Super Bowl Recap

We now have to wait seven months before the next season begins. “I’m not crying; you’re crying!”

The Rams won their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Above: Rams Head Coach Sean McVay (middle in the blue) surrounded by his players celebrating their win at the Lombardi Presentation after the game.

The Rams won their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Above: Rams Head Coach Sean McVay (middle in the blue) surrounded by his players celebrating their win at the Lombardi Presentation after the game.

Maddox Greenberg, Staff Writer

The countdown clock to the next NFL season has begun, starting right after the clock reached triple zeroes in Los Angeles and as coach Sean McVay and the Rams raised the Lombardi Trophy over their heads in front of over 70,000 fans in attendance and well over 100 million watching.  We will have to wait seven months for the 103rd NFL season to commence in which the Rams are scheduled to kickoff (most likely in Sofi Stadium).  But let’s not jump too far ahead in the season.  We still have the new league, the USFL, debuting in April and then a few weeks later the NFL Draft in Las Vegas.  As for now, let’s recap this prodigious event that happened last Sunday afternoon.


The game began with XFL owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson amping up the crowd.  Then came kickoff with the hometown Rams receiving the ball.  Soon, the Rams commenced the scoring, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford who connected to Odell Beckham, Jr. in the endzone, making it the first touchdown pass by Stafford in his first Super Bowl and the first touchdown for Odell Beckham, Jr. in his first Super Bowl.  The Bengals soon answered later in the first quarter with a 29-yard field goal.


In the second quarter, the Rams scored another touchdown, but a failed grip on the ball pressured long snapper Johnny Hekker to try to throw to kicker Matt Gay but failed.  The Bengals soon answered with Joe Mixon orchestrating a trick play when he, the running back, threw six yards to wide receiver Tee Higgins to make the scoreboard read 13-10.  Sadly though, Odell injured his ACL again, on the same knee, versus the same opponent!  He had two receptions, 52 yards, and one touchdown.

The performers at the end of the Halftime Show in the middle of Sofi Stadium. From left to right: 13-time Grammy Award winner Kendrick Lamar, 15-time Grammy Award winner Eminem, 6-time Grammy Award winner Dr. Dre, Grammy Award winner 50 Cent, 9-time Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige, and BET Award winner Snoop Dogg.


The halftime show soon began after the second quarter with rapper icon Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performing iconic song “Next Episode.” followed by a tribute to Los Angeles rapper Tupac Shakur’s song “California Love.”  After that came surprise appearance by rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson III who sang “In Da Club.”  Then came Mary J. Blige performing two of her most notable songs, “Family Affair” and “No More Pain.”  Next was Kendrick Lamar performing “m.A.A.d. City” and “Alright.”  Eminem soon appeared with his line from the song “Forgot About Dre” echoing throughout the stadium.  Eminem then sang “Lose Yourself,” which amped up the crowd for the last song bringing all of the legendary hip-hop artists to the center of the stage, singing to Dr. Dre’s song “Still D.R.E.”


There was indeed controversy when Eminem (Marshall Mathers) kneeled in a nod to Colin Kaepernick, who I discussed multiple times in my previous articles.  The NFL soon said they knew Eminem would be doing it.  Other controversy came towards Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Kendrick Lamar who both songs they performed, “Still D.R.E.” and “Alright” respectively, had lyrics like “still not loving police” (from “Still D.R.E.”) and “and we hate po-po/Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure” (from “Alright”).  Lamar, during the performance, did not specifically say “po-po,” but did say the line.  Right wing news media was mad at Lamar’s lyrics in the past, but after the Super Bowl halftime show sponsored by Pepsi, right wing media were more gravitated towards Eminem’s kneeling.  Other than that, it was a top-5 performance (however, I wished they all sang “California Love” at the end, but I’m not complaining).


Returning to the game, in the third quarter, within seconds, the Bengals got the ball and began with a bang!—a 75-yard touchdown to WR Tee Higgins, who was covered by cornerback Jalen Ramsey of the Rams.  Falling short by four, the Rams struggled with Stafford’s quick interception to Chidobie Awuzie.  This set up an eight-play drive ending in Evan McPherson kicking a successful 38-yard field goal.  


The Rams bounced back to shorten the lead by four, 20-16, when Matt Gay notched a 41-yard field goal.


Nothing else really happened after that.  Several drives from both teams ended on punts.  Then the Rams got the ball with 6:20 left on the game clock in the fourth quarter.  A drive that lasted almost five minutes, Stafford threw to eventual Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a late lead.  The Bengals then got the ball with 1:25 left.  But it ended in sorrow as Aaron Donald nearly sacked Joe Burrow on a 4th-and-1, with Burrow throwing an incomplete pass to Samaje Perine.  Game over.  Rams win their second-ever Super Bowl, 23-20.  The Bengals lose their third-ever Super Bowl in franchise history.


Cooper Kupp became Super Bowl MVP, adding to his season-resume the triple-crown for receptions (leading in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947 yards), and receiving touchdowns (16)) and Offensive Player of the Year.  Jerry Rice, one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, did all of that in his 21-year career.  (This is Kupp’s fifth season).  Kupp did all of this in a season!  He had no D-1 offers and played at Eastern Washington, an FCS (football college subdivision) team.  Similarly, Jerry Rice attended Mississippi State Valley, an HBCU FCS Division 1 school.


Kupp had eight receptions going for 92 yards, two touchdowns, and one run for seven yards to earn himself the Super Bowl MVP.


After the game, a lot happened.  Rams’ safety Taylor Rapp proposed to his girlfriend, Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson’s wife had a baby after the game, and TimTheTatman, a YouTube streamer, broke his prediction curse.


People soon began asking if McVay would retire, same goes for Rams defensive end Aaron Donald, who played eight years and is without a doubt a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  Rams offensive coordinator Kevin McConnell became the Vikings head coach on Thursday, making him the fourth coach working under McVay to become a head coach.


Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey had a sloppy game.  Not only the Tee Higgins play, but also on the last play of the game, before Burrow threw the ball short to Perine, Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals wide receiver, was wide open for a potential game-winning touchdown, with Ramsey in coverage.  If Burrow survived Donald’s sack attempt, most likely the Bengals would’ve either tied or lead the game with 40 seconds left.


However, there was a lot of bad calls.  First, not much of a bad call but more of an idiotic move by one of the players, injured Bengals defensive back Vernon Hargraves III.  He was not in football gear, but he entered the field to celebrate with his teammates after Bengals safety Jessie Bates III’s interception in the second quarter, which cost a penalty on Hargraves for entering the field not in football gear and moved the Bengals back 10-yards to start on Cincinnati’s 20.  Lastly, multiple bad calls by the referees (the same official who made the bad call in the Raiders-Bengals wildcard game was the main official in this game).  Higgins, on the 75-yard touchdown, pulled Ramsey’s facemask (a penalty in football).  The ref didn’t notice, but still gave the touchdown to the Bengals.  And there was multiple offsides and holdings that the refs didn’t see nor notice.


The game was still great, though.  There was a lot of great Super Bowl commercials, mainly a lot of cryptocurrency and electric car commercials.  We got to see Guy Fieri, Ewan McGregor, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, and Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton.  We got to see Marvel’s Moon Knight trailer for the TV series airing on Disney+ next month and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (which I will talk about later on in the stories).  Surprisingly, no USFL commercials, even though the USFL will be on NBC and Fox (the USFL airing a promo during the NFC Championship game on Fox two weeks ago).  My teacher said this could be because the Super Bowl commercials cost a lot per second and the USFL is a new league.  So that does make sense.


I enjoyed the game a lot.  Good to see so many celebrities in attendance, including basketball icon LeBron James and rapper/influencer Jay-Z.  Sadly, we couldn’t see East Lake alum Tyler Higbee play due to injury.  Hopefully we could get a Lombardi replica or whatnot at our school.  This game, though, was big for people in the Tarpon Springs/Palm Harbor area.  We had three players from Tarpon Springs/Palm Harbor region play in the Super Bowl, but I didn’t recollect seeing any of them playing.  We had, along with Higbee, Rams wide receiver Jacob Harris from Palm Harbor University High School and Bengals tight end Mitchell Wilcox from Tarpon Springs High School.  But East Lake won (in a sense)!


Next year the Super Bowl will be held in Arizona.  So, after the past two Super Bowls, it only seems right to bet on the Cardinals to win the Super Bowl.  I can’t wait to see my Patriots play whoever next year in Arizona (most likely the Cardinals).


Who do you think will be in the Super Bowl next year?  Who do you want to see in the halftime show next year?  Do you think Cooper Kupp is an underrated wide receiver?  Do you think McVay or Donald will retire?