Rams’ all-in gamble pays off

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The vince lombardi trophy for the superbowl
Image courtesy of marca.com

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Sofi Stadium, making this the second consecutive year where a team has won the Super Bowl in their own stadium. While there would have been excellent stories surrounding the possibility of the Bengals winning, there were more compelling story lines that took place because of the Rams winning their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

During his first season with the Rams, quarterback Matthew Stafford won the 2021 Super Bowl after defeating the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. This came after spending 12 years in Detroit with zero playoff wins. 

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth was awarded the Walter Payton Man of The Year Award. Whitworth, 40, is set to retire as a world champion after defeating the Bengals, a team which he spent 10 years with. 

Les Snead is the current general manager for the Los Angeles Rams. His boom or bust approach to managing the team paid off after making trades for Von Miller, Sony Michel, Matthew Stafford in 2020 and Jalen Ramsey in 2019. This year, the Rams were more determined to win the Super Bowl than in previous years. The trades the team made during the offseason and mid season put them in a bad position for next season. The Rams only have a fifth round draft pick and two seventh round draft selections, but that matters less after their big win.

Rams’ head coach, Sean McVay, is the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl at 36 years old. After a heartbreaking Super Bowl loss in 2018, McVay rebounded with a revamped roster and new quarterback in order to win against the upstart Bengals. He has much more of his career ahead of him than behind.

Rams’ safety, Eric Weddle, just rejoined the game this season after two years of retirement. During just the first quarter of the game, Weddle tore his pectoral muscle following his tackle of Cincinnati’s wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, however, he was not taken completely out of the game because he was also the defensive play caller for the Rams during the Super Bowl. Weddle will have surgery to repair his torn pectoral and has confirmed he is going back into retirement.

Three-time defensive player of the year, Aaron Donald, who was voted by NFL players to be the best player in 2019, won his first championship after eight years in the league. Recording two sacks after applying pressure and being double teamed throughout the evening, Donald forced an incomplete pass on 4th and 1st with less than 45 seconds left in the game to officially seal the victory for the Rams. 

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp ended the evening as Super Bowl 2021 MVP as well as being the 2021 Offensive Player Of The Year for the regular season. The pressure was apparent for the Rams as they traded their notable draft picks, switched quarterbacks with the Detroit Lions, and hosted their own Super Bowl as a loss would have destroyed the team. After catching a touchdown for the Rams in the first quarter, Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a non-contact knee injury. Beckham signed with the Rams on Nov. 11, 2021 after a fallout with the Cleveland Browns. He was expected to step up right away in place of the injured wide receiver, Robert Woods. 

The Super Bowl Halftime Show was the culmination of a long overdue showcase despite some backlash. Headlined by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, featuring 50 Cent; the halftime performance was well received by Cincinnati Bengals Kicker, Evan Mcpherson on the bench, and was true nostalgia for the Los Angeles music scene of the 1990’s.

In regard to the Cincinnati Bengals, they were hampered by an atrocious offensive line that gave up seven sacks on Joe Burrow leading to one point in the game where Burrow was holding his right knee in pain.  During the Super Bowl, Burrow completed 22 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown following an NFL Comeback Player of The Year award. The Bengals were explosive offensively when they wanted to be, but without scoring in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati fumbled the opportunity to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Bengals head coach, Zac Taylor, has had a regular season record of 16 wins, 32 losses and one tie during his three years with Cincinnati.

There were some dorm watch parties on campus at TJC, with students like Kevin Harris in attendance. “I thought the Super Bowl was a good game. It went by really fast because there were rarely any penalties and that’s a blessing. I wasn’t rooting for anybody in particular, but it was nice to see my favorite player win a ring because I felt that Matthew [Stafford] spent most of his prime years wasted in Detroit. I was rooting for Joe Burrow but he’s only in his second year and I have a feeling that he’ll be back,” Harris said.

The Super Bowl was great gameplay wise and it was accompanied by a stellar halftime show, but the commercials were somewhat lackluster as they were more about celebrity name value rather than actually selling a product. The commercials will be remembered by fans, however, the messages and products of the commercials will be largely forgotten. 

Overall, a great game for Rams fans and a game to build upon for the Bengals for their future as they hopefully can make another. The Bengals will have plenty of chances to reach a Super Bowl again in the near future as quarterback Joe Burrow is only 25 years old. As for the Rams, they have no regrets about their moves to go all-in in order to win the Super Bowl.