The Bandwagon Fan's Guide To The Super Bowl-Bound Los Angeles Rams
Whose house, indeed!
You've probably heard that a pretty big football game took place on Jan. 30 between the Rams and their bitter rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. And yes, the Rams won! Which means they play the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI (56) at SoFi Stadium on Feb. 13!
Even if you’re not the world’s biggest football fan, you might want to get ready for water cooler talk (does that even still exist at this point in the pandemic?). Maybe you're incredibly lucky and get offered tickets to the game, or get invited to a watch party, or just want to know what the social media frenzy is.
Fear not! We’re here to help you make sense of it all and maybe even pique your interest in becoming part of the Rams family — the Ramily!
What Teams Are Playing In The Super Bowl?
Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022 — Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood
- Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time on NBC — Veteran broadcaster Al Michaels, best known for his call of the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics, will handle play-by-play duties for the TV broadcast and former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth will be on color commentary.
The Rams enter the Super Bowl seeking the franchise's second-ever championship in the modern era, and first as an L.A. franchise. (They beat the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 when the team was based in St. Louis.) The Cincinnati Bengals are playing in their third Super Bowl in franchise history after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship — but they've never won it all.
How The Rams Got Here
After finishing the regular season with a record of 12-5 and earning a spot in the playoffs, the Rams cruised to a win over the upstart Arizona Cardinals in their first game. Then they went to Tampa Bay and took down the GOAT himself, Tom Brady, in the Divisional Round, and finally exorcised their demons against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl.
What Are The Key Storylines?
- Redemption: The Rams win against the 49ers advanced the team to their second Super Bowl in four years. Last time around, in Super Bowl LIII in 2019, the Rams lost to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 13-3.
- Living Up To Their Potential: The Rams were consistently one of the best teams in the NFL this year, but they've been plagued by miscues by players and coaches alike in their run up to the Super Bowl. The Rams won, but fumbled the ball four times in their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Against the 49ers in the NFC Championship, head coach Sean McVay burned through crucial timeouts and challenges with 10 minutes left in a close game — not good! The Bengals have proven that they can catch up when given opportunities, so the Rams need to limit their mistakes.
- Legacy: When the Rams left for St. Louis in 1994, it left an entire generation of Angelenos to grow up without a hometown football team. When they returned to L.A. in 2016, fans of the old L.A. Rams plugged back in and some new fans jumped on board too, but overall the team has struggled to organically grow their fan base in Southern California since coming back. It's likely L.A. will still be a Dodgers and Lakers town even if the Rams win, but a Super Bowl victory would be a good start.
- Hometown Pride: This year’s Super Bowl is right here in SoCal, which means that Rams fans get to watch their team compete on their home turf for a Super Bowl.
- History: The Rams' win in the NFC Championship makes it the second straight year a team gets to play for a Super Bowl in its home stadium. The Buccaneers became the first team in modern NFL history to play in a Super Bowl at their home stadium, and the first team to win one at home. Now, the Rams join the Bucs in the history books and will look to do it again on Super Bowl Sunday.
Why Now? Why These Men?
The Rams have employed a risky team-building strategy to get where they are, trading away a bunch of future draft picks to obtain elite talent at many positions. (And they even brought one of the NFL’s best defenders out of retirement.) The Rams haven't had a first-round draft pick since 2016 and won't have another until 2024, but none of that will matter if they're able to win the Super Bowl this year.
The Rams With Something To Prove
Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, #9
In 12 years with the Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford never won a playoff game. Since joining the Rams, he’s won two, including one over the GOAT himself, Tom Brady. At 33 and dealing with chronic back pain, this year could be his last best shot at a Super Bowl ring. His family has been through a lot off the field, too — in 2019, doctors discovered a tumor in his wife Kelly’s brain that required surgery to remove it. The road to recovery was long, and Kelly even had to relearn how to walk after her surgery. There’s no doubt Matthew wants to leave it all on the field for her and his team in the Super Bowl. And like his wife, Stafford is known for being tough — like the time he separated his shoulder and came back into the game to throw a game-winning touchdown.
Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, #3
“OBJ” signed with the Rams midway through this year after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns amid a falling out with that team's quarterback and coaching staff. Beckham’s been known to wear his heart on his sleeve, a trait that hasn't always brought him the best publicity — in 2016 when he was with the New York Giants, he took out his frustrations on an innocent kicking net. (It was a fight he ended up losing.)
He also once punched out an unsuspecting water cooler after a frustrating loss in 2020. But Beckham seems to have embraced the team spirit since joining the Rams.
After Sunday's win against the 49ers, OBJ stepped away from the team celebration to console San Francisco wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who was visibly distraught after his team's loss.
We don't know what OBJ said to Deebo yet, but it sure looked like they were having a heartfelt exchange. What we do know is that since coming to Los Angeles, Beckham has six touchdowns in ten games as a Ram, compared to seven in 29 games with Cleveland, and seems to have found a home in SoCal. Which is good, because when he’s on, the guy can do stuff like this.
Von Miller, Linebacker, #40
Von Miller will never have to buy himself a beer in the city of Denver again. The beloved former Broncos linebacker spent each of his first 11 years in the Mile High City, leading Denver to two Super Bowl appearances and a victory in Super Bowl 50, where he was named MVP. Midway through the 2021 season he was unexpectedly traded to the Rams, something Miller says was bittersweet for him.
But considering he’ll be playing in his third Super Bowl and his former team will be watching him from the couch, we think he’s happy he landed in L.A. If you’re watching the game on TV, watch for shots of Von walking into the stadium before the game. His fit is always fresh and he’s considered to be one of the most unique and fashionable dressers in the league by his peers.
The Ram You’d Want On Your Zombie Apocalypse Survival Squad
Aaron Donald, Defensive Lineman, #99
Let’s examine his resumé. Peak physical condition? Check.
Strength and speed combo? Check. Watch him push around a six-foot four-inch, 310 pound offensive lineman like a shopping cart.
Nerf gun skills? Check.
Able to play volleyball with *checks notes* a medicine ball? Not quite sure when this would come in handy, but ... yeah. Check.
We’ve seen enough. He’s hired.
The Rams' Best Trash Talker
Jalen Ramsey, Cornerback, #5
Jalen Ramsey is VERY good at football, and he’s not afraid to remind you.
But it’s not all talk — he’s considered among the very best players at his position in the league and is regularly assigned to cover the best wide receiver on the opposing team. A former top 5 overall draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he came to the Rams via trade during the 2019 season and is the leader of L.A.’s defensive backfield. He’ll be asked to help cover Cincinnati's best receiver — the lightning-fast rookie Ja'Marr Chase — and the one-on-one battle between the two promises to be an exciting matchup to watch.
The Best Name On The Team
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, #10
Honorable mentions go to Rams running back Jake Funk but 10 has this one wrapped up. You’ll hear Rams fans chant “COOOOP” when he makes a catch. Kupp wasn’t a high-profile name coming out of college, but all he’s done since turning pro is cause trouble for defenses. This year, his 1,947 receiving yards led the league and broke the record for most by a wide receiver in a single season! In the NFC Championship, he gashed the 49ers defense for 142 yards and two touchdown catches in the Rams' win. He’s quick, smart and has a penchant for making defenders miss.
The Ram You’d Want Cheering You On At A Marathon Finish Line
Sean McVay, Head Coach
Few head coaches in the NFL look like they’re having as much fun with their jobs as Sean McVay does when he’s on the sideline. I mean, what team wouldn’t want a head coach who runs into the end zone to celebrate a touchdown at the risk of incurring a penalty?
At just 30, McVay became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when the Rams hired him in 2017. Since he took the job, the Rams have made the playoffs in four of five years and have never had a losing record during the regular season. The players love him, the franchise loves him, the fans love him, and it’s not hard to see why. In the past, he's gotten so excited sometimes that he has to have a coach follow him around and pull him off the field!
Year Of The Tiger: The Bengals That Could Cause Trouble For LA
Joe Burrow, Quarterback, #9
Joe Cool. Joe Brrrrr. Joey Franchise. Joe Burrow has a lot of nicknames, but the only title he's interested in having is "Super Bowl Champion."
Burrow has been the conductor of the Bengals' electric run to the Super Bowl, and he's won the hearts of die-hard fans and casual watchers alike with his down-to-earth demeanor, million-dollar smile and affable nature, with just a sprinkle of swagger.
Yes, Burrow is one cool customer. And he's not afraid to show a little of that confidence now and again.
But Burrow's more than just a likeable guy. He's an absolute DUDE on the football field who has won everywhere he's played. In high school, he led his team in Athens, Ohio to the playoffs three straight years. In college he won the Heisman Trophy in 2019 en route to leading Louisiana State University to a national championship. After a promising rookie season was cut short last year when he tore his ACL, Burrow came back this year and led his team to the Super Bowl. If he wins, he'll become the first NFL player ever to win a Heisman, a national championship and a Super Bowl.
Ja'Marr Chase, Wide Receiver, #1
Ja'Marr Chase is only a rookie. In his first NFL season, he broke the Bengals franchise record for most receiving yards in a single season with 1,455, which was also fourth-most in the league this year. And he's ONLY a rookie. His blazing speed, fancy footwork and sure hands have earned him a place at the table among the best wide receivers in the NFL. And if that wasn't enough to strike fear into the hearts of Rams fans, he and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow have a special connection — they were college teammates at Louisiana State University when they won the national championship.
The two share a deep bond both on and off the field, and that connection incubated in college has only grown stronger now that the two are teammates once again in the NFL.
Chase will lead the Bengals' trio of dangerous wide receivers on Sunday, and he along with teammates Tee Higgins (#85) and Tyler Boyd (#83) will keep the Rams busy all game.
Evan McPherson, Kicker, #2
The difference between being the hero and the goat? Literally the width of a goal post.
Though he's only a rookie, Evan McPherson has been about as good as anyone at kicking field goals this year. He made 28 of his 33 attempts in the regular season and is 12 for 12 so far in the playoffs, including the overtime winner versus the Kansas City Chiefs that sent the Bengals to the Super Bowl.
If it comes down to another last second field goal on Sunday, as several playoff games already have this year, the Bengals will be confident that McPherson's foot can deliver them their first Super Bowl.
Tell Me About The Rams' Stadium
As mentioned, the Rams play at SoFi Stadium, first opened in 2020 for the cost of $5 billion. My colleague Sharon McNary wrote about how it landed in Inglewood.
I'm Firmly On The Bandwagon. Can I Go To The Big Game?
You might still be able to score some very expensive tickets, but let’s call it like it is — if you’re going to the game on Sunday, it’s not going to be easy getting in and out of Inglewood. Whether you drive yourself, call a ride-share or take public transportation, there’s going to be crowds, traffic and possibly long waits. Best to come prepared!
- Ride-share: The drop-off and pick-up spot for ride-shares is on Kareem Court and Manchester Drive at The Forum, across Pincay Drive from SoFi Stadium. Same rules apply for if you were driving in — expect to have to wait for a bit to get close to the stadium, and in particular if you’re taking ride-share home after the game. I attended the game against the 49ers on January 9 and observed very long lines of people waiting outside The Forum to be picked up. You can find ride-share information for SoFi Stadium here.
- Public Transportation: It might take longer than driving or catching a ride-share, but it’s probably the least expensive option for getting to and from the game. The most direct route is to take bus or rail to the Hawthorne/Lennox stop on the Metro Green Line, and then hop the SoFi Stadium Express Shuttle from there to the gates. There are also park-and-ride options at other rail stops in the area, and you can reserve a spot there ahead of time. Metro recommends downloading its Transit App to your mobile device to plan your trip if you’re planning to take public transport to the game. You can also check out our guide to taking public transportation to the Super Bowl.
- Parking: No surprises here — it's going to be expensive if you want to get a spot close to the stadium. At last check, the cheapest available garage that isn't west of the 405 was charging $300. If you’re going to bite the bullet and drive in to Inglewood for the game, we recommend carpooling with your group and splitting the cost of a parking pass among everyone. You could also try your luck searching in the areas around SoFi for individuals who have available spots on their lot, but that can be hit or miss. You can find more info and purchase parking through SoFi Stadium's website here. You can also check out our guide to Super Bowl parking here.
Bonus: What's A Random Fact I Can Drop At My Super Bowl Party?
The Rams Are ... Not The Home Team? Limber up for some mental gymnastics here. Yes, the Super Bowl is being played at the Rams' house, SoFi Stadium. But the NFL alternates each year which conference — the AFC or the NFC — gets to be the home team. This year, it's the AFC's turn. So, while the Rams are playing on their home field, they'll be considered the away team in the game.