Super Bowl LVI Open Discussion

Super Bowl LVI
Super Bowl LVI
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Super Bowl - Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals face off against Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams. Winners get a shiny trophy with a silver football on top. Use this thread to discuss it.


328 comments, Last at 14 Feb 2022, 4:48pm

1 Looking forward to this game quite a bit

First, a tip of the hat to the thousands of long suffering Bengals fans that have been waiting for a season like this, and the dozens of Rams fans.  In the analytics community, its easy to get obsessed with who is "best" where best really means "plays in a way predictive of future wins" even when we veer dangerously close to making holistic judgements of quality.  But I've become more and more interested in "great" instead of "best".  When your team has a great game, or a great championship, or a great dynasty, it can have a real impact on a lot of human lives out there.  So, here’s praying for a great game! 

Second, I’m glad that Brady, Rodgers, and other lighting rod players aren’t going to be in the Super bowl.  Too many commentators have had their brains eaten lately by recent events, and I’m glad I’ll be able to enjoy the week leading up to the game without that.

Third, I guess the Great Non-Random-Control Trial of Mathew Stafford has at least an intermediate endpoint now.  6th in DYAR, 9th in DVOA, 4th in QBR, 3rd in ALEX and a super bowl appearance.  No variance measure, but I’m not convinced low variance is necessarily a good thing outside of peak Manning/Breese/Brady.  Looks “Good, borderline great, trapped in a bad situation for a long time.”  My of “great” is probably lower than yours if you want to quibble.  I think there are ~5+ great QBs, 10+ great wide receivers, etc. at any one time in the league.

Fourth, speaking of variance, this game feels like a pile of soggy fireworks.  Will it all fizzle, with a few dropped 60 yard head-scratchers and WTF sidearm passes into the back of an offensive guard’s helmet?  Or will it all pop off with Chase running free with the ball in his hand and Stafford turning broken plays into permanent highlight reel throws?  Who know!!?!

2 My Prediction

I don't have a whole lot original to say about this one.  It really does seem like a game where whichever defense can force the opposing QB into making mistakes figures to win, and both Stafford and Burrow have shown themselves to be more than capable of making big mistakes from time to time.  Having said that, I think the strength of the Rams pass rush, combined with the weakness of the Bengals pass protection, will likely be the difference.  Therefore, my official prediction is: 

Rams 28, Bengals 20



3 I predict that if Joe borrow…

I predict that if Joe borrow wins the super bowl and just plays okay enough to get the MVP, he will end up on Mike sandos tier 1 quarterback list. 

Other than that fact, I am mildly rooting for the Bengals

4 Picking the Rams, rooting…

Picking the Rams, rooting for the Bengals, happy for either.

For the Bengals to win, it feels like they need both Burrow to play an excellent game and Stafford (or Akers, based on last game) to give them some gifts. If they don't have both of those things, I just don't see a path. Of course, I didn't see a path to them upsetting the Chiefs at all after going down 21-3, so I'll be preparing for that slice of humble pie just in case.

5 Greetings from the game. It…

Greetings from the game. It's currently 84 degrees: out-of-shape middle aged man breaks a sweat while walking up stadium steps weather.



7 Rooting for the Rams, not…

Rooting for the Rams, not really excited for either team. Can't think of a team that's jumped the shark faster than the Bengals imo, but obviously I'm biased.

11 Still miffed we missed out…

Still miffed we missed out on the Bills or Chiefs in the Super Bowl and got the Bengals instead. This game feels more low-wattage than probably three out of the four divisional round games.

I can understand the charm of an underdog to some extent, but it's a lot less charming when they didn't play all THAT well to get advance. Cincinnati came close to losing to a bad Raiders team even with a week of rest. The next two games they were lucky to get the opposing QB to underperform (and the Titans weren't that great anyway). If Mahomes had played like he did against the Bills, the Bengals probably lose by 3 TDs minimum.

That's a big contrast from, say, the 2007 Giants, who had to go through the 13-3 Cowboys and 13-3 Packers even before facing the juggernaut Patriots.

12 I believe if the 2007 Giants…

I believe if the 2007 Giants got rolled by a multiple touchdowns like everyone was expecting, we would be lamenting the fact that they got there in the first place by beating two teams that melted down in the prior playoff rounds.

137 AFC, too.

The Pates in 2007 also evaded the strong 13-3 Manning Colts team because of a collapse against the Chargers.

 We’re all lucky the unlikely Giants put a stop to that embarrassing run of dumb luck the Pates were gifted in 2007.

295 weird

In reply to by _Brian

The Pats had beaten the Colts in the regular season.   

It's a weird definition of "luck" when you bemoan the wrong team winning a game just because you think the loser would be a tougher matchup.  That's not "luck".  The Chargers were a good team.  

Praising the Giants win to stop "dumb luck" is the height of irony.  Go back and look at the helmet catch play, or Samuel's dropped pick, or Stephen Neal getting injured in the 1st quarter.  The Giants were the ultimate beneficiaries of "dumb luck".

13 IDC

Reasons to root for Cincy

  1. Never won a chip
  2. Mike Daniels
  3. Would stop Stafford HOF discourse immediately
  4. Chase>Sewell reach new heights for us nerdz

Reasons not to root for Cincy

  1. Corny Joe "Brrr" memes
  2. Eli Apple keeps talking

Reasons to root for LA

  1. Eli Apple would get roasted
  2. OBJ gets a ring

Reasons not to root for LA

  1. Stafford truthers
  2. LA is an overrated city

14 I regret to inform you that…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I regret to inform you that the Matt Ryan for Hall of Fame discussion is still somehow going strong.

15 Much better case!

4x the Pro Bowls despite being in the same conference, an MVP, OROTY, Bert Bell, OPOTY.

(hint this is another player that should stop the Stafford discussion even though he's not the best coc...award block)


139 LA is an overrated city …

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

  1. LA is an overrated city

Wrong. LA isn’t a city at all, just a long dystopian sprawl of suburbs.

17 My head: Rams-Bengals 34-19…

My head: Rams-Bengals 34-19

My gut: Rams-Bengals 22-26

Like Robot Maria said, the mediator between the head and the gut must be the Bengals' performance on the line on both sides of the ball, or something.

18 Not in love with shotgun on…

Not in love with shotgun on 4th-1, but maybe it was a long 1 and given their line no one would believe they’d sneak.

20 First two series defensive…

First two series defensive fronts dominate. So game will end with a bunch of quick touchdown drives.

22 Wow

I was told OBJ was a cancer. 

24 Great throw and catch. OBJ…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Great throw and catch. OBJ isn't what he was in New York, but he's still pretty good - with those same ridiculously strong hands, for one thing.

69 imagine that

An fanbase being upset with the commisioner for perpetrating a fraud.

Or do you not read Florio? Still pretending Deflategate was anything but a lie?


27 He probably kind of is. It…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

He probably kind of is. It just turns out how good a guy is at football is more important to winning football games than his cancerousness. See Owens, Terrell.

25 Analytics!

Bengals shoulda punted

”ducks, hustles off stage”

32 Oh my

Chase is amazing. Home run of a pick.

41 "The Rams have already…

"The Rams have already scored more points in this game than in their last Super Bowl appearance."

-Al Michaels, with the body blow

49 Best. Ad. Ever.

Silverado Sopranos commercial made me stop in my tracks and actually pay attention to an ad.  Loved it.

51 Same! I thought for a second…

In reply to by young curmudgeon

Same! I thought for a second it was an ad for The Many Saints of Newark on streaming or something, and I was like, "That's weird. Or maybe they're announcing a sequel?" I guess one could say it sort of was.

I have to confess I also liked Schwarzenegger and Hayek as Zeus and Hera. If this were the '90s, they would be making that into a bad movie within a year's time.

291 One of two

In reply to by young curmudgeon

New Jersey highway signs and McDonalds customers' inability to rattle off their desired orders when required to are the two winning commercials of this superb owl...

315 The trailers for the Dr…

In reply to by jonsilver

The trailers for the Dr. Strange movie and the new film by Jordan Peele were the highlights for me, mainly because I saw the full trailers on the internet already.

71 Yeah…

Yeah...................... Van Jefferson's time to shine I guess?

It's worth remembering that OBJ's little renaissance in LA is in no small part because he's the #2 guy feasting on lesser DBs. Without him it's all on Kupp. I wonder if the Bengals might blitz more now that they only have to cover one guy.

62 JB3

gonna get paaaaiiiiiiiiiid.

There's the Stafford I know all too well

64 That boiled down to being an…

That boiled down to being an arm punt. A bad arm punt, since an actual punt might've got the Bengals pinned inside the 10, but far from a disaster.

73 Stafford does it again

Literally as I making my way through this paragraph, he throws it up for grabs



"That average depth of target shows how the Rams often used empty backfields to set up their deep shot plays, and you can definitely attack the Bengals deep. Cincinnati ranked 25th in DVOA on deep passes, those over 15 yards through the air. The Rams ranked lower than you might expect but were still good, 12th in offensive DVOA on deep passes. Interceptions were a big reason the Rams did not rank higher. Although we have this mental image of Matthew Stafford throwing pick-sixes close to his own line of scrimmage, he actually led the NFL with 11 interceptions on deep throws."

77 Cowards

Kneeling. SMH. 

Pour it on LA, no mercy.

78 No running game and now no…

No running game and now no OBJ. Prospects not great for a strong Rams offensive showing in the second half.

95 I was going to argue, but…

I was going to argue, but then realized he hasn't put anything out other than a single in 4 years.  Just feels like it's been less because we sell out of his records every time we get them back in stock.

112 Not at all, even though I…

Not at all, even though I prefer Vince Staples (different flavor of hip hop, I guess) but for some reason I thought he put out an album every year for four years.  If you count Untitled, Unmastered then it was 3 years in a row and 4 out of 6.

Never been a big Eminem fan, but don't hate him as much as other people.

89 Fantastic game thus far,…

Fantastic game thus far, with the exception of the Beckham injury. Hate to see something like that.

I have this horrible feeling that the botched by Hekker extra point attempt is going to bite the Rams in the behind at some point. 

96 I don't think the facemask…

I don't think the facemask made Ramsey fall, that was him being burnt/off-balance. But it should have been a penalty.

99 Stafford meltdown in…

Stafford meltdown in progress.

Edit: Eh on review that was about 95% on the receiver. It was maybe a skosh too far out front but a pro receiver ought to catch that.

100 That non-call is just going…

That non-call is just going to leave such a sour taste in the mouth if the Rams don't come back. They don't get more impactful than that.

113 Yup. Don't know why the NFL…

Yup. Don't know why the NFL makes it so difficult.  You've got the best officials in the league on the field and they can't see a receiver face mask a guy to avoid an INT, turning it into a TD.  But an upstairs official could call that down to the field before the ball is even spotted (or in this particular case since it was a TD, before the team dance in the end zone is completed).

296 The NFL is run by people terrified of criticism

As Belichick has said many times, everything should be reviewable.  Everybody watching the game knew the officials had blown the call on the Tee Higgins TD.  No sound principle is served by placing that judgment call beyond review.  The rules are written that way to protect egos.  

Gene Steratore said on the radio that the play should have been called back either for a face mask or OPI.  He's a former official.  So he confirms that the call was missed.  How will we all feel after the game if the Bengals had won thanks to a blown call on a 75-yard TD pass?

This situation undermines confidence in the game.  


327 The main problem

I think the biggest problem with that is that you can pretty much guarantee that any coach could win a review if they asked the refs to see if any opponents linemen were holding. By the strictest interpretation of the rules, holding occurs on every play, and guess illegal contact of some sort does as well, so you're basically making those penalties into judgement calls. There's no sense in reviewing matters of judgment, for obvious reasons. But if anything can be reviewed, that just going to clog up the game.


My preference is that officials set the tone for judgment calls early in the game, so that any calls late in the game are in keeping with them. If you're letting defenders grab receivers all game, why start calling it best the goal line in the fourth quarter? If receivers can grab face masks when running routes on the first quarter, why not the fourth? I don't really care how ticky-tack the calls are as long as the calls are pretty consistent, and the baseline is established early in the game. Getting particular about contact when the game is late and close just takes me out of the game as a viewer.

102 Stafford

Stafford, Stafford, Stafford

What else can I say

107 Yeah, if the Bengals win…

Yeah, if the Bengals win this the o-line is the 5-way MVP. Regardless of who actually gets the shiny hardware at the end.

UPDATE: Mama, the bad man is back again.

110 NBC can use that blown call…

NBC can use that blown call to promote the ice dancing they have following the game. "Sure, figure skating judging is famously opaque and corrupt, but hey, whatever they come up with can't be worse than the call you already saw tonight."

123 Doping?

That's the Russian Olympic Committee ice dancing coach, not the Russians. The Russians aren't there because of doping. That's made all the difference. 

124 They could be Russia again…

In reply to by justanothersteve

They could be Russia again if they could go a week without someone shooting up.

But would they still be Russian?

111 Oh yeah

My boy Darrell Henderson is back. The BEST Rams RB

119 They were only 18 picks…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

They were only 18 picks apart (and a year, obviously). Akers just obviously hasn't recovered, and hasn't done anything in the 2021-22 season outside of one pass in the blowout of the Cards. I don't care if he's Walter Payton in his prime on a billion-dollar contract, if he's too hurt to do NFL things he should not be the feature back in an NFL game.

150 LOL

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The blatant Stafford hate masquerading as truth. 

129 Refs are simply incapable of…

Refs are simply incapable of calling a taunting penalty correctly. It is such a simple concept, but they can't handle it. Boggles the mind.

133 It's hard to imagine the…

It's hard to imagine the Rams getting within FG range, much less scoring two FGs or a TD by the end of the game.

134 I'm sure the Bengals are…

I'm sure the Bengals are double-teaming Kupp (or triple, or quadruple...), but he just had the second-most yards ever - I humbly suggest that he ought to see more targets than Van Frickin' Jefferson (it's Kupp 6, Jefferson 7).

135 Im no savant

But I know Cincy likes empty. It's not time for that though lol