The National Football League is in a can’t-lose situation.
As Super Bowl Sunday has arrived, we’re finally past the media blitz that occurs during the week leading up, and we can focus on the game itself. And for the NFL, the 56th Super Bowl couldn’t be a more ideal situation.
Let’s start with the location.
In 2016, Rams owner Stan Kroenke abandoned the city of St. Louis for the West Coast, ending the Rams 20 year run in city. The country’s second largest media market had been without an NFL team from 1995-2015, a massive swing and a miss from the most popular professional sports league in the country.
Now? The Rams are in their second Super Bowl in four years, and will be playing in their spanking-new SoFi Stadium. For the past two weeks, all of the NFL has descended upon the City of Angels, putting the Rams tenure in St. Louis firmly in the rearview mirror. Celebrities galore will be attending Super Bowl LVI, and even the halftime show — highlighted by Snoop Dogg himself — is garnering buzz. The NFL wins even before the opening kickoff.
And then, there’s the quarterbacks.
Whether the Rams or the Bengals take home the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, the NFL will have headlines for weeks to come as an offseason filled with Aaron Rodgers speculation awaits.
In Matthew Stafford, the NFL has the story of the uber talented, former number one overall draft pick quarterback, finally playing for a winner after over a decade of toiling away on a perennial loser in Detroit. In 12 seasons as a Lion, Stafford led Detroit to just three playoff appearances, going 0-3 in postseason play. Stafford was forced to play for an organization that has never been able to figure it out, bungling the years of Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson so badly that Johnson chose to retire after just nine seasons rather than continue being a Lion.
And then, in the blink of an eye — and after a couple of cocktails in Cabo — Stafford finally landed in a place filled with offensive weapons, and in the perfect market for a Hollywood story.
In January 2021, the Rams traded quarterback Jarred Goff and three draft picks — including two first-rounders — for Stafford, going all-in on a Super Bowl or bust season. There were many who questioned whether the Rams were mortgaging their future — LA doesn’t own a first-round pick until 2024 — was worth it in their attempt to bring the city of Los Angeles its first Super Bowl since the Raiders climbed the mountain in 1983.
A championship will silence the doubters, and give the NFL media storylines for days.
And then there’s Joe Burrow.
“Cool” Joe storylines essentially write themselves. The next Joe Namath, the quarterback to beat over the next decade, the first overall pick who finally was able to bring Cincinnati their elusive Super Bowl.
Burrow dresses like a rockstar, and plays like one the field. No one expected Cincinnati to be in position to win Super Bowl LVI, and it’s all due to the Heisman trophy and national championship winner.
Against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Burrow was sacked nine times. I’ll say that again. Burrow was sacked nine times, and won. Against Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game, the Bengals came back from an 18-point first half deficit — tying the largest comeback in Championship Game history — to beat superman Patrick Mahomes.
His quotes are a journalist’s dream, not to mention his tradition of lighting up a stogie after a big win makes for one heck of a photo.
If Cincinnati finds a way to win in another upset, it will be the rags-to-riches story reporters all over the world dream of. The spirited debate of “best young quarterback in the AFC” will rage throughout the offseason.
All of this to say, the NFL should be happy as clams with how the upcoming Super Bowl matchup has turned out. No matter which way the game turns, the league has already won.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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