It was the fourth Super Bowl between SEC starting quarterbacks as Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams via Georgia outdueled Joe Burrow of Cincinnati via LSU on Sunday night for a 23-20 win in Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, California.
The SEC East won its third straight Super Bowl after Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler of SEC West Alabama won the first one in Super Bowl XI in the 1976 season with a victory over Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton of SEC East Georgia.
Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning of Tennessee won an All-SEC East Super Bowl XLI in the 2006 season over Chicago’s Rex Grossman of Florida. Manning won again for Denver over Carolina’s Cam Newton of Auburn in Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season.
Stafford completed 26 of 40 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns around two interceptions and two sacks. Burrow hit 22 of 33 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown while being sacked seven times.
SEC players for the Rams counted for five of those seven sacks as linebacker Von Miller of Texas A&M led the way with two along with three quarterback hits. Three other SEC players had one sack for Los Angeles – linebacker Ernest Jones of South Carolina along with six solo tackles and three quarterback hits, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson of Alabama with five solo stops and a quarterback hit and cornerback Leonard Floyd of Georgia with four solo tackles and a quarterback hit,
Cincinnati cornerback Mike Hilton of Ole Miss registered three solo tackles.
Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase of LSU led all SEC receivers with five catches for 89 yards with a long of 46. Los Angeles wide receiver Van Jefferson, formerly of Ole Miss and Florida, caught four passes for 23 yards, but then recorded the catch of the game, so to speak. He rushed to a hospital as his wife gave birth to a son.
Rams’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., formerly of LSU, caught two passes for 52 yards with a 17-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead with 6:22 to go in the first quarter. He injured his left knee late in the second quarter, however, when his cleats got stuck in the artificial turf and he left the game without returning. It is the same knee that suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the 2020 season, and the fear is he has torn the same ligament again.
Cincinnati tight end C.J. Uzomuh of Auburn caught two passes for 11 yards. Los Angeles wide receiver Brandon Powell of Florida returned four punts for 25 yards and a kickoff for 17. Rams’ running back Sony Michel of Georgia rushed twice for two yards.
Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson of Florida kicked a 29-yard field goal in the first quarter to cut the Rams’ lead to 7-3. He scored the Bengals’ final points on a 38-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead with 10:15 to go in the third quarter.
Other SEC alumni who played or were on the roster for the Rams were starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth of LSU, starting tight end Kendall Blanton of Missouri, starting defensive tackle Bobby Brown III of Texas A&M, cornerback Blake Countess of Auburn and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis of Alabama.
Other Cincinnati players from the SEC who played or were on the roster were starting left tackle Jonah Williams of Alabama, quarterback Brandon Allen of Arkansas, center Trey Hill of Georgia, offensive tackle Fred Johnson of Florida, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III of Florida, defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin of LSU, defensive end Damion Square of Alabama and tight end Trayveon Williams of Texas A&M.