The Los Angeles Rams can’t afford to lose Super Bowl 56. Should they do so, legacies for coach and players will be altered forever.
The pressure of Super Bowl LVI is on the Los Angeles Rams. All of it.
For Los Angeles, this moment was one of expectation. The Rams loaded up over the past two years, trading multiple first-round picks for both corner Jalen Ramsey and quarterback Matthew Stafford, moving on from Jared Goff in the latter deal as well. General manager Les Snead also signed receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and traded second- and third-round picks for edge rusher Von Miller at midseason.
And save for Miller, who is a certain Hall of Famer who already owns a ring and Super Bowl MVP trophy, the aforementioned trio have everything to prove.
For Stafford, it’s showing his shortcomings were largely because he played for the sad-sack Detroit Lions. For Ramsey, winning this game gives him the ultimate moment while simultaneously being the best player at his position, something which can also be said for defensive tackle Aaron Donald. For Beckham, long painted as a locker room issue, he can win a ring while having played a huge part in doing so.
Then there’s head coach Sean McVay.
At 36 years old, McVay is trying to erase the biggest stain on his career, a 13-3 humbling in Super Bowl LIII to the New England Patriots. If he can win this year, McVay will be seen as one of the greatest young coaches in league history, even as he ponders the future.
But should McVay lose, he’s snickered at. Suddenly, Boy Wonder has lost two Super Bowls, and if that has happened, can he truly be so special? It’s unfair criticism, but it’s coming if the Rams lose to the Cincinnati Bengals other home field this weekend.
Speaking of the Bengals, who expected them to be in the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl? Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Jessie Bates, Logan Wilson and Tee Higgins are all on their rookie deals. There’s ample reason to believe Cincinnati will be a contender for a decade. The Rams have no such luxury, with contract situations, pending free agents and very few high-end draft picks all conspiring to take them down.
For Los Angeles, this Super Bowl can be summed up in four word: if not now, when?