Super Bowl LVI Brings New Excitement

Battle between teams lasts until final seconds


Delany Jepsen

In 2017 my family took a trip to Denver where we were able to view their three Super Bowl trophies. The Rams won their second Super Bowl on Feb. 13, 2022.

Super Bowl 56 was the most captivating Super Bowl in years. My entire life has been Friday night lights and Husker Saturdays. It is safe to say I grew up on football. If someone told me in August that the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams were going to be in the Super Bowl, I wouldn’t have believed it. My sarcastic response would be “Yeah, and Tom Brady will finally retire.”
Yet, both of these became a reality in February. This was finally a game I was excited to watch with no interruptions, a star-studded halftime show and a variety of commercials.
The playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl were an exciting spectacle with close games won by their kickers, who finally got some recognition. The Bengals earned their spot with a comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime with a field goal from Evan McPherson in his first year in the league. The story is similar for the Rams. In a match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, kicker Matt Gay completed the winning field goal in the final seconds of the game.
I was excited for the Bengals because of their Nebraska roots. Quarterback Joe Burrow’s dad played for the Huskers and was an assistant coach in the early 2000s. Head Coach Zac Taylor was the quarterback for Nebraska in 2005-2006.
Therefore, I always looked forward to watching Joe Burrow lead his team throughout the season with an underdog mentality. The Bengals won two games in the 2019 season before drafting Burrow. However, they had a tough match-up against the Rams and their defense.
The Rams are no strangers to the Super Bowl stage with a 13-3 loss in Super Bowl 53 to Tom Brady’s Patriots. Coach Sean McVay was back for redemption led by veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. Dynamic players and a defense led by Aaron Donald made them the favorites to win.
I love an underdog team, but I also enjoy watching the Rams defense destroy teams.
After the coin toss, the Rams gained possession of the ball. However, in the fourth play of the game, Matthew Stafford was sacked. Joe Burrow was given a chance, but couldn’t score either. The Rams were the first to score with a pass to Odell Beckham Jr. After watching him play with the Browns, he finally found his place.
Because of their weak offensive line, the Bengals had to rely on their rookie kicker McPherson. Thus began the back and forth between the two teams, which made it hard to look away. One of the most interesting moments came from the Ram’s extra point attempt after their second touchdown. The placeholder dropped the ball and decided to fix his mistake, failing a two-point conversion in the end zone. It gave me flashbacks to Nebraska’s woes. This whole moment was too chaotic to be real in the Super Bowl. Before halftime, the Bengals were finally able to score with some razzle-dazzle and trickery when wide receiver Tee Higgins threw the ball to Joe Mixon.
The Bengals received the ball after halftime and in a 12-second play, Joe Burrow threw an outstanding 75-yard pass to Tee Higgins for the lead. I almost couldn’t believe it as the momentum continued when Matthew Stafford was intercepted by Chidobe Awuzie. Now the Rams defense was determined as the Bengals picked a fight with Aaron Donald. Word of advice, don’t pick a fight with Aaron Donald. As I expected, Joe Burrow was sacked seven times by the end of the game. Finally, with one minute left in the game, an exhausted and highly penalized Bengals defense gave into the Rams as Cooper Kupp scored the game-winning touchdown. Burrow was given a final chance to make a comeback, only to throw a disappointing incomplete pass on fourth and one. It was a little sad to watch him walk heartbroken off of the field, but the Rams celebration was a joyful occasion.
Blue and yellow confetti fell onto the field as the Lombardi trophy was thrust into the air. Players were asked about retirement and I predict a few Rams players such as Aaron Donald and 40-year-old Andrew Whitworth will announce their retirement soon. Cooper Kupp was presented the Most Valuable Player award, adding to his outstanding season. Yet, I believe Donald should have been MVP for his ability to stop Burrow.
Overall, I was not disappointed or bored watching the game like I was for Super Bowl 53. I was rooting for both teams and while it was refreshing to see the Rams win, I look forward to next season where hopefully the Bengals will return. Joe Burrow has a bright future. While football season is officially over, I still keep up with current events such as the draft in April because truly, football is never over.