The Super Bowl is the most watched sporting event in America. The 2021 NFL Super Bowl attracted 96.4 million viewers, making it the least watched Super Bowl since 2007 when the Indianapolis Colts played the Chicago Bears. The previous year, when the San Francisco 49ers played the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020, 102.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the game. And with the next Super Bowl less than two weeks away, fans of the gridiron are, once again, preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Sports section came together to poll the audience of The News-Letter to get their thoughts on who would win the big game. They and writers of The News-Letter Sports section provided commentary on their picks.
Of the 22 individuals that filled out The News-Letter’s form and provided commentary, 13 chose the Cincinnati Bengals over the Los Angeles Rams.
Many who voted for the Bengals cited that their quarterback, Joe Burrow, would be the reason why they would win. Sophomore Kai Ko expanded on this sentiment.
“This is Burrow's season. With Louisiana State University (LSU) teammates on both the offensive and defensive, there is no doubt that he has a better connection to his team than first-year Rams Matthew Stafford,” he wrote. “Burrow's grit and his past winning experiences under coach Ed Oregon with the LSU Tigers has done nothing but prepare him for moments like this.”
Sophomore Hayden Lovinfosse also believes the Bengals will come out victorious even though they will be facing big names like Stafford, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller, Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr.
“I think the Bengals are going to shock the world and upset the Rams on the biggest stage. Although the Rams’ defense is stacked, I think that the Bengals will be able to somehow hold off one of the best pass rushing units we've ever seen,” he wrote. “The quarterback-receiver duo of Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase is nearly unstoppable at points. He also has weapons in Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, not to mention the rising of superstar place kicker Evan McPherson.”
Lovinfosse also asserted that the Bengals will win the Super Bowl.
“I think the underdog Bengals will come up victorious in this game. As long as their offensive line can hold off the pass rush, Chase and Higgins can burn through the secondary. On the other side of the ball, though, the defense might have a hard time in the secondary because they have to guard two wideouts who are currently in the prime of their career with a veteran quarterback under center,” he said. “The Bengals have a lot to worry about but also have a ton of momentum going into this game. The Bengals are not the postseason underdogs anymore. They are the real deal.”
Junior Coby Schoolman also believes the Bengals will pull through.
“No team has been more precise and efficient in their game management than Cincinnati over the past season,” he wrote. “Burrow runs games with an ease only matched by Sean McVay when burning timeouts, and while the Rams may have a superior defense, Cincinnati has fewer overall gaps in their game, and I think that the Lombardi Trophy will finally be coming to Cincinnati.”
On the other hand, some believe that the Rams, who have the home-field advantage, will be able to defeat the Bengal who still lack an indoor practice facility.
With a bit of sarcasm, senior Sports section writer Alex Forlenza claimed that the Rams could easily beat the Bengals.
“Donald, Leonard Floyd and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Miller against a team that gave up 37 sacks in a game against the Tennessee Titans will be a fun matchup to watch,” he wrote.
Though not as enthusiastic as other Rams supporters, I am also leaning towards choosing them as our Super Bowl Champions. Home field advantage is not the most important aspect of a football game but for the Rams to play in SoFi stadium, a place that they’re all too familiar with and a place that will be packed with their fans, it’s hard to think that they won’t have the upper leg there. The Bengals will be traveling to the west coast from Ohio. Additionally, this is honestly the Rams’ last chance. The Rams have not made a first-round pick since taking Jared Goff in 2016. After trading Goff and two first-round picks to the Detroit Lions, they will not pick in the first round until 2024– assuming they don’t trade away more future picks.
Regardless of the outcome, the Hopkins community is excited and looking forward to the last game of the 2021 regular season.