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The Los Angeles Rams are one win away from lifting the Lombardi Trophy, and they couldn’t have picked a better year to return to the Super Bowl stage. They’ll have a shot at winning their second NFL title in franchise history from the comfort of their own roof when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Sofi Stadium this Sunday.
Rams “All In” for Super Bowl LVI
The Rams have managed to pass the NFC Championship for the past two decades, but they’ve failed in their last three Super Bowls.
This year, the Los Angeles front office has assembled a great team, with one thing in mind: Not only do the Super Bowl on Sunday, but win it all in the city they call home.
Before Matthew Stafford was brought in last offseason, before Odell Beckham Jr. and Vonn Miller were traded midway through the season, the Rams played their first title game in the 1979 season.
The Rams have already played a Super Bowl in LA
After a 9-7 regular season that year, the Rams snuck into the playoffs and then knocked out the Dallas Cowboys as heavy underdogs. They then moved on to whiteout the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0 in the NFC Championship to earn a trip to their first Super Bowl.
“Trip” might be an exaggeration. The Rams didn’t have to leave Los Angeles to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV. The game against the defending champion Steelers would be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which was not serving as the Rams’ home stadium at the time, but was a stone’s throw from the LA Coliseum.
Despite being big underdogs heading into the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Rams lead by ten at halftime and were leading 19-17 going into the final quarter. Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers scored two unanswered touchdowns in the final fifteen minutes to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Warner takes the Rams to glory
It would be 20 years before the Rams returned to the Super Bowl. At that time, the The franchise had moved to St. Louis and invested all of its trust in a former grocery store employee named Kurt Warner.
Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce turned the Rams into what would later be called the “The greatest show on turf.” Warner would sweep the NFC after going 13-3 in the regular season. They beat the Vikings in a shootout, then outlasted the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship to make the first Super Bowl of the new millennium.
The Rams’ first and only Super Bowl victory would be one of the most memorable finishes in history or the league. The defense of Saint Louis almost let a 16-0 lead over the Tennessee Titans go to waste. After the Titans tied it, Warner hit Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown just after the two-minute warning to take a touchdown advantage.
Steve McNair walked the Titans down the field and had a chance to tie the game with six seconds left. On the last play of the match, McNair hit Kevin Dyson, who was stopped at the one-yard line with a spectacular tackle for Mike Jones.
A defensive save won the first-ever Super Bowl for the Rams and a team whose offense was called the “Greatest Show on Turf” was bailed out by their life-saving tackle.
Brady and Pats get the better of the Rams
The Rams were arguably a better team two years later when they went 14-2 in the 2001 regular season with the same core to build around. Kurt Warner won his second MVP award that season, and St. Louis had the NFC’s top seed.
They crushed Brett Favre and Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs then squealed by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship.
They would face New England for a chance to win their second Super Bowl in three yearsbut would clash with another rising and coming dynasty.
The Rams’ powerful offense was limited to just three points through the first three quarters. Despite a total of 427 yards, nearly 200 more than the Pats that night, the Rams struggled to score after committing three turnovers that led to 17 points for Tom Brady’s boys.
Two Rams Touchdowns in the final quarter tied the game with 90 seconds left in the game, but it was just enough time to Brady to drive the Pats downfield and set up a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal time from 48 yards expired.
Back to LA and back to the Super Bowl
Two years after bringing the franchise back to Los Angeles, the Rams were in the Super Bowl again. Jared Goff led Sean McVay’s Rams to a 13-3 regular season record, land a first-round bye in the playoffs ahead of the 2018 playoffs.
Running back Todd Gurley returned from a leg injury in time for the Rams’ 30-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Their next match would be steeped in controversy after LA defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman appeared to have made a pass interference call late in the fourth quarter that went uncalled.
The game went into overtime, and Steve Zuerlein moved the Rams to the Super Bowl with a 57-yard field goal to set up a Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots.
It would be the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in league history. It was 3-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Patriots finally activated the offense by scoring 10 unanswered points to wrap up their sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
The Rams will now have a shot at winning their second Super Bowl in franchise history and their first as the Los Angeles Rams. Kick-off from Sofi Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on February 13.