Recently on Sunday, February 13th Super Bowl LVI was played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Over 100 million people across the world tuned in to the showdown between the American Football Conference (AFC) Cincinnati Bengals and the National Football Conference (NFC) Los Angeles Rams, making it the most-watched TV event in five years. We compiled a survey asking questions about pre-season predictions and point totals for the Superbowl, but first, the pathway to the big game.
Cincinnati came into the postseason with a record of 10-7 and the 4th seed in the AFC. Facing the Las Vegas Raiders, the Bengals took an early lead of 20-6. After a back and forth second half, the Bengals found themselves up by 7 points and the Raiders with the ball on the Cincinnati 9-yard line. Raiders QB Derrick Carr threw a pass that was intercepted by the Bengals sending them into the second round of the playoffs. Next, the Bengals head south to Nashville to face the one-seeded Tennessee Titans who held a 12-5 regular-season record. To everyone’s surprise, Bengals kicker Evan Mcpherson launched a 52 Yard Field Goal to send the Bengals into the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The Bengals started off slowly falling behind 21-10 to the Kansas City Chiefs by the end of the first half. During the 2nd half, the Bengals defense turned the game around by only allowing 3 points in 2 quarters of play. Cincinnati scored 14 before Kansas City kicked a field goal sending the game, tied at 24, to overtime. QB Patrick Mahomes threw a pass 40 yards down the field which was tipped into the Bengal’s hands. Kicker Evan McPherson came up clutch again and sent the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI, awaiting the winner of the NFC to face in Los Angeles.
The Story for the Rams was quite different. Los Angeles finished the regular season 12-5 holding the fourth seed in the NFC. Entering the postseason the Rams knew it was a make-or-break season, acquiring many star players at the cost of many future draft picks. The first round of the playoffs was a breeze for Los Angeles, beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-11 in blowout fashion. Next lay a familiar face in Tampa Bay, Florida: Tom Brady. The Rams started off reaching a 27-3 lead but the rest of the game was dominated by a Brady-led offense with a bit of help from Rams’ mistakes. Eventually, the Buccaneers tied the game at 27. In the late fourth quarter, the Rams had the ball with under a minute coming off a magnificent Buccaneers comeback. Quarterback Matthew Stafford connected with receiver Cooper Kupp to put the Rams deep in Tampa Bay territory were former Utah kicker Matt Gay kicked a game-winning field goal, sending the Rams to the NFC Championship game, where they would face San Fransisco, who themselves were coming off a shocking upset of the 1 seed Green Bay Packers. The Rams found themselves down by a score of 17-7 in the early 4th quarter. Following a dropped interception, the Rams started to cut the margin. Kicker Matt Gay put the Rams up with 1:46 left in the 4th quarter. In the closing seconds of the game, the Rams defense shut down the 49er’s offense early in the drive sending them to Super Bowl LVI.
Like most games during this year’s playoffs, Super Bowl 56 came to a thrilling finish. The Rams and Bengals battled to decide who will take home the coveted Lombardi trophy. The first half was quiet for the two teams’ offensive standards but an interception from Rams QB Matthew Stafford gave the Bengals momentum heading into the half with a 13-10 deficit. As the second half progressed, the Bengals held a strong lead until late in the fourth quarter when 2 controversial penalties were called by referees before eventual Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp caught a go-ahead touchdown to take the lead with under 2 minutes to go. Cincinnati’s offensive line collapsed on the final drive, allowing defensive great Aaron Donald to seal the game by pressuring Burrow on a last-ditch 4th down attempt.
Los Angeles entered Super Bowl LVI as 4 point favorites. Despite this, a poll of West High students had 56 percent picking the Cincinnati Bengals to win. If this were to happen, it would likely be fueled by a stellar performance from Quarterback Joe Burrow, who was the favorite for Super Bowl MVP by miles among West High students, receiving nearly 70% of votes. Even with a stellar performance by Joe Burrow, the Rams can’t be counted out with their offense led by Triple Crown winner and AP Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp. This was reflected in the responses as the average total score prediction was about 55. Backers of both teams also seem to be quite confident in the team they picked. Both teams were supported in the poll with about a ten-point victory in each of their favors.
The voters of West High were correct on the winning team’s point total as about 40% voted correctly of a score from 21 to 30. However, most of these people were picking the Bengals to be the winning team with that score. Only 44% correctly picked the Rams to win. In spite of his historic season, only two people correctly predicted Cooper Kupp to win Super Bowl MVP. Most of the Super Bowl MVP votes went to Bengals QB Joe Burrow and of students 56% voted for the Bengals to win the game. The Rams did receive more pre-season predictions to win Super Bowl 56 than the Bengals, being the team with more overall fans and a bigger market area proving evident for the results.
Super Bowl MVP:
Joe Burrow – 13
Matt Stafford – 3
Cooper Kupp – 2
Tyler Boyd – 1
Start of the season Super Bowl winner:
Chiefs – 4
Buccaneers – 5
Rams – 4
Dolphins – 1
Bengals – 2
49ers – 1
Seahawks – 1
Bills – 1
Average score total for Super Bowl LVI: