Super Bowl observations
The Rams knocked off the Bengals late, 23–20, to capture their first Super Bowl win as an LA team (they won when they were in St. Louis in 1999). Below are observations from the game.
- I was really surprised this was a close game. Thought for sure Rams would blow out the Bengals and it would be a sleeper. Fortunately, for all fans that was NOT the case and it ended up being incredible, especially late. Credit to both teams for putting on a great show, there were incredible plays throughout the game and the ending was awesome.
- When I made my ‘blowout’ prediction I assumed the battle in the ‘trenches’ aka the offensive/defensive lines would heavily favor the Rams. Granted the Rams came away with 7 sacks and of course Aaron Donald made back to back incredible plays to end the game. However, the Bengals actually sacked up and played great on their end. That was surprising to me and maybe it wasn’t too much of a fluke they made it this far. They always seemed to make a play no matter what. Well until the 4th quarter.
- The Rams trade for Matthew Stafford sent shock waves throughout the league and it ended up paying off. This will dictate the league for the next 5–10 years. Any team that is on the cusp and has slightly above average QB play will make a risk move for a star quarterback and mortgage the future for a SB win. The Rams did just that and more. The rest of the league is going to copycat and it will start this off season.
- As for how the teams will fare going into next season. The Rams will be interesting, I wonder if they just bring guys back on smaller contracts and run it back again to see how they do, kinda like the Bucs. Ironically, it was the Rams who knocked off the Bucs and basically led Tom Brady to retirement haha. But this was super risky move they did and it paid off. They don’t have top round draft packs for another 3 years. Will it matter? What will they do with guys like Donald (if he decides to retire or he wants a big contract?); Cooper Kupp the MVP will garner a big contract. Going to be interesting but I think they run it back one more time and that’s it.
- The Bengals are an interesting team, I would think this is the start of something special, but part of me thinks they just had a fluke year and everything broke right for them. In the division alone, the Ravens whole team was injured; the Browns underachieved and couldn’t manage their QB; and the Steelers were basically playing one-sided football to remain competitive. Then they ran into a favorable matchup with the Raiders who now have a brand new front office and coaching staff within two weeks of that game. The Titans completely botched their game plan and that went to last second field goal; and then the Chiefs just completely discombobulated in the second half which still stuns me weeks later. Sometimes when enough crazy happens it gets flukey. Yes the Bengals offense will still be legit and the defense should be solid, but there’s not a great track record for SB runner-ups historically. I would have to research more about teams making SB unexpectedly, I’m sure there is some data on how they performed post SB seasons. With all that said, I think the Bengals will still be competitive, but I wouldn't be surprised if they miss the playoffs next season. It’s a weird phenomenon, but runner up SB teams usually miss the postseason the following year. I also often wonder how they will handle success as well.
- I thought as a whole, outside of some early wild card blowouts, this was the best NFL postseason in years. From division round on, every game was intense and came down to last second plays. Just incredible! Again I keep using that word but its true! Hats off to a league that constantly finds ways to entertain and not be in control of itself (racist hiring; horrific owners; etc).
- Trying not to include Browns in this, but I think they see the blueprint to win and they are closer than people think. The next three months will be very interesting with free agency and the draft. Bold prediction: I would not be surprised if Browns pulled a ‘Rams move’ for quarterback. GO BROWNS!!