Super Bowl LVI recap & look ahead

Ryan Stojetz

Last month, the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI by a score of 23-20. The game featured a very fascinating matchup, as the respective franchises had very different types of teams.

The Cincinnati Bengals got to the Super Bowl by defying the odds during an incredible playoff run which included victories over the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, as well as the franchise’s first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1988-1989 season.

The Bengals improbable trip to the Super Bowl was fueled by an up and coming team which was led by young stars such as quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

On the other hand, the Los Angeles Rams have now made the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and before Super Bowl LVI, their most recent trip to the Super Bowl occurred during the 2018-2019 season.

This season, the Rams were a team loaded with experienced superstars who have played at a high level for a long time, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and defensive end Aaron Donald.

Heading into the game, many football fans felt that the game featured a very likable matchup, meaning that both teams were easy to root for and that they wouldn’t have a major issue with either team winning.

In hindsight, the game was a thriller, featuring big time plays from big time players. The first half was hard fought, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who the Rams signed in the middle of this season, scored the game’s first points by hauling in a touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford.

After that point, the Rams led for the entirety of the first half, and ultimately took a 13-10 lead into halftime. However, the tide quickly turned as early in the 3rd quarter, Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins hauled in a deep touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Burrow, while working against highly regarded Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

The Bengals would play with a lead for nearly all of the second half. They even led by a score of 20-16 with less than two minutes remaining in the game. 

One of the big time players making a big time play was when Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp in the endzone to put the Rams back on top late in the game.

That catch was Kupp’s second touchdown reception of the game. Additionally, it capped off an incredible fifteen play drive executed by the Rams offense that will most certainly be remembered by football fans for a long time.

The Rams defense then went on to make a final stand, as the Bengals were unable to convert on a 4th down and 1 near midfield. 

On the Bengals’ final offensive play, Rams star defender Aaron Donald provided quick pressure on Joe Burrow and ultimately forced him to fling the ball away to avoid a sack.

A few minutes after the ball fell to the ground on that 4th down play, the Rams were officially on top of the football world. They were Super Bowl champs, and one of the most incredible NFL postseasons had come to an end.

As with every Super Bowl, there were many different types of emotions and reactions following the game.

Senior Saul Galvan, a member of the Nazareth Broadcast Team, had this to say about the game, “I did find the game very entertaining, probably one of the best Super Bowls that I’ve seen. It felt different to have two teams that hadn’t been to the Super Bowl ever or in a while. From the commercials to the halftime show, I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Galvan expressed a belief that is popular among football fans. Super Bowl LVI was an enjoyable game that featured two teams that were fun to watch.

Galvan was hoping to see a Bengals victory, but still expressed happiness that some of the veteran stars on the Rams were able to win their first championships.

 “I’ll be honest, I was rooting for the Bengals to win. I’m always for the underdog which was clearly the Bengals and I’m also a big Joe Burrow fan,” Galvan said. “It was definitely a close game, and while I wish Joe Burrow was smoking another cigar in celebration, I’m glad guys like Stafford, Donald, and Beckham all finally got rings after years of waiting. Bengals will be back though, hopefully next year against the Bears,” Galvan added. 

Social Studies teacher and moderator for the Nazareth Broadcast Team Erich Kittlaus, like Galvan, felt the game was entertaining and a fun one to watch.

“I did think that this was the most entertaining Super Bowl that we’ve had in a while. Usually the conference championships are great games and then the Super Bowl is something of a letdown. I also really didn’t care who won between these teams which helped to just enjoy the game as well” Kittlaus said.

As someone who grew up in the Los Angeles area, Kittlaus offered a unique perspective on a team from Los Angeles winning a Super Bowl in their own city.

“While I really don’t care about the Rams I thought it was a cool moment for Southern California. I grew up around the LA area, and it was always strange being by such a huge city without an NFL team. The Rams and Raiders both left when I was 8. So to see LA host and win a Super Bowl in such an amazing stadium has filled such a huge void and was pretty cool to see,” Kittlaus said. 

Kittlaus also expressed a desire shared by many people in the Chicago area, to see the Bears win a championship,“In the absence of a local NFL team growing up I found my way to the Bears, so I’m really hoping in the next few years Chicago gets to experience winning a championship in our own state of the art stadium,” Kittlaus said.

Now, football fans all across the world are faced with the offseason. The next time NFL players will be seen in some form of football action will be when training camps open across the league in late July.

Since this past NFL season, and the Super Bowl especially, sent many football fans on a roller coaster of emotions, it seemed only right to look back on Super Bowl LVI one more time before fully turning the page.

Now, even though Super Bowl LVII is nearly a year away, NFL fans across the world are already dreaming of their teams becoming Super Bowl champs, and many of them are asking themselves that ominous question that is often used as a rallying cry: Why not us?