollywood issue to heart, embarking on an ambitious plan of blockbuster trades to inject established star players into key positions. They've played four Super Bowls in their 86-year history — having started in Cleveland in 1936, moving to LA in the 1940s and St. Louis in the mid-'90s before returning to LA — but they've only had one won. in 2000. Owner Stan Kroenke spent $5.5 billion to build the stunning SoFi Stadium and bring the Super Bowl back to LA, where it was first played in 1967, before the game was even known as the Super Bowl was - for some reason "the AFL". NFL World Championship Game' didn't catch on as a title. Most north London fans will be about as happy about Sunday's Kroenke's Rams win as Manchester United fans were about last year's Glazers Super Bowl win with Tampa Bay. Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow are only the second pair of quarterbacks to both be drafted top picks overall and meet in the Super Bowl. A decade with struggling Detroit gave Stafford little chance to shine, but the fact that the Rams paid such a high price for a 34-year-old shows how desperate they were to win a Super Bowl. Burrow is only a sophomore but walks and talks like a man destined for the big stage — and his 7-0 record in college and NFL playoff games shows you he usually delivers when the use is highest. He's tough - he's recovered from a brutal knee injury and has been sacked more times this season than any other QB in the league, but he keeps getting up to win. His presence on the field is closest to that of Tom Brady, who, incidentally, won his first Super Bowl in his sophomore season and as a huge underdog. At wide receiver you have the Rams' Cooper Kupp - who has enjoyed a season in which he topped the charts in catches, yards and touchdowns - against Bengals rookie Chase, who has taken the league by storm. There's also intrigue on the sidelines, with Rams head coach Sean McVay taking on a former assistant to Bengals boss Zac Taylor, who was on LA's staff for his last Super Bowl appearance three years ago. It's been an exciting season all year, with a record 35 games won in the very last play and all four games in a crazy divisional round of the playoffs decided by walkoff wins. The Bengals had two walk-off wins to reach the Super Bowl and are known for their second-half comebacks, with a talent for tactical changes at the break. They surpassed their opponents in the third quarter of the season with a league-best 73 points, and as they showed with a big wobble against Brady's defending champions, the Buccaneers, the Rams can struggle to finish games. With an extra-long half-time break to allow Taylor to work his tactical magic, don't turn it off prematurely. As the Super Bowl returns to Los Angeles for the first time in almost 30 years, the NFL has kicked off with a halftime show starring Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre pulled out all the stops. With 43 Grammys combined, it's another all-star cast for this Hollywood epic and a homecoming for Lamar, Dre and Snoop Dogg. * After 54 years without a team playing a Super Bowl at home, the Rams are second on the go after the Buccaneers won in Tampa last year. * This is only the second time two QBs who were drafted number one overall have met in the Super Bowl - Peyton Manning and Cam Newton were first at Super Bowl 50. * The Bengals have won in two previous Super bowls played. Both lost to the 49ers while the Rams have won one of their four previous appearances. * With Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, 38, and his opponent Sean McVay, 36, this is the youngest head-coaching Super Bowl match ever. * If the Rams win, Sean McVay will become the youngest ever Super Bowl head coach, beating Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin's record of winning at the age of 36 years and 323 days. * The pre-match underdogs have won six of the last 10 Super Bowls. * If the Rams beat the Bengals, they will become the third franchise to win Super Bowls despite being based in two cities, after the Colts -- Baltimore and Indianapolis -- and the Raiders, who won in Oakland and Los Angeles.
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