At the risk of stating the obvious, it all came down to Sunday's game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. After a heck of a battle in Super Bowl LVI -- and equally enthralling halftime show -- the Rams emerged victorious on their home turf, 23-20.
Stafford wasn't the only one for whom the win felt particularly sweet. Odell Beckham Jr, who exited the game because of an injury late in the second quarter, was moved to tears as time expired.
One of the greatest defensive players of all time, Aaron Donald, also shed tears of joy once it became clear his game-sealing stop had officially earned him a ring.
While Joe Burrow's attempt to put an exclamation point on his Comeback Player of the Year season by leading the Bengals to the franchise's first Super Bowl title fell short, the future is undoubtedly bright for Joe Shiesty & Co.
Here's what social media had to say about the Rams becoming L.A.'s latest championship team:
That's Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, to you ...
CONGRATS RAMS!— Team USA (@TeamUSA) February 14, 2022
We'll take it from here... 🥇 https://t.co/6kKs85hx26
THIS WAS EXACTLY GODS PLAN.— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) February 14, 2022
Do it to get a crown that will last forever.— Cooper Kupp (@CooperKupp) February 14, 2022
damn— Ja'MarrChase (@Real10jayy__) February 14, 2022
Congrats on the dub! @RamsNFL— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 14, 2022
FOR LA 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 https://t.co/eQowEw6eUJ— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 14, 2022
Woah Rams!! #SuperBowl— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) February 14, 2022
Congrats to Matthew Stafford & Rams— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) February 14, 2022
Stafford ➡️ Dawg ➡️ Champ pic.twitter.com/4P7YtXDPz5— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) February 14, 2022
‼️‼️‼️‼️ https://t.co/ArnoFqkvN6— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) February 14, 2022
Congratulationz bra💯💯 https://t.co/RlxioCLVqZ— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) February 14, 2022
Can y'all replay that Half Time Show again tho 🙏🏾— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 14, 2022
we will be in it next year.— Chris Jones (@StoneColdJones) February 14, 2022
If you couldn't be at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, our live updates were basically the next best thing. Here's how it all unfolded in Los Angeles:
Kupp and Donald come up clutch
Stafford to Kupp all day long. With 1:25 to play -- and a Super Bowl title on the line -- Stafford found his favorite target in the end zone.
Predictability be damned, Kupp still managed to get open.
Then, to seal the deal, came none other than Donald to wrap up Burrow.
... And just like that, the Los Angeles Rams are your Super Bowl LVI champs.
Beckham ruled out of game
Beckham would not return after suffering a left knee injury on a noncontact play with 3:50 remaining in the second quarter. The standout wide receiver -- who was a huge part of the Rams' success early in the game -- was listed as questionable to return at the half. With under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Los Angeles officially downgraded Beckham to out.
The sports world took to social media to send condolences to OBJ.
🙏🏽 no dawg . come on obj— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) February 14, 2022
Oh no! Praying for you @OBJ— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) February 14, 2022
Nooooooo 🤦🏾♂️ not my dog another turf injury— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) February 14, 2022
Why God Why!!!!??!?!— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) February 14, 2022
Please let OBJ be okay 🙏🏾
Prayers up @obj !!! 🙏🏾— Patrick Peterson /P2 (@P2) February 14, 2022
Nooooooo— AJ Brown (@1kalwaysopen_) February 14, 2022
No @obj! Praying for you.— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 14, 2022
That's one way to start the half ...
Look away, Rams fans. As if the halftime show wasn't entertaining enough (it was), Burrow came out the locker room slinging. On the first play of the second half, Joe Shiesty found Tee Higgins for a 75-yard TD to give the Bengals their first lead of the game.
Are you not entertained?
Super Bowl LVI saw all other halftime shows and said: hold my beer.
The all-star lineup of Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar proved California does, in fact, know how to party. The surprise guest appearances by 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak? Chef's kiss.
From James Harden to Lady Gaga, Twitter was understandably enthralled by the performance:
That halftime performance was insane 🔥🔥🔥but I can't stop thinking about OBJ 🙏🏾 Come out of that locker room bro 🙏🏾— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 14, 2022
OMG!!!!!!!!! WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!!! THE GREATEST HALFTIME SHOW IVE EVER SEEN!!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 14, 2022
Best halftime show ever!— James Harden (@JHarden13) February 14, 2022
THAT WAS A BOMB OF RADICAL LOVE THANK YOU #SuperBowl HALFTIME SHOW!! Incredible!! That's what it's all about!!— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 14, 2022
Not so fast
Big-time players make big-time plays. Jessie Bates III came up huge for the Bengals by intercepting Stafford in the end zone on a pass intended for Van Jefferson with 2:10 remaining in the first half.
We go into halftime with the Rams leading 13-10.
In Joe dey trust
And suddenly we have ourselves a three-point game. Joe Mixon (no typo) found Tee Higgins for a 6-yard Bengals' TD.
Your running back could never.
Kupp keeps it going
Cooper Kupp scoring a touchdown? How surprising (said no one, ever).
Kupp extended the Rams' lead when Stafford found his favorite target for 11 yards. With the touchdown, Kupp has now caught a TD in 15 games this year (including playoffs), tying Jerry Rice (1989) and Mark Clayton (1984) for most games with a receiving TD in a single season including playoffs.
The Offensive Player of the Year also joins Larry Fitzgerald (2008) as the only players to catch a TD in four games within a single postseason. So yeah, he's decent.
Stafford strikes first
The Rams wasted approximately no time finding the end zone. In a connection of "players who would really like to add a Super Bowl title to their resume," Stafford found Beckham for a 17-yard grab with 6:22 left to play in the first quarter.
If the numbers are to be believed, Beckham's touchdown is a good omen for the Rams. Los Angeles is 5-1 when he catches a TD this season, including playoff games, with their only loss coming in Week 12 at the Green Bay Packers.
It could be a long night for the "OBJ was the problem" crowd.
There was one familiar fan who was especially fired up by the first Super Bowl touchdown of Sean McVay's tenure: LeBron James.
The Los Angeles Lakers star, a known friend of OBJ, celebrated accordingly.
It wouldn't be a Los Angeles Super Bowl without some serious star power in attendance. From Jay-Z to LeBron James, the turnout is as impressive as one would expect in the City of Angels.
Will keeps asking why there's no fourth down. pic.twitter.com/0DMaKm9Zni— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 14, 2022
The GOAT of U.S. goal keeping, Tim Howard, is here pic.twitter.com/SlLK0fUFkh— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
To make matters even more pop culture-heavy, prior to kickoff, Beckham Jr. gifted his gloves to North and Saint West, children of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
That's so Hollywood.
Bengals in the building
The Tiger King indeed. We've grown accustomed to flashy pregame fits from Joey B this season, and Super Bowl LVI was no exception.
While his QB opted for a louder ensemble, Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja'Marr Chase had the laid-back West Coast look on lock.
Joe Mixon is clearly fluent in the art of manifestation. The running back came through with an ode to victory in the form of an intricate suit lining showcasing the Lombardi Trophy, himself and Joe Shiesty.
But back to that Burrow suit real quick, because our Tim McManus got the scoop on how the look came to fruition ...
The internet-breaking suit Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow wore to Super Bowl LVI was almost left in the closet.
When Tom Marchitelli, custom menswear designer and founder of Gentleman's Playbook Custom Suits, presented Burrow with fabrics to be worn on the big day, Burrow couldn't decide between the bold black-and-white design and another solid, bright-colored suit. So he chose both. Marchitelli worked overtime to get them ready in under two weeks and delivered them to Burrow's hotel room in Los Angeles on Wednesday. He found out along with the rest of the world what Burrow ultimately chose.
"Zero intention when I showed him that, thinking it was Bengals stripes," said Marchitelli, whose client list includes Dak Prescott, Aaron Donald, Rob Gronkowski, DeVonta Smith and Jimmy Garoppolo. "It's an abstract gray and black print and I thought, no one has the stones to pull it off the way he does.
"This man has so much swag and confidence, it's unbelievable."
Burrow and Marchitelli began working on the suits shortly after Cincinnati's AFC Championship Game win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The idea to have predominantly black print was Burrow's, as was the top hat. And those shoes? Air Jordan Dior's, which have a price tag of $6,000, Marchitelli said. -- Tim McManus
If Beckham is feeling the pressure of his first Super Bowl appearance, you wouldn't know it. The wide receiver looked casually cool upon arrival in yellow kicks and a letter jacket.
Donald also nailed the Southern California aesthetic with a pastel SBD (that's short-sleeved button down for the untrained eye) and some rose-colored glasses.
How about sustenance?
It wouldn't be Super Bowl Sunday without envy-inducing (and potentially heartburn-inducing) food and an assortment of libations.
If you're wondering what is being offered up within the confines of SoFi Stadium, ESPN editors Chris Grandstaff and T.J. Berka did some recon for us.
Tsunami tots for $12. Sweet soy sauce, mayo, sriracha, furikake, tagarashi. Nice kick! pic.twitter.com/YcLansql1H— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
Your $15 cheeseburger sub pic.twitter.com/WRyrE4fnLm— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
Your $19 craft beer choices are Elysian Space Dust IPA and Kona Big Wave Golden Ale in 24 ounce metal cups with the SB logo pic.twitter.com/x6qxt8mRhx— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
What the fans are paying for beer pic.twitter.com/1yetUec6dG— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
Your $16 barbacoa burrito pic.twitter.com/FUK8cF4rno— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
What's on the menu? pic.twitter.com/ZiLAjPpzfj— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
Food at the Ultra Club at the 200 level (prices in final picture). First pic is an example of a French dip, second is L.A.-style bacon-wrapped street hot dog (which the chef recommended) #SBLVI pic.twitter.com/S6EMjMMipY— T.J. Berka (@TJBerka1) February 13, 2022
Calm before the storm
It's a beautiful day for some Super Bowl football. NFL Nation Bengals reporter Ben Baby took a moment to serve up a customary empty stadium picture, er -- bask in the sites, before SoFi Stadium was overtaken with a sea of championship-starved fans and celebrities.
That Cincinnati No. 9 is looking right.
Burrow's jersey likely won't be that clean for much longer if the Rams' Donald has anything to say about it.
9️⃣9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/xNmoNBnsyL— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) February 13, 2022
Meanwhile, OBJ's kick game is exceptional. What else is new?
That's gonna cost you
Don't worry, you can park within walking distance to the stadium. It's just going to set you back $400.
Parking prices four blocks from the stadium going for as much as $400 this morning pic.twitter.com/g0KwCMW935— Chris Grandstaff (@c_grandstaff) February 13, 2022
Supply and demand makes for a cold business.
Coin toss coincidence?
If losing the coin toss ahead of overtime is oftentimes the sign of one's demise, winning it prior to opening kickoff at the Super Bowl might have the opposite implication.
Quirky but true: The team that loses the opening coin toss now has won the past seven Super Bowls, via @EpKap.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 13, 2022
Not so relaxing retirement
As the Rams and Bengals prepared for one more day of work, there was someone sitting at home who felt, well, left out.
Super Bowl regular -- and recent retiree -- Tom Brady took to Twitter to seemingly lament not having the opportunity to compete for an eighth ring.
Sh*t... pic.twitter.com/TR6kr6Bgss— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) February 13, 2022
Super Bowl Sunday without Brady? That one is likely going to take some getting used to.