The NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl Were Everything a Fan Could Ask For


courtesy of CBS Sports

Pictured is Super Bowl LVI MVP Cooper Kupp (left) about to catch the game clinching touchdown over Eli Apple (Right)

Jack Houston, Sports Editor

Unhealthy food, funny commercials, and a divisively entertaining halftime show: everything an average Super Bowl enjoyer could ever want happened that coveted Sunday night. Super Bowl LVI and its preliminary playoff series, however, gave football super fans not only just fun times, but also numerous historic moments. 

With several long-standing records broken and more than a few games coming down to the very wire, the NFL might have not only had an extremely entertaining playoff schedule, but quite possibly the best divisional round in the league’s history. This is, almost, objectively true when looking at statistics. Not only were all four divisional games ended with no time left on the clock, but they were all won by a combined 15 points and an average margin of victory of 3.8 points, the highest in NFL playoff history with at least four played games (ESPN). Not only this, but the actual matchups were extremely unexpected with the combined seed total being 16, the highest since the 2010-2011 season (Fox Sports). However, it would not do each divisional game justice if I discuss them so broadly.

First in the sequence of exceptional events came the Tennessee Titans v. Cincinnati Bengals matchup. Quarterback Joe Burrow had a stellar Superman impression, taking hit after hit and ending the game with 9 sacks towards him due to a lackluster offensive line (Fox Sports). Kicker Evan McPherson also showed to skeptical NFL fans that he was not in fact drafted too high, nailing a 52-yard field goal for the win, one of his many kicks that will eventually lead to his breaking of the most amount of field goals in a postseason record at 14 made kicks (

The next game featured the San Francisco 49ers v. the Green Bay Packers in which a blocked punt, a Robbie Gould 45-yard game winning field goal, and a massive upset sent home NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, thus saving the Green Bay QB from having to lose again in the NFC Championship (ESPN).

In the next matchup, the Los Angeles Rams tried putting on their best 2017 impression by almost choking a 27-3 lead to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, even after the Buc tied the game with 42 seconds left in the game, the Rams ended up pulling through with the win after a clutch field goal from Matt Gay with no time left on the clock (ESPN).

It is difficult to think that the previous Rams v. Buccaneers matchup, a game considered to be one of the most entertaining in years, was immediately followed up by arguably the best offensive showcase in NFL history. The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs matched up the same day as the aforementioned game and both Bills QB Josh Allen and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes proved once again why they’re some of the best the league has to offer. Even after Josh Allen scored his 4th TD late in the game, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs only needed 13 seconds to force an overtime, thus leading to their toppling of the Bills and the reawakening of the debate on the flaws of overtime rules (ESPN).

The AFC and NFC Championship games continued the historic run of close games, beginning with a 27-24 Bengals victory over the Chiefs. Going into halftime, it looked like the Chiefs were clearly running away with another easy game to the Super Bowl. However, thanks to a major step-up from the Cincinnati defense and clutch performances from Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon the Bengals launched a 17-3 run that forced an overtime. The Bengals then continued to surprise after picking off Patrick Mahomes not too far into overtime which led to an offensive drive that set up McPherson for another game winning field goal (CBS). The NFC Championship was no disappointment either. After coming back 10 points from the 49ers, the Rams ended up winning the tight game 20-17 thanks to a multitude of reasons including a lucky dropped interception from Jaquiski Tartt, clutch performances by Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Matt Gay, along with a game winning forced turnover by Aaron Donald and JaMycal Hasty (CBC).

With heavy expectations placed by its preceding games, the Super Bowl most certainly lived up to the hype. Looking past the halftime show and the commercials, the game itself was heavily entertaining. The QB matchup of Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow in itself was exciting enough. There was really no point in the game where it was not anyone’s game. However, a clutch pull through by the Rams defense (especially Aaron Donald in the final minutes), along with a masterful performance by Cooper Kupp led to the Rams to an exciting 23-20 win for the Rams. Because of his extraordinary play throughout the game, Kupp became the Super Bowl MVP. This in itself was not a big surprise, however, given that Kupp has had arguably the most dominant season ever from a WR, winning the Offensive Player of the Year Award, the fourth “Triple Crown” in the Super Bowl Era, Super Bowl MVP, and the most receptions and receiving yards in NFL history (including the playoffs) (CBS).

When asking fellow Ramapo students, I have come across numerous individuals with extremely strong feelings about the conclusion of the Super Bowl.

“As a lifelong Detroit Lions fan, I’ve always known Matthew Stafford was capable of leading a team to a Super Bowl Victory,” says senior Chris Cording. “Glad to see he’s getting the recognition he deserves. Great win, great game, and congratulations to the 2021-22 LA Rams.”

Even though football play may be halted for the next few months, NFL fans have much to look forward to. The upcoming draft, potential Aaron Donald retirement, and further speculations regarding Brady’s return are sure to keep even the most needy fans quenched.