by Max Osias ’24
Published Feb. 16th, 2022
Super Bowl LVI saw two convincing underdog stories converge in classic fashion at SoFi Stadium, with the young Cincinnati Bengals taking on the hometown Rams in a compelling matchup. While the Rams came out on top, the Bengals proved themselves as one of the league’s top teams, with an inspired effort that breathed new life into the city of Cincinnati.
Second-year QB Joe Burrow led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl since 1988 in a playoff run headlined by a statement victory over Patrick Mahomes and the defending conference champs. At the beginning of the season, the Bengals had 80 to 1 odds to make the Super Bowl. Head Coach Zac Taylor made note of this in his speech whilst being presented the Lamar Hunt trophy, claiming that “This is a special team… and we believed that from the get-go whether people believed in us or not.”
Over in the NFC, Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams found themselves in the Super Bowl after a tough win over their rivals in San Francisco. Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr, and Von Miller all came up clutch, proving themselves worthy of the draft capital required to land them.
During the big game, the Rams were looking good in the first until Odell Beckahm Jr. suffered a no contact injury late in the second half. The loss of Beckham’s leadership proved critical, as their offense and defense both lost momentum, allowing Cincy to rally back.
A controversial no-call on a physical play by Bengals wideout Tee Higgins gave the Bengals a 75-yard TD to open the first half, setting the tone for a Bengals lead that looked to hold strong. However, Stafford in the Rams pulled out yet another fourth quarter miracle, finishing with a touchdown snag by OPOY Cooper Kupp, who picked up Super Bowl MVP honors after the game.
Ultimately, poor offensive line play did the Bengals in, as Aaron Donald and the Rams D-line had no trouble putting pressure on Burrow, essentially handcuffing the Bengals deep-play ability. The Rams had plenty of players who entered Sunday with lots to prove, with players like Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, and OBJ cementing themselves as champions.
While the Rams were the obvious favorites to win, the Bengals fought hard and energized the game with big plays, delivering on one of the most promising SB matchups in recent memory.