DJ Talk

Super Bowl 56 Winners and Losers: The L.A. Rams, the Officiating, the Cincinnati Bengals, and Tom Brady

Super Bowl 56 is in the books.  The L.A. Rams came back from behind to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23 to 20.  Rams receiver Cooper Kupp was named the Super Bowl MVP.  He caught two touchdown passes.

If you care at all, you’ve watched the game by now.  So rather than a full recap, here’s a breakdown of the THREE WINNERS and THREE LOSERS.

WINNER:  The L.A. Rams, obviously.  The Rams went up 13-3 in the first half . . . but they botched the kick after their second touchdown, and that missing point might have caused them to lose the game.  The miss meant they needed a touchdown on their last drive instead of just a field goal.  But they DID get it.

WINNER:  The City of Los Angeles.  The game was played at SoFi Stadium in L.A., which meant that it was basically a home game.  The halftime show was an L.A.-themed hip-hop extravaganza.

(And since it was mostly old-schoolers like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre . . . the REAL winners were hip-hop fans born between 1975 and 1990.)

Also, it was the Rams’ first championship since the 1999 season, but the team wasn’t in L.A. . . . they were the St. Louis Rams at that time.  L.A.’s only previous Super Bowl win was the L.A. Raiders in the 1983 season.

WINNER:  The Rams’ Defense.  They sacked Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow SEVEN times . . . six in the second half when it really counted.  And that was a HUGE boost to the Rams when their offense was sputtering before that final drive.

LOSER:  The Cincinnati Bengals.  The Bengals were in excellent position to win their first Super Bowl.  All they had to do was stop the Rams from scoring a touchdown on their final drive.  But they couldn’t get a stop when they needed it.

LOSER:  The Officials.  Let’s be honest, the officials never come out “winners.”  That said, for most of the game they let the teams play and didn’t make it about the penalties.  There were only two in the first 58 minutes.  But in the final two minutes, there were a flurry of flags just before the Rams’ game-winning touchdown.

There were two controversial calls, one benefitting each team.  The no-call on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the third quarter.  He appeared to commit offensive pass interference when he grabbed cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s facemask.  And Higgins scored a touchdown on that play.

And the defensive holding call on the Bengals late in the game.  It was third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, and Rams QB Matthew Stafford missed Kupp on a throw across the middle.  There wasn’t much contact . . . so it probably should’ve been fourth down.  But instead, the Rams got a first down.

LOSER:  The Bengals’ Defense.  Or “the Bengals’ poise.”  The Rams had the ball on their own 21-yard-line with about six minutes left, and needed to score a touchdown to stay in it.  That was 79 yards ahead of them.

They cruised down the field to win it, and regardless of the late penalties, the officials weren’t responsible for 72 of the 79 yards.  Plus, a personal foul on the Bengals’ defense canceled out a flag on the Rams late.

Both WINNER AND LOSER:  Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr.  He started hot, and caught the first touchdown pass.  But then he got hurt and left the game in the second quarter.  He didn’t return.  That had to be frustrating . . . but since the Rams ended up winning, he’s more of a winner than a loser.

Neither WINNER NOR LOSER:  Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.  Finally!  Brady was NOT in this Super Bowl . . . thankfully . . . after being in four of the past five.  Brady is retired now.  Supposedly.  (Brady did post this amusing Tweet yesterday.)

(You can find a ton of video highlights on the NFL’s YouTube channel.)