The Super Bowl is just hours away, ready to kick off on Sunday. After the greatest season in NFL history, we only have two teams left: the Bengals and the Rams. The two sides couldn’t be more different on the surface, with one defying the odds to get to that point and the other realizing their potential on paper. But they think they’re making must-have TV on football’s biggest stage.
As we prepare for Super Bowl LVI, here are 56 things to know for the big game:
1. Super Bowl LVI will be played between the Bengals and the Rams, marking the first time these teams have met in a championship.
2. This is the Bengals’ first Super Bowl appearance since 1988, when they lost to the 49ers, 20-16.
3. Before this season, the Bengals hadn’t won a playoff game since 1990, when they beat the Oilers (now the Titans), the longest drought in the big four North American sports.
4. The Bengals have appeared in three Super Bowls in total, including this one. Their first two — in 1981 and 1988 — were both against the 49ers. They lost to San Francisco both times, and each time by a score.
5. The Rams, meanwhile, are making their fifth Super Bowl appearance and their second in the last four years.
6. Los Angeles last appeared in the big game in 2018, when the Patriots defeated them, 13-3, in the Super Bowl with the lowest score ever.
seven. The Rams last won the Super Bowl in 1999, when they defeated the Titans, 23-16, in Super Bowl XXXIV to cap a dramatic turnaround as the “greatest show on the turf.”
8. This game marks the first time in Super Bowl history that both teams have made the playoffs as the No. 4 seeds.
9. Quarterbacks for both teams — Joe Burrow, for the Bengals; and Matthew Stafford, for the Rams — are former No. 1 overall draft picks.
ten. Burrow has just completed his second season in the NFL. At 25, he is looking to become one of the youngest QBs to win a Super Bowl, behind Ben Roethlisberger (23), Patrick Mahomes (24) and Tom Brady (24).
11. Burrow missed the final six games of his 2020 rookie season with a knee injury. He is just over a year away from sustaining a torn ACL and MCL, as well as damage to the PCL and meniscus.
12. This year, Burrow set the Bengals single-season franchise record for passing yards (4,616), touchdowns (34) and passer rating (108.3). He also led the NFL in completion percentage (70.4).
13. Just two years later, Burrow is drawing comparisons to former Jets Super Bowl champion Joe Namath, also known as ‘Joe Cool’, with glitzy fashion – like a ‘JB9’ diamond chain he wore after the AFC Championship.
14. Matthew Stafford, QB of the Rams, ends his first season in Los Angeles. He spent the first 12 years of his NFL career with the Lions.
15. Stafford played in just three playoff games in his 12 years in Detroit, winning none. In his first year with the Rams, he is 3-0 in the playoffs.
16. Stafford, 33, set career highs in completion percentage (67.2) and touchdown passes (41) this year. Only Tom Brady (43) has thrown more touchdowns.
17. Exactly a year before leading the Rams to the 49ers in the NFC Championship, Stafford was traded from the Lions in exchange for QB Jared Goff and three draft picks, including two first-rounders. The trade became official in March.
18. Goff, another former No. 1 overall pick, was the Rams’ starting QB the last time Los Angeles qualified for the Super Bowl.
19. Stafford is just one of many big-name veterans the Rams have acquired this season. LA also traded future draft picks for former Patriots running back Sony Michel and former Broncos Super Bowl champion Von Miller, and signed former Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
20. Stafford’s top wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, just wrapped up a historic year for the Rams. His 145 catches and 1,947 receiving yards rank second all-time, behind only Michael Thomas (149 catches) and Calvin Johnson (1,964 yards).
21. Kupp broke the all-time record for most scrimmage yards by a receiver, with 1,965.
22. In the Rams’ NFC Championship win, Kupp also broke Michael Irvin’s 25-year-old record for most 100-yard games in a season, including the playoffs, recording his 13th time eclipsing the century mark.
23. The Bengals’ top receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, was drafted fifth overall in 2021 by LSU, where he played with Burrow. The rookie broke a franchise-record 1,455 yards this season, fourth among all wides in the NFL.
24. Of all receivers with at least 500 yards, Chase ranked second in the NFL in yards per catch (18), behind only Deebo Samuel of the 49ers. His 13 touchdowns ranked third in the league.
25. The Bengals were the only NFL team besides the Buccaneers to have three different players in 800 receiving yards: Chase (1,455), Tee Higgins (1,091) and Tyler Boyd (828) topped their scoring corps. smugglers.
26. 2 Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. spent the first six games of the season with the Browns. Cleveland released him amid a diminished role in their offense, as well as controversy surrounding rumored displeasure with QB Baker Mayfield.
27. Rams coach Sean McVay, 36, is looking for his first Super Bowl victory and to become the youngest head coach to ever hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin holds the accolade for winning Super Bowl XLIII at age 36.
28. McVay will face Bengals coach Zac Taylor, 38, marking the youngest pair of Super Bowl head coaches in game history.
29. Taylor worked under McVay directly before becoming a Bengals coach, spending a year as the Rams’ assistant wide receiver coach (2017) and one as the team’s QB coach (2018).
30. Taylor is a former QB who was not drafted from Nebraska in 2007, briefly spending time with the Buccaneers and in the Canadian Football League before moving into coaching.
31. Taylor was 6-25-1 in his first two seasons in charge of the Bengals, replacing longtime coach Marvin Lewis, who led seven playoffs in 16 years but never won a game in the playoffs. Cincy’s march to the Super Bowl since 2019, when the Bengals finished 2-14, marks the most drastic turnaround in two seasons for a Super Bowl team.
32. McVay, who was hired by the Rams at just 30 in 2017, has led four playoff appearances in his five years on the job. His career winning percentage (.679) ranks 10th all-time, ahead of greats like Bill Belichick, Don Shula and Tony Dungy.
33. McVay and the Rams will play the Super Bowl on their home turf at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
34. Playing at SoFi Stadium, the Rams will be looking to become the second straight team to win it all at their home stadium. Before the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., to end the 2020 season, no team had ever done so.
35. The Rams are currently favorites to beat the Bengals by four points.
36. All but one of the six NFL playoff games since the divisional round have been decided by exactly three runs.
37. The Bengals and Rams finished 2021 with the top 10 in passing offenses. LA placed fifth and Cincy placed seventh.
38. Both teams had bottom half defenses, with the Rams ranking 17th and the Bengals 18th.
39. LA has two of the best defensive players in the game at their respective positions, however, with Aaron Donald at defensive tackle and Jalen Ramsey at cornerback. The two have combined 13 Pro Bowls, 10 All-Pro honors and three Defensive Player of the Year awards.
40. Ramsey was one of the first marquee acquisitions of the current Rams regime, joining the team via trade from the Jaguars in exchange for three draft picks, including two first-rounders, during the 2017 season.
41. The Rams are looking for their first Super Bowl victory playing in Los Angeles. Their last and only Super Bowl victory, in 1999, came from the St. Louis Rams, their name/location from 1995 to 2015.
42. The Rams won two championships before the Super Bowl era, first as the Cleveland Rams in 1945 and then as the Los Angeles Rams in 1951.
43. Von Miller, one of the Rams’ top passers, won Super Bowl 50 as a member of the Broncos, earning Super Bowl MVP. He’s had seven sacks, including the playoffs, since joining via trade in November.
44. Bengals starting running back Joe Mixon served as one of the NFL’s few star fullbacks in 2021, finishing third in rushing yards (1,205), fourth in touchdowns (13) and fifth in firsts. descents (60).
45. Another star from Cincinnati is Trey Hendrickson. Signed to a lucrative free agency contract after four years with the Saints, the passer has recorded 14 sacks in 2021, fifth among all players.
46. Rookie kicker Evan McPherson helped propel the Bengals’ playoff series. After setting a team record for most 50-yard field goals in a season, he went a perfect 16-for-16 on playoff kicks.
47. The Rams upset the defending champion Buccaneers in Tampa to qualify for the NFC Championship, beating Tom Brady in the legendary QB’s final NFL game.
48. The Rams ended a six-game losing streak against the 49ers by defeating San Francisco in the NFC Championship.
49. The Bengals upset the AFC No. 1 seed Titans in Tennessee to advance to the AFC Championship.
50. The Bengals upset the defending AFC champion Chiefs, who had appeared in the last two Super Bowls, in Kansas City to win the AFC championship this year.
51. The halftime show will feature a collective of longtime hip-hop artists: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.
52. Country singer Mickey Guyton will perform the national anthem, while R&B singer Jhené Aiko will perform “America the Beautiful” and gospel duo Mary Mary will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before the game.
53. NBC will broadcast the game, which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on February 13. Streaming is also available on fuboTV.
54. NBC’s broadcast team for the game includes Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color commentary), Michele Tafoya and Kathryn Tappen (secondary reporters), and Terry McAulay (rules analyst).
55. The Bengals, not the Rams, will be the official Super Bowl LVI home team as the NFL rotates the designation between conferences each year. This means they will use the typical Rams home stadium locker room during the game.
56. As the official “on the road” team, the Rams will call the toss before the opening kickoff. The Bengals, as a “home” team, will choose the uniforms they will wear in the big game.