Super Bowl LVI[12] was an American football game played to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2021 season. The National Football Conference (NFC) champion Los Angeles Rams defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Cincinnati Bengals, 23–20. The game was played on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, the home stadium of the Rams, marking the second consecutive and second overall Super Bowl to feature a team playing and winning in its home stadium.[13][14][15][16]

The Rams' victory was their second, first as a Los Angeles-based team, and first since 1999's Super Bowl XXXIV when they were based in St. Louis. Finishing with a 12–5 record, the Rams reached their fifth appearance after acquiring veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had not won a playoff game in his previous 12 years with the Detroit Lions. The Bengals, who finished with a 10–7 record, were seeking their first Super Bowl title following several decades of losing seasons and playoff struggles. They won their first playoff game since 1990, ending the longest drought in the four major North American sports, en route to their third Super Bowl appearance and first since 1988's Super Bowl XXIII. Each team finished the regular season as their respective conference's 4-seed, making this the first Super Bowl without a top-3 seed since seeding was introduced in 1975.[17]

The game had three lead changes and mostly kept within a one-possession margin. Los Angeles led 13–10 at halftime, but the Bengals scored 10 straight points on their first two drives in the third quarter. Trailing 20–16 in the fourth, the Rams scored a touchdown to retake the lead with under two minutes remaining and stopped Cincinnati's final drive on downs. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who converted a fourth down on the Rams' final drive and scored the game-winning touchdown, was named Super Bowl MVP.

NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl LVI was the second-most watched in the game's history, marking a shift from several years of declining ratings. Seen by an average of 112.3 million total viewers on both NBC and its streaming platforms,[18] the game's ratings were up by 8% from the previous Super Bowl.[19]

Background

Host selection process

SoFi Stadium in November 2021

In contrast to most previous Super Bowls no bids were accepted for Super Bowl LVI. The bids for Super Bowl LIII, Super Bowl LIV and Super Bowl LV were all drawn from the same pool of candidates in a meeting on May 24, 2016. Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay were the four candidates for the three contests; Atlanta received Super Bowl LIII, Miami received Super Bowl LIV and Los Angeles (which declined to bid on Super Bowl LIV and was not eligible for Super Bowl LIII) was granted Super Bowl LV.[20]

On May 18, 2017, authorities announced that the opening of Los Angeles's new stadium, SoFi Stadium, originally scheduled for the start of the 2019 season, had been delayed a year to 2020. As a result, at the league's owners meetings in Chicago on May 23, 2017, the league re-awarded Super Bowl LV to the lone remaining candidate, Tampa Bay, and awarded Super Bowl LVI to Los Angeles.[21]

The official logo for the game was unveiled on February 9, 2021, maintaining the standard design used since Super Bowl LI, but introducing designs reflecting the landscape of the host region (in this case, a sunset with palm trees) within the traditional Roman numerals.[22]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

In early January 2022, it was reported that AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, was being considered as an alternate site for the game as a contingency due to a surge of COVID-19 infections in California attributed to the Omicron variant. The stadium last hosted Super Bowl XLV in 2011.[23] However, the NFL later confirmed on January 13 that the game would remain at SoFi Stadium.[24]

Attendance at the game was not limited, unlike Super Bowl LV in 2021, which was played with an audience at 37% of the capacity.[25][26] Fans who went to the Super Bowl festivities prior to the game and those who attended the Super Bowl received a free KN95 mask.[27] Fans attending the game were required to show proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test that was taken within 48 hours, or a negative antigen test that was taken within 24 hours.[25][28] The proof of vaccination requirement had been implemented for large outdoor events in Los Angeles County since October 2021.[29]

Those requesting media accreditation for the Super Bowl and playoffs were required to be fully vaccinated, and have received at least one booster dose of vaccine.[30]

Teams

Los Angeles Rams

Cooper Kupp was the first player since 2005 to obtain the receiving triple crown

The Los Angeles Rams finished the 2021 season with a 12–5 record under fifth-year head coach Sean McVay.[31] This was their fifth Super Bowl appearance, third as a Los Angeles-based team, and second under McVay. The franchise held a 1–3 Super Bowl record prior to the game, winning Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999 as the St. Louis Rams.[32] They also won two pre-Super Bowl era championships in 1945 as the Cleveland Rams and 1951 during their first stint in Los Angeles.[33]

After the Rams lost 2018's Super Bowl LIII, quarterback Jared Goff suffered a decline in production, which led to tension between Goff and McVay.[34] Ahead of the 2021 season, the Rams traded Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for 12-year veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.[35] Selected first overall by the Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft, Stafford held an 0–3 playoff record, but ranked in the top 20 of major passing categories and was considered more suited to Los Angeles' offense.[36] The team made another significant acquisition midway through the season when they traded a second- and third-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos for eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller.[37] A few weeks later, they signed free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection, after he was released by the Cleveland Browns.[38]

The Rams offense ranked ninth in yards (6,325) and tied with the Bengals for eighth in points scored (460).[39] Stafford had career highs in touchdowns (41) and completion percentage (67.2), although he led the league in interceptions (17).[40] He also set franchise records for single-season pass completions (404) and passing yards (4,886), while tying the passing touchdowns record.[41] Wide receiver Cooper Kupp became the fourth NFL player and first since 2005 to obtain the receiving triple crown by leading the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947), and receiving touchdowns (16).[42] The Offensive Player of the Year, his receiving yards and receptions were both the second-most in a season.[43][44] Kupp was joined by wide receiver Van Jefferson, who had 802 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, and tight end Tyler Higbee, who had 560 receiving yards.[31] Beckham added 537 yards and 5 touchdowns, helping fill the absence of the injured Robert Woods.[45] The team's leading rusher at 845 yards was running back Sony Michel, who was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots after Cam Akers missed most of the regular season with an Achilles tendon injury.[46][47] Akers returned to the active roster ahead of the playoffs.[48] Running back Darrell Henderson added 688 rushing yards until he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 16.[49] The Rams' offensive line was led by 16-year veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth, who spent his first 11 seasons with the Bengals.[50]

Defensively, the Rams ranked 17th in yards allowed (5,863) and 15th in points allowed (372).[51] Named to the Pro Bowl were defensive tackle Aaron Donald (eighth selection), who led the team in sacks (12.5), and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (fifth selection), whose 4 interceptions were tied with safety Taylor Rapp for the most on the team.[31] Linebacker Leonard Floyd complemented Donald with 9.5 sacks and Miller had 5 sacks after joining the team. The safety tandem of Rapp (64 solo tackles, 94 total) and Jordan Fuller (63 solo tackles, 113 total) had the most solo and combined tackles for the Rams, respectively.[47] Following an injury in the regular season finale that forced Fuller to miss the playoffs, Los Angeles signed six-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle, who retired in 2019 after playing for the Rams.[52][53] On special teams, placekicker Matt Gay earned Pro Bowl honors after leading the league in field goal percentage (94.1).[54]

Cincinnati Bengals

Ja'Marr Chase set the Super Bowl era record for rookie receiving yards

The Cincinnati Bengals finished the season with a 10–7 record under third-year head coach Zac Taylor.[55] This was their third Super Bowl appearance, following 1981's Super Bowl XVI and 1988's Super Bowl XXIII. After losing both, the Bengals saw little success and had not won a playoff game since the 1990 season, which was the longest active drought in the four major North American sports.[56]

Entering the 2021 season, the Bengals were considered unlikely to make the Super Bowl.[57] They finished the previous three seasons at the bottom of the AFC North and had not made the playoffs since 2015. Cincinnati was also only two years removed from a league-worst 2–14 record during Taylor's first season. This finish granted the Bengals the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, which they used to select Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow.[58][59] Burrow posted strong numbers as a rookie, but won only two games before his season was cut short by a knee injury. In the following year's draft, Cincinnati used the fifth overall pick on wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who was Burrow's teammate at LSU.[60][61] The team also drafted placekicker Evan McPherson in the fifth round.[62] On defense, the Bengals signed free agent defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who was coming off a breakout season with the New Orleans Saints.[63] Defensive tackles Larry Ogunjobi and B. J. Hill were also acquired through free agency and a trade with the New York Giants, respectively.[64][65][66]

The reunion of Burrow and Chase brought success to the Bengals, whose offense went from 29th in yards (5,116) and points scored (311) the previous season to 13th in yards (6,145) and eighth (tied with the Rams) in points scored (460).[67][39] In his first full season, Burrow led the league in completion percentage (70.4) and average yards per attempt (8.9), despite also leading the league in sacks taken (51).[68][69] He set the season franchise records for passing yards (4,611) and touchdowns (34), along with the franchise record for single-game passing yards (525), and was named Comeback Player of the Year.[70][44] Chase was fourth in receiving yards (1,455) and third in receiving touchdowns (13), both of which led the AFC.[71] The Offensive Rookie of the Year, his receiving yards were the most for a rookie in the Super Bowl era and he set the rookie record for receiving yards in a game (266).[72][73] Complementing Chase was wide receiver Tee Higgins, who obtained 1,081 receiving yards, making the Bengals one of only five teams with two 1,000 yard-receivers.[74][71] Wide receiver Tyler Boyd further bolstered the receiving corps with 828 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.[75] Tight end C. J. Uzomah, who missed most of the previous year with a torn Achilles, had a breakout season by setting career highs in receiving yards (493) and touchdowns (5).[76] Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon was third in the NFL in rushing yards (1,205) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (13), while also recording 314 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns.[77]

Cincinnati's defense was 18th in yards allowed (5,964) and 17th in points allowed (376). Hendrickson ranked fifth in sacks (14), earning him his first Pro Bowl selection.[78] Rounding out the defensive line, Hill had 5.5 sacks and 50 combined tackles, Ogunjobi had 7 sacks and 49 combined tackles, and defensive end Sam Hubbard had 7.5 sacks and 62 combined tackles.[55] Linebacker Logan Wilson led the team in interceptions (4) and combined tackles (100), while safety Jessie Bates had the most solo tackles (62).[74] McPherson, who was named to the 2021 PFWA All-Rookie Team, set the franchise records for the most 50-yard field goals converted in a season (9) and the longest field goal converted (58).[79]

Playoffs

The Rams won their Wild Card matchup against the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals in a 34–11 rout, marking the first career postseason win for Stafford.[80] In the Divisional Round, the Rams took a 27–3 lead against the defending Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but committed a series of fumbles that led to the Buccaneers tying the game with 42 seconds remaining. Nevertheless, Stafford drove the Rams 63 yards off two passes to Kupp, which allowed Gay to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired.[81] The NFC Championship Game pitted the Rams against the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, who swept them in the regular season and held a 6–0 record in games with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.[82] Los Angeles trailed 17–7 entering the fourth quarter, but scored 13 unanswered points to take the lead with under two minutes remaining. The rally was marked by San Francisco committing several miscues, including 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt dropping a potential interception.[83] On the 49ers' final drive, Donald forced a pass from Garoppolo that was intercepted by linebacker Travin Howard to secure the 20–17 victory.[84] Higbee suffered a knee injury during the game that forced him to miss the Super Bowl.[85]

The Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26–19 in the Wild Card Round for their first playoff victory since 1990, ending the longest drought in the four major North American sports.[86] However, Ogunjobi suffered a foot injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the postseason.[87] Their victory also came with controversy when a touchdown pass from Burrow to Boyd appeared to be whistled dead by an official before Boyd caught the ball.[88] Cincinnati defeated the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round 19–16 off a last-second field goal by McPherson, which was the franchise's first away playoff win.[89] The victory occurred despite Burrow being sacked nine times, tying Warren Moon's 1993 postseason record and making him the most-sacked quarterback to win a playoff game.[90] McPherson also became the first kicker to convert four field goals in separate rounds of the same postseason.[91] In the AFC Championship Game against the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati fell into a 21–3 deficit during the first half, but rallied to take a 24–21 lead in the fourth quarter. The game went into overtime, in which safety Vonn Bell intercepted Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the first drive and McPherson converted a 31-yard field goal to send the Bengals to their first Super Bowl since 1988.[92] Cincinnati's 18-point comeback was tied with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts for the largest in a conference championship.[93][94]

Pre-game notes

Pre-game warmups

This was the first Super Bowl to be played on the second Sunday in February, following the adoption of a 17-game schedule in 2021. From the 2003 to 2020 seasons, all Super Bowls were played on the first Sunday in February.[95]

The Rams became the first NFL team to have their home stadium host both a conference championship game and the Super Bowl in the same season.[96] However, the Rams were the designated visiting team as the home team alternates between the two conferences annually. Nevertheless, they still used their home locker room. The Bengals used the home locker room of the Los Angeles Chargers, who share the stadium with the Rams.[97] This was the Rams' second Super Bowl in their home market, along with 1979's Super Bowl XIV, which was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.[98]

As the designated home team, the Bengals chose to wear their home black jerseys with white pants. The Rams selected newly unveiled alternate white jerseys with yellow pants.[99]

The Bengals were the third team to make the Super Bowl after having the league's worst record two years earlier, following the 1981 San Francisco 49ers and the 2003 Carolina Panthers.[57]

With McVay at age 36 and Taylor at age 38, Super Bowl LVI featured the youngest pair of head coaches in Super Bowl history and was the first to have both under 40.[100] They were the two youngest head coaches in the league during the 2021 season. Taylor served on the Rams coaching staff under McVay from 2017 to 2018 and was hired as Cincinnati's head coach after Super Bowl LIII.[101] Whitworth, at age 40, was the first player in a Super Bowl to be older than both head coaches.[102]

This was the first Super Bowl in which both starting quarterbacks held career losing records in the regular season.[103] It was also the second in which both were first overall selections in the NFL Draft, along with Super Bowl 50. Burrow reached the Super Bowl faster than any previous quarterback taken first overall by doing so in his second NFL season.[104]

Entertainment

Pre-game ceremonies

Country singer Mickey Guyton performed "The Star-Spangled Banner", making her the first black female country singer to perform the national anthem at the game. She was backed by several background singers. Jhené Aiko, accompanied by harpist Gracie Sprout, performed "America the Beautiful". Sandra Mae Frank performed both songs in American Sign Language alongside Guyton and Aiko, with full coverage of the ASL performance available on the NBC Sports app.[105] Mary Mary, accompanied by the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing". Electronic music producer Zedd served as DJ during pre-game warmups.[106] The flyover was conducted by a 5-plane formation by the USAF Air Combat Command demonstration teams, comprising an A-10 Thunderbolt II, an F-16 Fighting Falcon, an F-22 Raptor and an F-35 Lightning II as well as a P-51 Mustang representing the Air Force Heritage Flight.[107] Former tennis player Billie Jean King then participated in the coin toss ceremony, honoring the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs.[5]

Halftime show

The halftime show was headlined by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, and it was widely praised.[108][6] Surprise appearances were made by 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak.[109] Deaf rappers Sean Forbes and Warren Snipe performed in American Sign Language during the show; this was the first time that American Sign Language was used during a halftime show at the Super Bowl.[7] Described as a "legends of hip hop" performance, evoking nostalgia and localizing the globally broadcast game to Southern California with Dre's performance, it was the third show in partnership with Jay Z's Roc Nation.[110][111] Eminem kneeled after his set as a tribute to Colin Kaepernick. A rumor claimed that Eminem had been told by the NFL to stand up rather than kneel.[110] However, an NFL spokesman told The New York Times that officials watched the taking the knee gesture "during rehearsals this week."[111][112] A list in Rolling Stone by Rob Sheffield praised the performance as an "old-school West Coast rap history lesson" and ranked it as the fourth-best Super Bowl halftime show of all time, behind those by Beyoncé, U2 and Prince. He wrote that Kendrick Lamar deserved his own full-length performance.[113]

Media coverage

United States

Super Bowl LVI was televised by NBC, as part of a one-time modification to the annual cycle among the three main broadcast television partners of the NFL.[114][115][116] The game was broadcast in Spanish by NBC's sister network Telemundo, marking the first time that a dedicated Spanish-language telecast aired on broadcast television.[117] The network employed additional goal line, sideline and end zone camera angles, and a new on-air graphics package. The broadcast featured a special introduction starring actress Halle Berry.[118]

Under the normal cycle the game would have been televised by CBS. However, in order to avoid counterprogramming the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing—which are televised exclusively by NBC—the NFL announced on March 13, 2019, that NBC had agreed to swap 2021's Super Bowl LV to CBS in exchange for Super Bowl LVI. This was the first Super Bowl to occur during the timeframe of an ongoing Olympic Games: primetime coverage of the Olympics would have had to compete with the Super Bowl—diluting viewership and advertising revenue for CBS and NBC,[115][116] and there is an unsaid gentleman's agreement between the NFL's broadcasters to not air competing original programming against the Super Bowl.[119] This swap gave NBC the rights to both events and the network planned to maximize the advertising revenue from both events (as it did for Super Bowl LII, which was held prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics).[114][115][116] NBC subsequently announced in November 2021 that a block of primetime coverage for the Winter Olympics will air after Super Bowl LVI in lieu of new entertainment programming.[120][121] The network promoted the events under the title "Super Gold Sunday".[118]

NBC constructed an outdoor stage overlooking Rivers Lake from which it broadcast studio programming and other sporting events being held over Super Bowl week, including the Premier League and, over Super Bowl weekend, primetime coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics;[122][123][124] the Premier League coverage was both for cross-promotion and due to the availability of NBC Sports' headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut being constrained by the Olympics.[125] Mike Tirico, who is the main host for NBC's coverage of both the NFL and Olympics, traveled back from Beijing part-way through the Games and hosted the remainder of the event from Stamford.[122][126][123] Alongside NBC's presences in and around SoFi Stadium, Telemundo originated a pre-game show from Plaza México in Lynwood to showcase California's Latino community.[124]

NBC's broadcast featured Al Michaels as the lead broadcaster with Cris Collinsworth as the analyst. Michele Tafoya reported from the Rams' sideline with Kathryn Tappen reporting from the Bengals’ sideline. This was Michaels' eleventh Super Bowl as a broadcaster, and his fifth since joining NBC in 2006. Collinsworth worked his fifth Super Bowl as an analyst, and his fourth since replacing John Madden as lead analyst. This would be the final game at NBC for both Michaels and Tafoya; following the game, Tafoya announced that she would be leaving her position to pursue other interests outside of sports broadcasting,[127] and Amazon Prime Video announced that Michaels would move to Thursday Night Football in the 2022 season.[128]

Continuing the NFL's deal with Verizon, the game was also available on the NFL mobile app and the Yahoo! Sports mobile app. The game was available on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and Peacock Premium.[129] As part of its partnerships with the league, Verizon offered "5G Multi-View" features for attendees at SoFi Stadium.[130]

The nationwide radio coverage was carried by Westwood One Sports. Kevin Harlan was the play-by-play commentator with analysis from Kurt Warner. Laura Okmin and Mike Golic were the sideline reporters for each team, and Gene Steratore served as the rules analyst for the broadcast. Scott Graham served as pregame and postgame host, with Willie McGinest as his co-host.

Advertising

NBC charged between $6.5 million and 7 million for a 30-second commercial at Super Bowl LVI; this was more than the $5.5 million that CBS was paid during the previous year.[131] Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Pepsi were among the sponsors that returned after skipping the previous Super Bowl due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.[132] Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, HBO Max, Netflix, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Peacock, AMC+ and Amazon Prime Video promoted their upcoming films and series during the game, including Jurassic World Dominion, Nope, Ambulance, The Lost City, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, The Adam Project, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Moon Knight, Uncharted, the DC Extended Universe's 2022 film slate, Bel-Air, Joe vs. Carole and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.[133][134][135]

The advertising during the game was noted for a high number of celebrity cameos and advertisements for futuristic technology, particularly for products like electric vehicles, virtual reality and cryptocurrency.[136][137][138][139] The large number of cryptocurrency-related ads drew comparisons to the dot-com commercials during Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000,[140][141] leading some to refer to the game as the "Crypto Bowl".[142][143] Critics, echoing their reception of the halftime show performance, noted that many ads prominently referenced media from the 1990s and 2000s, geared to evoke nostalgia among Generation X and Millennial audiences.[144][145][146]

The Super Bowl Ad Meter survey conducted by USA Today was won by Rocket Mortgage for their ad featuring Anna Kendrick advertising a Barbie toy house while facing the grim realities of the modern housing and real estate market.[147]

Ratings and viewership

The broadcast of Super Bowl LVI drew the second-largest Super Bowl audience in history, tied with Super Bowl 50, reversing and recuperating several years of decline, with a total of 112.3 million viewers. Around 101.1 million viewers watched Super Bowl LVI on linear television in the United States, representing an 8% increase from the previous year's game; 99.2 million viewers watched the broadcast on NBC and a further 1.9 million viewed the Spanish-language broadcast on Telemundo, the first Spanish-language broadcast to carry the Super Bowl. According to NBC, it had the largest audience in U.S. Spanish-language history.[18][148][149]

In addition to television ratings, Super Bowl LVI received 11.2 million viewers via streaming services (including co-viewing from connected devices), nearly doubling the record set by Super Bowl LV the year before, which received 5.7 million viewers via streaming.[150][151]

While viewership was up, household ratings were nearly at an all-time low. The game garnered an overall rating of 36.9, the lowest since Super Bowl III (36.0) and the third-lowest Super Bowl of all time.[148]

International

Game summary

First half

Running back Joe Mixon threw the Bengals' first touchdown pass

The Bengals won the coin toss and deferred to the second half; the Rams received the ball at the kickoff.[170] Cincinnati's Trey Hendrickson sacked Matthew Stafford, leading to a punt by Los Angeles. The Bengals drove towards midfield, but were stalled on fourth down, when Ernest Jones knocked down Joe Burrow's pass to Ja'Marr Chase.[171] Los Angeles took over at their own 49-yard-line. A 3rd-and-4 was converted with a 20-yard completion from Stafford to Cooper Kupp and the Rams got into the red zone on the next play with a 4-yard Henderson rush. Two plays later, the game's first score came by way of a 17-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Odell Beckham Jr. Unable to respond immediately, the Bengals went three-and-out, and Kevin Huber's punt was downed at the Los Angeles 28-yard-line. The Rams were similarly unproductive on their next drive, as a delay of game penalty erased a five-yard gain on first down and a catch by Van Jefferson on third down was short of a first down. Hekker's punt was returned to the Cincinnati 30-yard-line, where the Bengals started their next series. On the drive's second play, a 46-yard pass from Burrow to Chase advanced the ball to the Los Angeles 11-yard-line, though three straight incomplete passes forced a 29-yard field goal attempt, which was converted by Evan McPherson, making the score 7–3 Rams. After a touchback, the Rams got the ball on their own 25-yard-line; they ran one play, an Akers rush for a loss of one yard, before the first quarter ended.[170]

The Rams started the second quarter facing 2nd-and-11 on their own 24-yard-line. An unsuccessful deep pass from Stafford to Kupp was immediately followed by a 35-yard pass to Beckham and a 25-yard pass to Henderson. Now inside the red zone at the Cincinnati 16-yard-line, Henderson rushed for five yards before Stafford passed to Kupp for an 11-yard touchdown. The extra point was unsuccessful as Hekker mishandled the snap, then threw an interception to Germaine Pratt, keeping the Rams lead at 13–3. The ensuing kickoff was a touchback and the Bengals advanced the ball 75 yards in 14 plays, with Burrow completing 5/5 passes for 38 yards while Joe Mixon rushed 6 times for 26 yards. On the last play, Mixon took a pitch from Burrow and then passed to Tee Higgins on a halfback pass for a 6-yard-touchdown. Another touchback followed and the Rams began their drive with a pair of plays totaling 19 yards, which got them to their own 44-yard-line. After a knee injury to Beckham Jr., which sidelined him for the rest of the game,[172] a false start penalty backed them up five yards. The drive ended on 3rd-and-14 at the Bengals' 43-yard-line, when Stafford's pass downfield was intercepted Jessie Bates in the end zone for a touchback. The Bengals got possession at their own 10-yard-line (backed up ten yards as the result of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty). The short drive proved unsuccessful and they punted with 42 seconds remaining. The Rams responded with a drive that was even shorter, as they went three-and-out in 26 seconds and punted back to Cincinnati; Burrow then took a knee to end the half.[170]

Second half

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald sealed the Rams' victory by forcing Cincinnati's final pass to go incomplete

Cincinnati took their first lead of the game on the first play of the second half, when Burrow threw a deep pass to Higgins on near the left sideline, who was tangled up with defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Just before the ball arrived, Ramsey fell down, enabling Higgins to catch the pass uncontested and race to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown. Replays showed Higgins grabbing Ramsey's facemask before the catch, but no penalty flag was thrown and the touchdown stood, giving the Bengals a 17–13 lead.[173] Things worsened quickly for the Rams, as Stafford threw a pass that bounced off the hand of receiver Ben Skowronek and was intercepted at the Rams' 32-yard-line by Chidobe Awuzie. Cincinnati was able to capitalize with a 38-yard field goal made by McPherson; this had been pushed back nine yards following a sack by Aaron Donald on the previous play. Now leading by seven points, the Bengals kicked off for a touchback. Shortly into the drive, the Rams faced a 3rd-and-8, which they converted for 15 yards with a pass from Stafford to Henderson. Overall, the drive covered 11-plays and 52 yards, with Stafford completing 4/5 passes for 44 yards before Matt Gay's 41-yard field goal made the score 20–16 with 6:02 left in the third quarter. Four consecutive three-and-outs followed, with the Bengals punting with 43 seconds remaining in the quarter and the Rams running a single play, a five-yard Akers rush to the Cincinnati 47-yard-line, before the third quarter came to an end.[170]

The Rams punted three plays into the fourth quarter, giving the Bengals the ball at their own 16-yard-line. A 16-yard pass from Burrow to Boyd on second down went for a 16-yard gain, but from there the Cincinnati offense stalled and an unnecessary roughness penalty on third down forced a punt on 4th-and-29, which was returned to the Los Angeles 35-yard-line. The Rams punted the ball back after another three-and-out of their own, and Cincinnati took over after the punt went out of bounds at their 16-yard-line. A 12-yard rush by Mixon gained a first down on the drive's first play and a 3-yard pass from Burrow to Chris Evans then gained another first down on 3rd-and-2; however, Cincinnati was not able to gain another first down and punted three plays later on 4th-and-9. Receiving the ball on their own 21-yard-line, the Rams found themselves facing 4th-and-1 just four plays into the drive, but a 7-yard rush by Kupp on an end-around converted it for a first down. They reached Bengals' territory three plays later. A 22-yard pass from Stafford to Kupp a few plays afterwards got them to the Bengals' 24-yard-line and they reached the red zone with another Stafford to Kupp pass, this for 8 yards. After the two-minute warning, three incomplete passes followed, but a holding penalty on linebacker Logan Wilson gave the Rams a first down. After the next play (a touchdown cancelled by offsetting penalties against both teams), the Bengals' defensive back, Eli Apple, was flagged for pass interference in the end zone, bringing up first and goal from the 1. Two plays later, Stafford threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kupp, giving the Rams a 23–20 lead with 1:25 left on the clock. The Bengals got the ball back at their own 25-yard-line and quickly gained 26 yards on a 17-yard pass to Chase and a 9-yard catch by Boyd, respectively. After an incomplete pass, Donald and fellow lineman Greg Gaines tackled Samaje Perine for no gain, bringing up 4th-and-1. The Bengals decided to pass the ball for a first down, but Donald wrapped Burrow up before he could make the throw. He still managed to attempt a pass to Perine as he was being taken down, but the ball fell just short, causing a turnover on downs and enabling LA to run out the rest of the clock with a quarterback kneel.[170] Kupp was named the Super Bowl MVP, with eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns, including three receptions and a touchdown (as well as one carry for seven yards) on the Rams final drive.[174][175]

Box score

Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals — Game summary
1 2 34Total
Rams (NFC) 7 6 3723
Bengals (AFC) 3 7 10020

at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP LAR CIN
1 6:22 6 50 3:35 LAR Odell Beckham Jr. 17-yard touchdown reception from Matthew Stafford, Matt Gay kick good 7 0
1 0:28 6 59 1:41 CIN 29-yard field goal by Evan McPherson 7 3
2 12:51 6 75 2:37 LAR Cooper Kupp 11-yard touchdown reception from Stafford, 2-point pass failed 13 3
2 5:47 12 75 7:04 CIN Tee Higgins 6-yard touchdown reception from Joe Mixon, McPherson kick good 13 10
3 14:48 1 75 0:12 CIN Higgins 75-yard touchdown reception from Joe Burrow, McPherson kick good 13 17
3 10:15 8 11 4:23 CIN 38-yard field goal by McPherson 13 20
3 5:58 10 52 4:17 LAR 41-yard field goal by Gay 16 20
4 1:25 15 79 4:48 LAR Kupp 1-yard touchdown reception from Stafford, Gay kick good 23 20
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 23 20

Final statistics

Joe Burrow tied the Super Bowl record for sacks taken
Sean McVay was the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl

Statistical comparison

Team-to-team comparison[176]
Statistic Los Angeles Rams Cincinnati Bengals
First downs 18 15
First downs rushing 2 5
First downs passing 14 10
First downs penalty 2 0
Third down efficiency 6–15 3–14
Fourth down efficiency 1–1 1–3
Total net yards 313 305
Net yards rushing 43 79
Rushing attempts 23 20
Yards per rush 1.9 4.0
Yards passing 270 226
Passing–completions/attempts 26–41 23–34
Times sacked–total yards 2–13 7–43
Interceptions thrown 2 0
Punt returns–total yards 4–25 2–28
Kickoff returns–total yards 1–17 0–0
Interceptions–total return yards 0–0 2–1
Punts–average yardage 6–43.5 6–43.3
Fumbles–lost 0–0 0–0
Penalties–yards 2–10 4–31
Time of possession 30:47 29:13
Turnovers 2 0
Records set[177][178][179]
(Unless noted as "NFL Championships", "Single Postseason" or "Pro Football History", all records refer only to Super Bowls)
Youngest head coach, winning team 36 years, 20 days Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams)
Lowest yards per carry, winning team 1.9 Los Angeles Rams
Most sacks in any quarter 5 (third quarter) Los Angeles Rams
Records tied
Most sacks, team 7 Los Angeles Rams
Fastest second half touchdown 0:12 Tee Higgins (Cincinnati Bengals)
Most sacks, player, career[180] 4.5 Von Miller (Los Angeles Rams)

Individual statistics

Los Angeles Rams statistics[176]
Rams passing
C/ATT1 Yds TD INT Rating
Matthew Stafford 26/40 283 3 2 89.6
Cooper Kupp 0/1 0 0 0 39.6
Rams rushing
Car2 Yds TD Lg3 Yds/Car
Cam Akers 13 21 0 8 1.6
Cooper Kupp 1 7 0 7 7.0
Darrell Henderson 4 7 0 5 1.8
Matthew Stafford 3 6 0 7 2.0
Sony Michel 2 2 0 3 1.0
Rams receiving
Rec4 Yds TD Lg3 Target5
Cooper Kupp 8 92 2 22 10
Brycen Hopkins 4 47 0 16 4
Van Jefferson 4 23 0 13 8
Darrell Henderson 3 43 0 25 5
Cam Akers 3 14 0 7 4
Odell Beckham Jr. 2 52 1 35 3
Ben Skowronek 2 12 0 7 5
Matthew Stafford 0 0 0 0 1
Cincinnati statistics[176]
Bengals passing
C/ATT1 Yds TD INT Rating
Joe Burrow 22/33 263 1 0 100.9
Joe Mixon 1/1 6 1 0 131.2
Bengals rushing
Car2 Yds TD Lg3 Yds/Car
Joe Mixon 15 72 0 14 4.8
Ja'Marr Chase 1 4 0 4 4.0
Joe Burrow 2 3 0 4 1.5
Samaje Perine 2 0 0 0 0.0
Bengals receiving
Rec4 Yds TD Lg3 Target5
Ja'Marr Chase 5 89 0 46 8
Tyler Boyd 5 48 0 16 6
Joe Mixon 5 1 0 4 6
Tee Higgins 4 100 2 75 7
C. J. Uzomah 2 11 0 6 2
Mike Thomas 1 17 0 17 1
Chris Evans 1 3 0 3 2
Samaje Perine 0 0 0 0 1

1Completions/attempts
2Carries
3Long gain
4Receptions
5Times targeted

Starting lineups

Starting lineups for Super Bowl LVI[176]
LA Rams Position Cincinnati
Offense
Kendall Blanton TE C. J. Uzomah
Andrew Whitworth LT Jonah Williams
David Edwards LG Quinton Spain
Brian Allen C Trey Hopkins
Austin Corbett RG Hakeem Adeniji
Rob Havenstein RT Isaiah Prince
Cooper Kupp WR Ja'Marr Chase
Odell Beckham Jr. WR Tee Higgins
Van Jefferson WR Tyler Boyd
Matthew Stafford QB Joe Burrow
Cam Akers RB Joe Mixon
Defense
A'Shawn Robinson DE LDE Sam Hubbard
Greg Gaines NT D. J. Reader
Aaron Donald DT B. J. Hill
Von Miller OLB RDE Trey Hendrickson
Leonard Floyd OLB LB Logan Wilson
Ernest Jones ILB LB Germaine Pratt
Darious Williams LCB NCB Mike Hilton
Jalen Ramsey RCB CB Eli Apple
David Long CB Chidobe Awuzie
Eric Weddle FS S Vonn Bell
Nick Scott SS S Jessie Bates III
Special teams
Matt Gay K Evan McPherson
Johnny Hekker P Kevin Huber

Officials

Super Bowl LVI featured seven officials. Continuing a practice instituted the previous year an alternate official was assigned for each position of an official on the field and the replay official. The numbers in parentheses below indicate their uniform numbers.[2]

  • Referee: Ronald Torbert (62), first Super Bowl
  • Umpire: Bryan Neale (92), first Super Bowl
  • Down judge: Derick Bowers (74), second Super Bowl (XLIII)
  • Line judge: Carl Johnson (101), third Super Bowl (XLII, LIV)
  • Field judge: Rick Patterson (15), third Super Bowl (XXXVII, XXXIX, both as side judge)
  • Side judge: Keith Washington (7), first Super Bowl
  • Back judge: Scott Helverson (93), third Super Bowl (XLII, XLV)
  • Replay official: Roddy Ames, first Super Bowl
  • Replay assistant: Sean McKee
  • Alternate officials:
    • Referee: Bill Vinovich (52)
    • Umpire: Paul King (121)
    • Down judge: Ed Camp (134)
    • Line judge: Greg Bradley (98)
    • Field judge: Aaron Santi (50)
    • Side judge: Jonah Monroe (120)
    • Back judge: Greg Steed (12)
    • Replay official: Mark Butterworth

Post-game

Parade

The Rams traveled to Disneyland for a celebration on February 14.[181][182] A parade to celebrate the Rams' victory took place on February 16 in Exposition Park. It ran from the Shrine Auditorium down Figueroa to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where a rally took place in the plaza outside of the stadium. This marked the first time a parade was made to celebrate an Los Angeles-based professional team's victory since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (the Lakers and Dodgers each won a title in 2020 but were unable to hold parades due to safety concerns)[183]

The city of Los Angeles also became the second city (the other being Boston) to have championships in each of the four major pro sports in the 21st century.[184]

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