IT’S FINALLY HERE! HAPPY SUPER BOWL SUNDAY EVERYONE!
Since you’re probably going to have several hours to burn between now and game time, I thought it made sense to shoot out a newsletter today that will give you enough reading material to last until kickoff, and if it doesn’t last you until kickoff, then I suggest just reading it again multiple times until it’s actually time for kickoff.
We’ve got the Rams. We’ve got the Bengals. And it’s all going down in L.A.
If this newsletter is slightly incoherent today, it’s because I only got roughly eight minutes of sleep last night. This Super Bowl hits close to home for me for multiple reasons with the top one being that my dad (Jim Breech) used to play for the Bengals. He actually MISSED MY BIRTH to play in Super Bowl XVI, so I’ve more or less been connected to both the Super Bowl and the Bengals since the day I was born.
Most of my family flew in from Cincinnati to attend the game and they don’t believe in sleep.
Anyway, that’s enough about me, there’s a Super Bowl to talk about so let’s get to the Super Bowl LVI rundown. I know I’ve already mentioned this 19 times this week, but I’ll mention it once more: I’ll be at the game today and if you want to see what kind of Super Bowl shenanigans I’ll be getting into, be sure to follow along on Twitter or Instagram, I promise to keep sharing photos until my phone dies or until it gets confiscated.
Remember, this is a Super Bowl newsletter, so there will only be Super Bowl news coming at you today. Finally, if you’re hanging out with family and/or friends today, please tell them all to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.
1. How to watch the Super Bowl
There’s going to be an interesting twist to the Super Bowl this year and that twist is that both announcers have pretty strong ties to one of the teams playing in the game and that team is the Bengals.
The game will be airing on NBC and the two announcers — Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth — both have ties to the city of Cincinnati. The biggest tie belongs to Collinsworth, who actually PLAYED for the Bengals. Not only did he spend his entire eight-year career in Cincinnati, but he also is one of just SEVEN players in franchise history to play in both of the team’s prior Super Bowls (Trivia: Can you name all 7?).
Collinsworth has been pretty honest all week that this isn’t going to be a normal game for him.
“I’m obviously excited. I’m human,” Collinsworth told the AP. “It’s going to be fun. I would have bought a ticket regardless to go watch this game. I just happen to get the best seat in the house.”
As for Michaels, one of his first major announcing jobs came with the Cincinnati Reds back in the early 1970s. In another note, this is likely going to be Michaels’ final game with NBC as his contract expires after Sunday’s game. The Bengals’ first Super Bowl appearance featured John Madden’s Super Bowl announcing debut and this Super Bowl appearance will likely feature Michaels’ final Super Bowl call.
Here’s how you can watch Michaels and Collinsworth call Super Bowl LVI:
Date: Sunday, Feb. 13
Kickoff time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
TV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Although the game won’t be airing on CBS, we will have plenty of coverage for you, especially leading up to kickoff. If you love to spend Super Bowl Sunday watching as much pregame coverage as possible, we’ll have you covered.
Here’s the schedule for our streaming coverage on CBS Sports HQ, which will be running nearly all day (You can click here to watch):
- Live pre-game coverage begins: 12 p.m. ET
- Pre-game host: Chris Hassel
- Pre-game analysts: Jonathan Jones, Bryant McFadden, Pete Prisco, Josina Anderson
- Live postgame coverage begins: Immediately after the game
I’ll also be sitting in the stands with my family to let everyone know how crazy things get during the game with pictures and commentary on social media.
Trivia answer (Bengals players to play in both of Cincy’s prior Super Bowls): Cris Collinsworth, Jim Breech, Eddie Edwards, Anthony Munoz, Max Montoya, Turk Schonert, and Reggie Williams. Since my dad is on that list, knowing the answer to that trivia question basically got me a bonus in my allowance each week when I was a kid.
2. Everything you need to know about the Bengals
For the first time in 33 years, the Bengals are back in the Super Bowl and in a twist, they’ll actually be the home team for today’s game even though it’s being played in the Rams stadium. It also might feel like a home game and that’s because it won’t be completely surprising if Bengals fans outnumber Rams fans at the game. Over the past 48 hours, I’ve been seeing Bengals fans EVERYWHERE in L.A. As a matter of fact, I’ve been seeing so many of them that I was starting to think I was in Cincinnati.
Anyway, here’s everything else you need to know about the Bengals heading into today’s game.
- Bengals injury report: The only player who looked like he might miss this game was tight end C.J. Uzomah (sprained MCL), but he’s definitely going to be on the field today, which means the Bengals are going to be at full force for Super Bowl LVI.
- X-factors that could help the Bengals win: If the Bengals are going to pull off the upset today, they’re going to need a Hall of Fame performance from their interior offensive line. That’s one of multiple X-factors that Jared Dubin has pinpointed for today’s game and to check out the rest of them, be sure to click here.
- How the Bengals can contain Cooper Kupp: If Kupp goes off today, that means the Bengals will likely be on the losing end of the game, which is why it will be important for Cincinnati’s defense to shut down the Rams receiver. So how do you slow down the NFL’s leading receiver? We attempted to answer that question here.
- Under-the-radar moves for the Bengals: Two years ago, the Bengals finished with the worst record in the NFL. With their Super Bowl trip, they are now just the third team in NFL history to go from the worst record to the NFL’s biggest game in a span of just two seasons. We documented the under-the-radar moves that helped them pull off the shocking turn around and you can check that out by clicking here.
- Five reasons to root for the Bengals: As the resident Bengals homer here at CBSSports.com, I was asked to come up with five reasons why the casual NFL fan should be rooting for the Bengals today. I have two words for you: George Clooney (He’s a Bengals fan). Plus, everyone loves cheering for an underdog. To check out all five reasons, be sure to click here.
- Bengals Super Bowl history: This is Cincinnati’s third trip to the big game and if today goes like the prior two trips, then we should be in for a crazy game. The Bengals first two Super Bowls were decided by an average of 4.5 points. To read about their first two Super Bowl trips, be sure to click here.
- Bengals trying to knock themselves off sad list: There are only 12 teams in the NFL that have yet to win a Super Bowl and the Bengals are one of them. If Cincinnati wins today, the Bengals will join the winners club and if you want to see a hilarious video about how badly the 12 non-Super Bowl teams want to be in the winners club, be sure to click here. Also, if you want to see the full list of teams that haven’t won a Super Bowl, be sure to click here.
For more Bengals news, you can check out our team hub by clicking here.
3. Everything you need to know about the Rams
For just the second time in NFL history, a team gets to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Two years, ago, this had never happened before, but then the Buccaneers got to play at home last year. The Rams will be hoping this year’s game goes the exact same way and that’s because Tampa Bay dominated in a 31-9 win over the Chiefs.
Anyway, here’s everything else you need to know about the Rams heading into today’s game.
- Rams injury report: The Rams got some good news and some bad news heading into today’s game. The bad news is that tight end Tyler Higbee won’t be playing. Higbee sprained his MCL in the NFC title game and was hoping to play, but that won’t be happening. The good news for the Rams is that Darrell Henderson has been activated, which means he could see some action today. The Rams running back hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury against the Vikings in Week 16.
- X-factors that could help the Rams win: With the Bengals likely going all-in to stop Cooper Kupp, that could open the door for Odell Beckham to have a huge game. OBJ is one of multiple X-factors that Jared Dubin has pinpointed for the Rams today and to check out the rest of them, be sure to click here
- Under-the-Radar moves for Rams: When it comes to building their roster, the Rams aren’t a team that makes a lot of under-the-radar moves. Instead, they’re the team that makes big splashy moves like trading for players like Matthew Stafford or Jalen Ramsey. However, the Rams did make a few under-the-radar moves to build this year’s team and you can check those out by clicking here.
- One surprise player who could be a key to a Rams win: Seven months ago, the thought of Cam Akers playing at all during the 2021 season seemed laughable and that’s because he had just torn his Achilles. However, the Rams running back has since made a miraculous comeback and he could be a key player in Super Bowl LVI. To find out why, be sure to click here.
- Five reasons to root for the Rams: If you have no rooting interest in today’s game, but you kind of want a team to cheer for, you’re in luck, because we’ve put together five reasons why you should root for the Rams in Super Bowl LV. Spoiler alert: I will not be cheering for the Rams. Sorry, Rams.
- Rams Super Bowl history: This is the Rams’ fifth trip to the Super Bowl and in their previous four trips, they’ve gone 1-3. The most notable part of that record is that the Rams have never won a Super Bowl during their time in Los Angeles. The team is 0-2 in games played while they were based in L.A. and 1-1 in Super Bowls played while they were based in St. Louis. Rams owner Stan Kroenke would probably love nothing more than to win the Rams’ first Super Bowl in L.A. in his $5 billion L.A. stadium. If you want to take a longer look at the Rams’ Super Bowl history, be sure to click here.
For more Rams news, you can check out our team hub by clicking here.
4. Super Bowl LVI picks
I’ve been sharing Super Bowl picks with you from every CBS Sports writer over the past two weeks, but since there’s a 100% chance that you don’t actually remember any of those specific picks, I’m going to rehash everyone’s pick here and since I write this newsletter, it only makes sense that I would give my pick top billing.
I am taking the BENGALS to win 27-24, but if you read this newsletter regularly, then you already knew that because there’s no way the biggest Bengals homer at CBSSports.com was going to pick against the Bengals. However, many people DID pick against the Bengals, even though I begged them not to.
Although the point spread has fluctuated between Rams -3.5 and Rams -4.5 for the past two weeks, it seems to have settled in at Rams -4 as we head into kickoff.
Here are the picks from our nine writers who are taking the Rams:
Jonathan Jones: Rams 28-24 over Bengals
Will Brinson: Rams 27-9 over Bengals (Full pick)
Tyler Sullivan: Rams 28-23 over Bengals (Full pick)
Dave Richard: Rams 24-20 over Bengals
Jamey Eisenberg: Rams 27-24 over Bengals
Jared Dubin: Rams 26-23 over Bengals (Full pick)
Jordan Dajani: Rams 27-24 over Bengals (Full pick)
Cody Benjamin: Rams 29-26 over Bengals (Full pick)
Jeff Kerr: Rams 30-23 over Bengals (Full pick)
And just in case you’re wondering, we do have five souls — besides me — who were brave enough to take the underdog Bengals:
John Breech: Bengals 27-24 over Rams (Full pick)
Pete Prisco: Bengals 31-30 over Rams (Full pick)
Jason La Canfora: Bengals 31-30 over Rams (Full pick)
Ryan Wilson: Bengals 21-10 over Rams
Patrik Walker: Bengals 30-27 over Rams
Bryan DeArdo: Bengals 20-16 over Rams
You can check out our full picks hub for the Super Bowl by clicking here.
If you plan on gambling on the game, here are my six favorite props, and in news that probably won’t surprise you, three of them are kicker props (all odds via Caesars Sportsbook):
1. Game to be tied after 0-0 (-130): This prop has hit in five of the past seven Super Bowls and I’m thinking it’s going to hit again tonight.
2. Total players with a pass attempt: OVER 2.5 (+160): This one is pretty simple, if you think a player besides the two quarterbacks will throw a pass, then you bet this prop. The pass doesn’t even have to be complete, it just has to be thrown. I think we’ll see at least one trick play and this prop will hit (This prop could also hit if one of the quarterbacks takes a big hit and has to leave the game for a play or two, leaving the backup QB to throw a pass).
3. Joe Mixon OVER 25.5 receiving yards (-110): Mixon has gone over this number in five straight games and I think we’ll see it again on Super Bowl Sunday. If Burrow is being pressured, Mixon is his check down guy and as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, he has no problem hitting the check down guy.
4. Both teams hit a FG of 35 or longer (+110): Both these coaches love kicking field goals and I think we’ll see both guys get at least one attempt from 35 yards or more.
5. Longest field goal of the game: Bengals (-115): As you may have noticed in the playoffs, the Bengals trust Evan McPherson from almost any distance, so I won’t be surprised if he hits a long field goal today. However, Rams kicker Matt Gay has been struggling over the past few weeks. Not only did he fall SHORT on a 47-yard field goal in the divisional round, but he also missed a 54-yarder badly in the NFC title game. It won’t be surprising if Sean McVay is conservative when it comes to attempting long kicks today.
6. First scoring play of the game: Bengals field goal (+400). The Bengals have been able to move the ball up and down the field this postseason, but they’ve struggled in the red zone, which is why I think they’ll end up kicking a field goal for their first points. You could also bet that the first scoring play is a Rams field goal (+400) and then if the first points of the game come on a field goal, you’ll win money no matter what.
For more props, be sure to click here so you can check out our monstrous prop guide, which might be the most comprehensive thing that I’ve ever read. If you click over, you’ll have to enter your email address, but then the prop guide will be sent to your inbox directly, which is like getting a Christmas present in February.
5. 12 wild facts to know about Super Bowl LVI
I was going to do 56 facts to know about Super Bowl LVI here, but that probably would have taken me three days to write and since the Super Bowl kicks off in just a few hours, that math didn’t add up, so I did what any resourceful person would do: I trimmed it down to 13 facts.
- This is the first Super Bowl in NFL history that doesn’t involve a top-three seed from either conference. With the Rams and Bengals both entering the game as a four-seed, they will also be tying the Packers (2) and Steelers (6) for highest combined seeding since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975.
- The Rams are the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in five different decades (1970s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s). Not even the Patriots, who have been to the Super Bowl 11 times, can match that.
- The Bengals and Rams have a combined record of 22-12 (.647 winning percentage), which is the worst combined winning percentage in a Super Bowl in NFL history. The previous record belonged to the Cardinals and Steelers, who had a combined record of 21-11 (.656) heading into Super Bowl XLIII. The Steelers and Rams also had the same combined record heading into Super Bowl XIV.
- This is the first Super Bowl since 1999 (Titans vs. Rams) where both quarterbacks entered the postseason with zero career playoff wins and then made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
- This will be just the second Super Bowl in NFL history where two former top picks will be facing each other as starting quarterback. Joe Burrow (No. 1 overall in 2020) and Matthew Stafford (No. 1 overall in 2009) will be joining Peyton Manning (1998) and Cam Newton (2011), who met in Super Bowl 50.
- Sean McVay (36) and Zac Taylor (38) will combine to give us the youngest head coaching matchup in Super Bowl history. If the Rams win, McVay will become the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl (Taylor would be the second-youngest to win a Super Bowl, behind only Mike Tomlin).
- Joe Burrow got sacked more than any other QB in the NFL this season (51 times), which is notable, because this year marks the first time in NFL history that the most-sacked QB led his team to the Super Bowl.
- On the Rams’ end, Matthew Stafford led the NFL in interceptions, marking just the third time in NFL history that a QB led his team to a Super Bowl in a year where he led or tied for the league-lead in picks. The only other quarterbacks to pull that off are Jim Kelly (1992) and Eli Manning (2007).
- Winning the coin toss might not be such a good thing today and that’s because the coin toss winner has LOST seven STRAIGHT SUPER BOWLS. The Rams will get the call today, which means there is going to be a lot of pressure on the player who has to decide whether to call heads or tails.
- Joe Burrow will be the 10th QB named Joe to start a Super Bowl, which will tie Tom as the most common game for a Super Bowl starting QB.
- The Super Bowl will be the Bengals’ first Sunday game of the year that kicks off past 4:30 p.m. ET. They’re the first team in 33 years to get to the Super Bowl without playing a single Sunday or Monday primetime game at any point during the season. The last team to do that: The 1988 Bengals.
- The Rams are just the second team to play the Super Bowl at their home stadium, but plenty of other teams have played the game in their home state. Prior to this year, that had been done five times with the Raiders (Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XXXVII), Rams (Super Bowl XIV), 49ers (Super Bowl XIX) and Buccaneers (Super Bowl LV) all playing in their home state (The Bucs were the other team to play in their home stadium).
- As the home team, the Bengals have chosen to wear black, which means they’re going to have a buck a big uniform trend if they want to win: The team wearing white has won 14 of the past 17 Super Bowls. For more details on the uniform situation heading into the game, be sure to click here.
Please feel free to use any or all of these Super Bowl fun facts to impress people today.
6. Super Bowl LVI could be hottest Super Bowl ever
I am not a meteorologist, but I can tell you that it’s been hot in Los Angeles this week. At first, I just thought L.A. was always this hot in February, but as it turns out, that’s actually not the case. It’s so hot here that the national weather service has issued multiple heat advisories this week, marking the first time since 2006 that the city has been hit with a heat advisory in the month of February.
So what does that mean for the game? Glad you asked.
- Super Bowl LVI could be the hottest Super Bowl ever. The high temperature for Sunday is projected to be 84 degrees and if that’s the temperature at kickoff, it would tie Super Bowl VII as the hottest ever (that game was also played in Los Angeles). If the temperature even hits 80, it would be just the third Super Bowl to cross that mark.
- Why the weather matters. Although this game is being played “indoors,” it’s not technically indoors. Yes, SoFi Stadium has a roof, but the roof is actually more of a canopy or an awning that makes it an open-air venue. Basically, wind (and even rain) can get into the stadium depending on the weather. The roof includes hundreds of panels that are supposed to help regulate the temperature inside the stadium and the open awning is supposed to allow the breeze to get through so that things will cool down. Let’s hope that works. For more on the stadium’s unique design, be sure to click here.
Here’s a look at the final weather report:
Rams vs. Bengals in Inglewood, Calif.
Projected weather: Clear skies
Projected temperature: 80 degrees at kickoff down to 67 by the end of the game
Chance of rain: 0%
Winds: NSW 2-3 mph
Alright everyone, have a great time watching the Super Bowl and just as a friendly reminder, I’ll be tweeting up a storm today from SoFi, so if you want to follow along, be sure to click here.