There’s a lot going on in the world, so you can be forgiven for not paying this year’s NFL season the attention it deserves, but football is way more fun to watch with some context. Before you show up to that Super Bowl party, read through this thumbnail sketch of the teams, players and drama that will define 2022’s big game.
Where and when is Super Bowl 56?
Super Bowl LVI (or 56 if you’re not Roman) will be played on Sunday, Feb. 13 (Monday, Feb 14 for Aussies) at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium. The game starts at 7:30 a.m. AEDT and will be broadcast on NBC. You can also stream it on Peacock. NBC is available as a channel on DirecTV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, and Sling TV. Pre-game programming will begin at 2 a.m. AEDT.
Who is playing in Super Bowl 56?
This year, the Cincinnati Bengals (the ones in orange, black, and white uniforms) will face off against the Los Angeles Rams (the ones in blue, gold, and white uniforms).
The Cincinnati Bengals
At the beginning of the season, almost no one thought the Bengals would make it this far. Their odds of a Super Bowl victory were set at 100 to 1. The Bengals hadn’t played in a Super Bowl since 1988, when they lost to the Washington Redskins, and hadn’t won a single playoff game since 1990.
Quarterback: Playing in only his second NFL season, 25-year-old Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow would be tied for second youngest QB to ever win a super bowl if the Bengals prove victorious. Burrow leads the league in pass completions, having made over 70% of his attempts. He leads the league in yards per attempt, as well. But he was also sacked more than any other NFL quarterback this season. Off the field, “Joe Brrr” is known for his sartorial excesses, leading to comparison’s with Joe “Joe Cool” Namath. He is, as the kids say, drippy.
Head coach: Zac Taylor has been head coach of the Bengals since 2019. After a disastrous first season with the franchise, Taylor basically cleaned out the roster and built a winning squad from scratch. At 38 years old, Taylor is the second youngest coach in the NFL. (The youngest is Rams coach Sean McVay.)
Other notable players: Bengals wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are all formidable on their own, but together? It’s ridiculous. On the “weakness” side, the Bengal’s offensive line hasn’t done the best job protecting their quarterback, allowing 51 sacks for the season.
The Los Angeles Rams
The L.A. Rams are making their fifth Super Bowl appearance ever — they won it in 2000, and lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots in 2018. The Rams earned their NFC Championship by defeating dual enemies in the post-season. First, Tom Brady and the Chiefs, then perennial rivals the San Francisco 49ers. They’re playing at their home stadium, too.
Quarterback: Although he’s an NFL veteran, 33-year-old Matthew Stafford is playing in his first season for the L.A. Rams and appearing in his his first Super Bowl. During his 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, Stafford was seen as a great quarterback bogged down with a substandard team. Stafford is 11th among NFL quarterbacks in all-time in completions, 12th in passing yards, and fourth in touchdown passes. Plagued by back problems, this could be Stafford’s last shot at a Super Bowl ring.
Coach: At only 36 years old, Sean McVay is the youngest head coach in the NFL. He’s a wunderkind whose methods have proven so successful, other squads poach his talent, including the Bengals. Before he became Cincinnati’s leader, Zac Taylor was the Rams quarterbacks coach. So you could look at the game as a classic “teacher vs. student” scenario.
Other notable players: Defensive lineman Aaron Donald was named the second overall best player in the NFL in 2021. The focus might be on the duel between the quarterbacks, but Aaron Donald vs. the Bengals’ weak offensive line is the match-up to watch. It could decide Super Bowl 56.
Who is favoured to win Super Bowl 56?
According to Vegas odds-makers, the Rams are the favoured to win the game by at least 4.5 points. It’s not a huge margin, so they’re expecting a relatively close game.
What about the half-time show?
This year’s halftime show will feature iconic hip hop artists, including Eminem, and Los Angeles’ own Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar.
What about the commercials?
Big stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd will all appear in ads this year, as will novelty celebrities Guy Fieri and Kenny G. Look for a return to funny commercials, with a lot less “we’re all in this together” messaging than last year.
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