Super Bowl LVI - Rams vs Bengals Preview

For 54 years, no team had played a Super Bowl in its home stadium. After the Los Angeles Rams (15-5) earned the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVI, it's now happened in consecutive seasons.

The Rams will play the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals (13-7) in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13 (6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT, NBC).

For 49 years, no starting quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall had met in a Super Bowl, until Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning (1998 NFL Draft) and the Denver Broncos defeated Carolina's Cam Newton (2011 NFL Draft) in Super Bowl 50. Now, it will have happened twice in seven seasons, after the Bengals' Joe Burrow (2020 NFL Draft) meets the Rams' Matthew StafforD (2009 NFL Draft) on Sunday.

The Bengals, who were founded by Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Brown and began play in 1968, are looking for their first Super Bowl title, playing in the game for the first time since the 1988 season. The Rams, who began play in 1937, have won three NFL championships: 1945, 1951 and 1999, when they won Super Bowl XXXIV led by Pro Football Hall of Famers ISaac Bruce, Marshall Faulk, Orlando Pace and Kurt Warner.

The two head coaches on Sunday, Cincinnati's ZAC TAYLOR (age 38) and the Rams' SEAN MCVAY (age 36), will be a combined 74 years and 299 days old on Sunday, the youngest combined age for opposing head coaches in Super Bowl history. Previously, the youngest head-coaching matchup was Super Bowl XLIII with Pittsburgh's MIKE TOMLIN (36 years, 323 days old) and Arizona's KEN WHISENHUNT (46 years, 339 days old).

With a Rams win, McVay (36 years, 20 days on Sunday) would edge Tomlin (36 years, 323 days old in Super Bowl XLIII) as the youngest head coach to win the Super Bowl.

McVay, who was hired by the Rams in 2017 and led the team to a Super Bowl LIII appearance during the 2018 season, is the fifth individual in league history to advance to two Super Bowls within his first five seasons as an NFL head coach.

Taylor served as an assistant on McVay's coaching staff with the Rams from 2017-18, including a berth in Super Bowl LIII, prior to becoming the Bengals' head coach in 2019. With wins in each of the first three rounds of the 2021 postseason, Taylor became the third individual over the last 13 years to win each of his first three postseason games as an NFL head coach, joining DOUG PEDERSON (2017-18) and KEN WHISENHUNT (2008). With a win on Super Bowl Sunday, Taylor would become the third individual over the last three decades (1991-2021) to win each of his first four postseason games as an NFL head coach, joining Pederson and BRIAN BILLICK (2000).

Super Bowl LVI Game Notes

Both the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals are the No. 4 seeds from their conferences, marking the 1st time that both Super Bowl teams were the No. 4 or lower seed & the 1st Super Bowl since the NFL started seeding postseason teams in 1975 that does not feature at least 1 team who was seeded No. 1 or No. 2.

Super Bowl LVI - Rams

The Rams overcame a 10-point deficit to win the NFC Championship versus the 49ers in advancing to their second Super Bowl in the past 4 seasons (2018).

Rams quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD ranked 2nd in NFL in TD passes (41), 3rd in pass yards (4,886) & 6th in rating (102.9) in 2021. Stafford passed for 337 yards & 2 TDs vs. 1 INT for 96.2 rating in the NFC Championship game. Stafford is the second QB ever (PATRICK MAHOMES, 2019) with multiple playoff games with 200+ pass yards, 2+ TD passes & 1+ rush TD in single postseason. Is 1 of 4 QBs to average 300+ pass yards per playoff game (302.2) all-time (min. 5 games).

Rams running back CAM AKERS has 485 scrimmage yards (97 per game) & 2 rush TDs in 5 career playoff games.

Rams Wide Receiver COOPER KUPP led NFL with 145 catches, 1,947 rec. yards & 16 rec. TDs in 2021, 2nd-most catches & 2nd-most rec. yards in single-season in NFL history. Has 13 100-yard games & 11 games with 100+ rec. yards & TD catch, both most in single season, including playoffs, all-time. Had 11 catches for 142 yards & 2 rec. TDs in NFC Championship game. Kupp can become 3rd player ever with 30+ catches in single postseason. WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. had 9 catches for 113 yards in the NFC Championship game & Rams became 5th team in SB era with 2+ 100-yard WRs in same Conf. Champ game.

Rams defensive lineman AARON DONALD had 12.5 sacks in 2021 & became 4th player since 1982 with 8+ sacks in each of 1st 8 seasons. Has 4 sacks & 8 TFL in 9 postseason games. LB VON MILLER has 8.5 sacks & 10 TFL in 10 career playoff games. Has 6.5 sacks in 7 career games vs. the Bengals. Had 2.5 sacks & was named SB MVP in SB 50 with Den. CB JALEN RAMSEY had 2 PD in NFC-C vs. SF. Was only player with 15+ PD (16) & 5+ TFL (9) in 2021.

Super Bowl LVI - Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals are the 4th team ever to make the Super Bowl after recording 4-or-fewer wins the previous season [ SAN FRANCISCO (2019), ST. LOUIS RAMS (1999) & CINCINNATI (1988)].

The Cincinnati Bengals became the 1st team to win each of their playoff games this season by 7-or-fewer points & are 3rd team since 2003 to go from 'worst-to-first' & make the Super Bowl [PHILADEPHIA (2017) & NEW ORLEANS (2009)].

The BENGALS overcame an 18-point deficit to win the AFC Championship against the Chiefs in Kansas City, tieing the largest comeback in Conference Championship game history, to advance to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988 (SB XXIII).

Bengals QB JOE BURROW set franchise records in pass yards (4,611) & TD passes (34) this season. Ranked 2nd in NFL with 108.3 rating. Can become 1st QB ever drafted 1st overall to start in the Super Bowl within 1st 2 seasons & 7th 2nd-year QB to start in a Super Bowl. Burrows set a Bengals' franchise-record 842 pass yards this postseason.

RB JOE MIXON had 115 scrimmage yards (88 rush, 27 rec.) in the AFC Championship against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Has 296 scrimmage yards (98.7 per game) & rush TD in 2021 postseason. Ranked 3rd in NFL with career-high 1,205 rush yards & 4th with career-high 13 rush TDs this season.

WR JA’MARR CHASE is 1st rookie ever with 100+ rec. yards in multiple playoff games & has 279 rec. yards in 2021 playoffs, most-ever by rookie in postseason history. Ranked 4th in NFL with 1,455 rec. yards this season, most by rookie in SB era, & 3rd with 13 rec. TDs. WR TEE HIGGINS led team with 103 rec. yards in AFC-C at KC & aims for his 3rd playoff game in row with 95+ rec. yards.

Bengals defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON ranked 5th in NFL with career-high 14 sacks this season & is 1 of 2 in NFL ( T.J. WATT) with 13+ sacks in each of past 2 seasons. Had 1.5 sacks in the AFC Championship against the Chiefs in Kansas City. DE SAM HUBBARD had 2 sacks & FF in AFC-C at KC. LB LOGAN WILSON led team with 10 tackles in the AFC Championship. Led team with 98 tackles & 4 INTs this season. S JESSIE BATES has 5 PD this postseason.

Seeds of Hope

Each Super Bowl team entered the 2021 playoffs as the No. 4 seed in its respective conference. Since the NFL began seeding postseason teams in 1975, Super Bowl LVI is the first that does not include at least one team seeded No. 1 or No. 2. This marks the first Super Bowl in which both teams are seeded No. 4 or lower. The last No. 4 seed to win a Super Bowl was the 2012 BALTIMORE RAVENS (XLVII).

For a 17th consecutive season, the NFL will have a new Super Bowl champion, extending the longest streak without a repeat winner in league history. The last team to win consecutive Super Bowls was the 2003-04 New England Patriots.

Including the Cincinnati Bengals, five of the last 12 teams to appear in the Super Bowl missed the playoffs the previous season. Prior to the Bengals, the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2019 San Francisco 49ers, 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and 2016 Atlanta Falcons reached that pinnacle after missing the playoffs the prior season.

NFL teams have a remarkable record of resiliency. Since 2000, the Bengals are the fifth team to go from "worst to first" in their division and make the Super Bowl in the same season. Three of the four prior teams to do that -- the 2017 Eagles, 2009 Saints and 2001 Patriots -- won the Super Bowl.

Not Your Average Joes

Bengals quarterback JOE BURROW guided LSU to a College Football Playoff national championship in 2019. With a Super Bowl win on Sunday, he would join Pro Football Hall of Famers JOE MONTANA and JOE NAMATH as the only starting quarterbacks to win both a consensus college football national title and a Super Bowl.

Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, is expected to become the first quarterback ever drafted first overall to start a Super Bowl within his first two seasons. He is also the third quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL Draft to start a Super Bowl within his first two seasons in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (Super Bowl XIX) and BEN ROETHLISBERGER (Super Bowl XL).

First Year With His Team

Only two quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl in their first years with their teams, the Ravens' TRENT DILFER (2000, Super Bowl XXXV) and Tampa Bay's TOM BRADY (2020, Super Bowl LV). The Rams' MATTHEW STAFFORD, acquired by Los Angeles in an offseason trade, could join them on Sunday.

Stafford has at least two touchdown passes in each of the Rams' three postseason games. With two touchdown passes on Sunday, he would join Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (2008), JOE FLACCO (2012) and TOM BRADY (2020) as the only players in NFL history with at least two touchdown passes in four postseason games within the same season.

Ja'Marr Chasing a Third Rookie Record

Cincinnati wide receiver JA'MARR CHASE had 1,455 receiving yards in the regular season, most ever by a rookie in the Super Bowl era. He followed that accomplishment with an NFL rookie postseason record 279 receiving yards through the Bengals' first three playoff games this season.

The only rookie record he has left in the receiving-yards category is the single-game Super Bowl record, held by TORRY HOLT, who had 109 in the Rams' Super Bowl XXXIV victory.

Super Cooper Kupp

Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP led the NFL in each of the three major receiving categories -- receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16) -- and is the first player in league history to lead the NFL in those three categories for a team that advanced to the Super Bowl. He is the third player to lead the league in receiving yards and appear in the Super Bowl in the same season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (1989 and 1994) and DREW PEARSON (1977).

Kupp has totaled 25 receptions for 386 yards and four touchdowns during the 2021 postseason. On Sunday, he can surpass TRAVIS KELCE (31 receptions during the 2020 postseason) for the most receptions in a single postseason all-time and become the second player ever to reach 500 receiving yards in a single playoff run, joining LARRY FITZGERALD (546 receiving yards in 2008).

Here's The Takeaway

Cincinnati has a plus-five turnover ratio this postseason, on the strength of six Bengals interceptions by six different players, including safety VONN BELL, whose overtime interception of PATRICK MAHOMES set up Cincinnati's game-winning field goal in the AFC Championship Game.

Bengals defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON ranked fifth in the NFL with a career-high 14 sacks this season. He is one of two NFL players with at least 13 sacks in each of the past two seasons.

Linebacker LOGAN WILSON, who led the team this season with four interceptions, had an interception in Cincinnati's win at No. 1-seeded Tennessee in the AFC Divisional Round. The second-year player also led the team with 98 tackles.

Defensive Stalwarts

Led by AARON DONALD, a three-time Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year who is seeking his first Super Bowl victory, the Rams ranked sixth in rushing defense (103.2 yards per game allowed) and third with 50 sacks.

Donald had 12.5 sacks in the regular season and became the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to register at least eight sacks in each of his first eight NFL seasons. He also has 1.5 sacks during the 2021 playoffs.

Linebacker VON MILLER makes his second Super Bowl appearance after registering 2.5 sacks to earn Super Bowl 50 MVP honors with Denver. Including the playoffs, Miller has a sack in six of his last seven games.


Location: SoFi Stadium

Date: Sunday, February 13

Start Time: 3:30 PM

AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals and NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams for the 2021 National Football League Championship and the Vince Lombardi Trophy, 3:30 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium.

Super Bowl LVI Preview - Los Angeles Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals