The Los Angeles Rams won’t have to go far to enjoy a parade to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. The Rams rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, 23-20, marking the second year in a row a team has won the Super Bowl at its home turf.
The championship limited the win back to Los Angeles for the Rams, whose only other Super Bowl win was the St. Louis Rams in 2000. And the team’s home ground at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, also hosted a halftime gig. hip-hop with a West Coast flair.
The Rams needed more than 59 minutes to win Super Bowl LVI, with Cooper Kupp, the game’s brightest player, catching a short touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford with 1.25 games remaining. That puts the Rams first – again – and last.
LA started the game strong. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr scored the first goal after Stafford’s cross, giving the Rams an early lead. But the Bengals kept the game tight and took the lead thanks to first-half attacking play. The quarterback Joe Burrow hit a deep throw-in to wide receiver Tee Higgins, who jumped to catch and block Jalen Ramsey for a 75-yard touchdown, giving the Bengals a 16-13 lead. Playback videos show Higgins grabbing Ramsey by the mask and turning his head, a penalty not called.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Sean McVay, head coach of the Rams said in a post-match interview.
The Rams’ roster was assembled with a championship in mind: The team traded for Stafford, who played for the Detroit Lions, last season. Team officials signed Beckham Jr. in November. Both added an offense centered around Kupp, who has led the regular season in yards, touchdowns and hits. The team also added veteran quarterback Von Miller in November, who helped Aaron Donald deal with the Cincinnati defensive pressure. Donald stopped Bengals midfielder Joe Burrow in the final game of the game to win.
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The game’s midway show, at times, feels like an homage to the golden era of West Coast rap, with Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre performing Tupac Shakur’s song “California Love” – in line with Los Angeles, where the Rams had previously played for five decades before landing for St. Louis.
Both were joined by Southern Californian artist Kendrick Lamar, as well as New Yorkers Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Eminem of Detroit. NPR television critic Eric Deggans called the show “the most black-focused halftime show in Super Bowl history.”