LOS ANGELES — The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams punched their tickets to Super Bowl LVI in dramatic fashion on the NFL's Championship Weekend as both teams came back from double digits to win their respective conference championships.
And what are we left with? The worst Super Bowl matchup of all time.
OK, not actually. But Super LVI will feature a matchup of the No. 4 seed from the AFC (Bengals) and the No. 4 seed from the NFC (Rams). It's the lowest--seeded Super Bowl matchup since playoff seeding began for Super Bowl X.
In Super Bowl history, a No. 4 seed or higher has made the Super Bowl 14 times, but never has their opponent not been a No. 1, 2 or 3 seed. In fact, there has never been a Super Bowl without a No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed until now.
Super Bowl LVI Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl LVI will feature the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Los Angeles Rams.
The Bengals went 10-7 in the regular season and won the AFC North division. The Rams went 12-5 in the regular season and won the NFC West division.
Cincinnati was the worst team in the NFL just three seasons ago. They had the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft because of it, and used it on starting quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals weren't very good last season, either, finishing with the fifth-worst record in the NFL and using the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on star rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase. Burrow and Chase were teammates at LSU when they won the 2019 National Championship.
Meanwhile, the Rams went through a big shakeup this past offseason when they traded former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions, along with draft picks, in exchange for Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Rams also, midseason this year, acquired key players in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and linebacker Von Miller. All have been instrumental in the Rams getting to this point.
When and where is Super Bowl LVI?
Super Bowl LVI will take place on Sunday, February 13 in Los Angeles. The Super Bowl returns to the Los Angeles area for the first time since 1993.
The Rams' home stadium, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood will be the site of Super Bowl LVI. The stadium was just built, and this is the second year the Rams have played there, along with the Los Angeles Chargers who also call SoFi Stadium home.
Interestingly, this will be just the second time in NFL history that a team will be playing in a Super Bowl in their home stadium. The first time it happened was last year in Tampa when Tom Brady and the Bucs took on the Chiefs.
However, the Rams will technically be the road team in the Super Bowl and the Bengals will be the home team, as the designation alternates by conference each year.
How to watch Super Bowl LVI
Super Bowl LVI kicks off at 6:30 p.m. E.T., 3:30 p.m. local time in L.A.
NBC will air the game with streaming available on Peacock.
The NBC Sunday Night Football crew will call the game with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in the booth. This will mark Michaels' 11th Super Bowl as a play-by-play voice.
NBC was originally supposed to broadcast the Super Bowl in 2021, but they swapped spots with CBS and elected to broadcast it this year.
Who is performing at halftime at Super Bowl LVI?
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform for the first time on stage together at the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.
A three-minute trailer -- fittingly titled "The Call" -- depicts Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar answering Dr. Dre's "call" to join him at Super Bowl LVI for the show.
Dre emerged from the West Coast gangster rap scene alongside Eazy-E and Ice Cube to help form the group N.W.A., which made a major mark in the hip-hop culture and music industry with controversial lyrics in the late 1980s. Dre is responsible for bringing forth rap stars such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent and Lamar. Dre also produced Blige's No. 1 hit song “Family Affair.”
“The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career,” Dre said in a statement. The seven-time Grammy winner added that their halftime performance will be an “unforgettable cultural moment.”
The quarterbacks in Super Bowl LVI
Matthew Stafford will lead the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI and Joe Burrow will lead the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stafford is in his 13th NFL season after being drafted by the Detroit Lions No. 1 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Joe Burrow is in just his second season after being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
This marks just the second time in Super Bowl history that former No. 1 picks will be the starting quarterbacks in the matchup. The first time it happened was in 2016 for Super Bowl 50 when Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos defeated Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Key players in Super Bowl LVI
Apart from the quarterbacks, these two teams, especially the Rams, have a lot of star power.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is widely regarded as the best player in the NFL. He's a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year.
Other key players on the Rams defense include All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and 2016 Super Bowl MVP linebacker Von Miller.
On the Rams offense, they have the top NFL receiver this year in Cooper Kupp, who had two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game and Odell Beckham Jr., who joined the Rams after being released by the Cleveland Browns midseason.
For the Bengals, apart from Burrow, they also have strong talent at the wide receiver position in rookie Ja'Marr Chase, expected to be the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year this season. Running back Joe Mixon was third in rush yards this season in the NFL and added 13 rushing touchdowns.
The Bengals defense came up huge in the second half of the AFC Championship Game and throughout the playoffs. They're led by defensive end Trey Hendrickson, free safety Jessie Bates III and defensive tackle D.J. Reader.
The coaches in Super Bowl LVI
The coaches in Super Bowl LVI will be Rams head coach Sean McVay and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor.
McVay is in his fifth year as head coach of the Rams. He previous took the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2019 when the Rams lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Zac Taylor is in his third year as head coach of the Bengals. He previously served on Sean McVay's staff in L.A. as an assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 and the quarterbacks coach in 2018 before being hired by the Bengals.
McVay is just 36 years old and Taylor is just 38 years old. It's the youngest matchup of head coaches in Super Bowl history.
Who is favored in Super Bowl LVI?
As of writing, the Rams are Super Bowl LVI favorites right now, currently favored by four points over the Bengals according to oddsmakers.
The over/under for the game is currently set at 50 points.
With the game taking place at SoFi Stadium, it's technically a home game for the Rams. They're 7-3 on the year at home and 5-5 against the spread at home. The Bengals were a great road team this year, going 7-3 in road games and 8-2 against the spread in road games.
Super Bowl LVI Preview Content
All the Rams and Bengals preview content you need can be found on the Locked On Podcast Network.
The Locked On Rams podcast is your daily podcast covering all things Los Angeles Rams, hosted by Travis Rodgers. You can find Locked On Rams wherever you get your podcasts, including YouTube.
The Locked On Bengals podcast is your daily podcast for all things Cincinnati Bengals, hosted by Jake Liscow and James Rapien. You can find Locked On Bengals on all platforms including YouTube.
For even more Super Bowl LVI, subscribe to the Locked On NFL podcast, another daily podcast that covers all things league-wide. Available on all platforms and YouTube.