Let’s Get Ready for a Bungle in the Jungle
After an up and down year of NFL Football we’ve finally arrived at Super Bowl Sunday. For sports fans, gamblers, degenerates, fans of overpriced commercials and cute little puppy lovers it’s like Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July wrapped up in one.
This year’s game is the 56th installment, for those who have lost count or don’t know the meaning of the Roman Numerals LVI.
History lesson, the NFL began using Roman Numerals for Super Bowl V (5) and retroactively labelled the first four as I through IV. The Baltimore Colts were -2.5-point favorites in that game, and they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 on a 32-yard FG by Jim O’Brien, covering the spread in the process.
Cowboys’ linebacker Chuck Howley was the game’s MVP. He’s the only Super Bowl MVP in the history of the of the game to play on the losing team. Oh, and he’s not in the Hall of Fame, which is a joke.
Super Bowl LVI (56) features two storied franchises who have a limited history against one another. But we’ll get to the particulars of this matchup in a minute. First, I need to vent.
Matt Stafford Should Send Jaquiski Tartt a Gift Basket
So let me get this straight. Matthew Stafford is all the sudden a great clutch quarterback who wins the big games because Jaquiski Tartt dropped a gift-wrapped interception that Stafford literally just chucked up as if he were Jon Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer”?
That’s all I’ve been hearing the last two weeks is Matt Stafford is a winner. I mean when we aren’t subjected to hearing about his pretzel throwing wife Kelly. Can she and Brittany Matthews and Jackson Mahomes just all go away please.
Here’s a question. What would the narrative be if Tartt had actually hauled in that pass for the interception, which basically would have sealed the win for the Niners? I’ll tell you what it would be, Stafford is a choking loser who can’t win the big game.
Well, I guess Jaquiski’s bungle is Matty’s boon. Matt, I hope you at least sent him a nice thank you note. I figure it went something like this…” Dear Jaquiski, thank you for changing the narrative on my loserness at least until I screw up in Super Bowl LVI (56). Love, Matthew.”
Rams Bengals History
The Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams have faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals a total of 14 times since their first meeting on October 22, 1972. After building a 12-0 lead that day, the Rams held on for a 15-12 win at home thanks to a 32-yard game winning FG. No where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Super Bowl V (5).
The Bengals lead the all-time series 8-6, going 3-3 against the St. Louis Rams and 5-3 against the Los Angeles Rams. This will be their first ever playoff matchup.
Rams Super Bowl History
The Rams have played in a total of four Super Bowls, tying them for 11th on the all-time list with the Kansas City Chiefs (2-2), Buffalo Bills (0-4), Minnesota Vikings (0-4) and Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (2-2). The Rams are 1-3 in the big game. Not great, but at least that gives them one more win than the Bills and Vikings combined. So that’s something.
Most recently the Los Angeles Rams played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII (53), losing 13-3 as +2.5-point underdogs. The total came nowhere close to the posted over/under of 57.5. So much for Boy Genius’ offensive attack in that game.
In Super Bowl XXXVI (36), the St. Louis Rams were a gaudy -14-point favorite over the New England Patriots in Tom Brady’s first ever Super Bowl appearance. Well, we all know what happened don’t we? Yup, the Pats won outright 20-17 on a 48-yard Adam Vinatieri FG. Again, the total went way under the posted over/under of 53.
Two years earlier in Super Bowl XXXIV (34), the St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 as -7-point favorites resulting in a push for both sides. Once again, the game would go under the posted total of 45.
This was the game I wrote about back in Week 9.
Thanks again Mike F’ing Jones.
Then there was the Rams first Super Bowl, when they were the Los Angeles Rams back in 1979. The Rams were -10.5-point underdogs to the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers. What’s interesting about the line is that the game was played at the Rose Bowl, which is only 13.8 miles from LA Memorial Coliseum, the Rams home at the time. If the game wasn’t practically a Rams home game, the spread would have been even higher.
The Rams led by two in the third quarter when safety Nolan Cromwell jumped a pass from Terry Bradshaw to Lynn Swann for what linebacker Jack Youngblood thought was a sure interception return for a touchdown. “And he dropped the ball,” Youngblood remembers. Let’s call Cromwell the Jaquiski Tartt of 1979. The Rams would go on to lose 31-19 with the Steelers barely covering the spread. Finally in a Rams Super Bowl the score would go over the posted total, which in this case was a paltry 37.
A fascinating aside is that the 1979 Rams team had a new owner in Georgia Frontiere, who was given seventy percent of the team when her late husband, Carroll Rosenbloom, who was also her sixth husband, died unexpectedly in Florida after a “drowning accident.”
Frontiere, fondly known as “Madame Ram”, was a poet, music lover and had a television career as a weather forecaster and talk show personality. No wonder she had six husbands. Actually she married one more time, so let’s make that seven. Though say what you will, under Madame Ram’s leadership the team made three Super Bowl appearances including their one win in 1999. Thanks Mike Jones.
Bengals Super Bowl History
The Bengals will be making their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years. Their two previous appearances came against the San Francisco 49ers and some guy named Joe Montana. As most people know, Montana is a perfect 4-0 in the big game, which obviously means the Bengals are 0-2 in Super Bowls. Cincinnati also carries the distinction of being one of twelve teams to have never won a Super Bowl and one of five to play in multiple Super Bowls without a win. Not great, but it again, it’s better than the Bills and Vikings.
In Super Bowl XVI (16) the Bengals were only +1-point underdogs to the 49ers, but their three early turnovers, one by our friend Cris Collinsworth at the San Fran 27, which would lead to a Montana TD pass, put them in a 20-0 hole at halftime. Way to go Collinsworth.
The Bengals rallied behind QB Ken Anderson in the second half, but the early deficit combined with a 49ers goal line stand late in the third quarter would prove too much to overcome and they fell to the Niners 26-21. The total would go under the posted number of 48 and Montana was voted the Super Bowl MVP.
An interesting note is this marked the first time ever that a team went from 2-14 in one season to 6-10 the following season to Super Bowl Champion the next season.
The Bengals record the past three seasons was 2-14 in 2019, 4-11-1 in 2020 and 10-7 this season.
The 49ers had waited 36 years for a Super Bowl Championship. For the Bengals it’s been 33 years.
I’m sensing a possible trend here.
If the Bengals can win Super Bowl LVI (56), they’ll join the Niners as the only teams to go from worst in the NFL to Super Bowl Champs in a three-year span.
The Bengals second and last Super Bowl appearance was in 1998 when they once again faced the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII (23). The 49ers were -7-point favorites in what is largely considered one of the best Super Bowls of all-time.
When this game is discussed, it always centers around the famous Joe Montana story. With his team down 16-13 on their own 8-yard line and 3:10 left in the game, Montana nonchalantly tells Harris Barton he saw John Candy in the stands and then proceeds to drive his team 92 yards for the game winning TD pass to John Taylor with 39 seconds left in the game.
But what you may not know is in the fourth quarter with the Bengals leading 13-6 and the 49ers driving, Cincy cornerback Lewis Billups dropped an interception in the end zone that was right in his hands. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Yeah, Montana threw a touchdown to some guy named Jerry Rice on the very next play.
Billups go stand in the corner with Cromwell and Tartt.
The 49ers would go on to win 20-16 and guess who was the Super Bowl MVP? Yup, Joe Montana aka “Joe Cool”. Hmm, I’m sensing another trend.
If it’s any consolation for the Bengals or their fans, they did cover the spread. This game would also go under the posted total of 48.
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Grumpy’s Pick(s) of the Week
On Super Bowl Sunday the Rams will have another chance to win in their hometown of LA, while the Bengals try to complete their 49er-line ascension from worst to first in their first Super Bowl in 33 years.
I think it’s going to happen, so Grumpy is backing the Cincinnati Bengals as +4.5-point underdogs and on the money line at +172.
I’ll also go with the under 48.5.
I hope everyone enjoys Super Bowl Sunday and I hope you are fortunate.