The Los Angeles Rams are back in the Super Bowl for the second time in four years. The last time around didn’t go well for Sean McVay’s squad. However, this is a different football team, hungry to reach the mountaintop.
Dallas Cowboys legend and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin weighed in on the Rams playing on their home turf at SoFi Stadium. He suggests losing is not an option for the NFC Champions, as it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Michael Irvin suggests the pressure is on the Rams
The LA Rams reaching the 2022 Super Bowl, makes two consecutive seasons where a team plays in their home stadium. The AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are heading west with another upset on their minds.
NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin believes the Rams cannot afford to let Joe Burrow and company walk into SoFi Stadium and leave with a victory. He recently joined The Rich Eisen Show to preview the matchup and had some interesting things to say about how LA should approach this game.
“There’s no way you can let this team [Bengals] come in here and win this game,” said Irvin. “It’s your home field. If I let you beat me here, every time I come into this stadium, I have to remember that. My brain will go back to that. I have to beat you now to make sure that I’m not living with this for the rest of my life.”
Irvin suggests it would be a horrible feeling for Cincinnati to win and celebrate a Super Bowl victory in LA.
“This is your home stadium,” he added. “You cannot watch other people catch confetti in your home stadium. All next year, you will be watching that during games.”
LA looking to atone for loss in the 2019 Super Bowl
The last time the LA Rams were in the Super Bowl was in 2019. Sean McVay and company went on an impressive 13-3 run in the regular season and cruised through the playoffs. However, they were no match for the New England Patriots. The 13-3 loss certainly left a bad taste in the Rams’ mouths.
Many of the players from the 2019 Super Bowl team are no longer on the roster. Still, the few mainstays remember the pain of watching the Patriots hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Michael Irvin believes All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald will be itching to get over the hump this time around against the Bengals.
“Whoever has to block Aaron Donald, it’s going to be great to watch,” said Irvin. “Unless you’re the one blocking Aaron Donald. Can you imagine how he’s going to play this game? He’s already tasted defeat in the Super Bowl. So now he has that bitter taste in his mouth. Now, you’re trying to give him a second defeat in a Super Bowl. I can’t see it happening.”
Surely, Donald, McVay, and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth will be motivated to get off the snide and secure the victory in front of the home fans.
How the home team can win the Lombardi Trophy
The 2022 Super Bowl will be an intriguing matchup with stars all over the field. As Michael Irvin suggested, though, the LA Rams must find a way to cash in on the unique opportunity.
The Cincinnati Bengals are oozing with confidence heading into the matchup. Joe Burrow and the offense have set the tone for the rest of the team. The Bengals boast a top-10 offense, featuring plenty of talented weapons. Raheem Morris’ defense will have its hands full trying to slow down this explosive unit.
If any team can have success against Cincinnati, it’s LA. The Rams have a star-studded defense, led by Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller. It’s tough to account for Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. Still, the Rams have the pieces to give the Bengals some fits.
LA also fields a top-10 offense, mainly because of its potent passing attack. Cincinnati’s secondary is susceptible to big plays, which the Rams specialize in. If Matthew Stafford gets into a rhythm with Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., and the crew, it could be a long day for the defense.
The battle in the trenches could ultimately determine the winner. LA will have the definitive edge when on defense. The Bengals’ offensive line often struggles, and the Rams should be able to take advantage.
Sean McVay’s group has all the pieces to win the 2022 Super Bowl. Now they must deliver in their backyard.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.