Super Bowl LVI has its heart in its mouth after a scary moment where a superstar was helped from the field to receive treatment.
The biggest day on America’s sporting calendar has arrived.
As usual, the weird, wonderful and wacky stories away from the game itself have dominated the build-up to the Super Bowl LVI showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams at the Rams’ home ground of SoFi Stadium.
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However, the world’s focus has now shifted to the action on the field with the Rams scoring the first points of the game.
You can read everything you need to know about the game here.
The Rams lead 13-10 at half time.
Scary moment superstar collapses, helped off the field
Rams receiver Odell Beckham needed to be taken from the field after he struggled to get back to his feet following a play in the second quarter.
Beckham suddenly collapsed and immediately clutched his left knee.
Replays showed his lightning feet were attempting to change direction when he suddenly fell to the ground.
He was seen grimacing on the ground and took his helmet off as medical staff rushed onto the field.
He was taken to the locker room to receive medical treatment.
The Rams told reporters Beckham was “questionable” to return.
‘Insult’ in national anthem bungle
There has been an unfortunate start to Super Bowl LVI with a TV error causing some outrage.
There was a moment that angered fans during the pre-match national anthem when country singer Mickey Guyton was broadcast on the screen when artist Jhene Aiko was beginning her performance of America The Beautiful.
The camera instead showed Guyton who was scheduled to perform the national anthem immediately after Aiko’s performance.
The broadcast also titled the mistaken vision of Guyton by putting ‘Jhene Aiko’ at the bottom of the screen.
Both artists smashed their songs — but the focus for many turned to the TV mistake.
VICE News reporter Alexis Johnson posted on Twitter the moment was “weird” and “all bad” with a face palm emoji.
Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Wilhalme said it was “embarrassing”.
Fox News TV anchor Kristi Coleman wrote on Twitter: “Jhene Aiko is not Mickey Guyton. What an insult”.
Wild gamble gives Bengals their first touchdown
Cincinnati scored off an incredible play where running back Joe Mixon attempted his first ever throw in the NFL.
It was a big moment for him to come up with a perfect pass — after going five seasons in the NFL without a single throw.
The Bengals caught Los Angeles off guard with the play and Mixon found Tee Higgins in the endzone.
It got the Bengals back to within three points with the score at 13-10.
Rams take early lead
Los Angeles has completed a 75-year drive to score a second touchdown off the back of another easy pass from Matthew Stafford.
Stafford found Cooper Kupp wide open in the endzone after the Rams brilliantly sold a fake hand-off.
It put the Rams ahead 13-3 in the second quarter.
It came after he Rams took a 7-0 lead mid-way through the first quarter when Odell Beckham popped up to catch a nice pass from Stafford in the endzone.
Beckham’s catch completed a clinical drive from the Rams, which included a 20-yard gain during a play where Stafford found Cooper Kupp on third down.
Tom Brady has jokes
Retired NFL legend Tom Brady has dropped a hilarious gag with a Twitter post that is going viral.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion was eliminated from the Playoffs last month, but — such is the casual way he has routinely booked his team a spot in the Super Bowl — he appears to have failed to update his calendar notifications.
He posted a screenshot of his phone, showing a reminder the Super Bowl was happening today — just not involving him.
Fans lose it as over superstar’s bold arrival
Joe Burrow has arrived at the Super Bowl with an outfit that sends a statement.
The star quarterback showed up to the stadium casually striding inside with an eye-catching silver and black suit with a black top hat completing his ensemble.
Dripping with swagger, Burrow’s outfit was soon the talk of social media.
Teammate Joe Mixon did his best to upstage Burrow.
NFL superstar’s baby could cost Drake $3.2m
Drake is perhaps the only person more nervous about the birth of Odell Beckham Jr.’s child than the man himself.
The Los Angeles Rams wide receiver is “on standby’’ as he looks ahead to his first Super Bowl, and also the birth of his first child.
Beckham and his girlfriend, Lauren Wood, are expecting any day now.
The former Giants first-round pick did not want to dwell on what decisions he would have to make if the baby’s birth and the blockbuster game coincide.
“I don’t need you to put that energy in the air about the Saturday night or the Sunday thing,’’ Beckham said.
“I think God has a different plan. I don’t need it during the Super Bowl. I want to see my child being born, so I’m on watch.
“You have two of the biggest blessings, two once-in-a-lifetime moments and opportunities all happening at the same time.”
Drake will be praying Wood doesn’t go into labour this week – the Canadian rapper has placed nearly AU$1.7 million worth of bets in Bitcoin on the Los Angeles Rams and their star receiver in Sunday‘s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Man, I’ve got to come through for him,” Beckham laughed when asked about the wagers.
“I‘ve got to come through for him, but ultimately, bro, I just want to be able to hold that trophy up, look your brothers in the eyes like, ‘Man, we did it.’ And just feel that joy. … Honestly, I feel like if I play my game, I catch everything that comes my way, I make the plays, I stay locked in, one play at a time, all of those things are very possible.”
As revealed on his Instagram, Drake placed six-figure bets on the Rams to win outright, and for Beckham to top 62.5 receiving yards and score at least one touchdown.
“All bets are in on the family,” he captioned the post.
If the rapper wins all three bets, he would receive a total payout of just under $3.2 million.
Super Bowl LVI preview
A star-studded Los Angeles Rams team will seek to deny the giant-killing Cincinnati Bengals a Hollywood ending in the Super Bowl on Monday AEDT as an NFL season full of plot twists reaches its climax.
The first NFL championship game of the post-Tom Brady era sees the Rams play host at their gleaming AU$7.7 billion SoFi Stadium against a Bengals side chasing a first Super Bowl crown.
Around 100 million Americans are expected to tune in for the biggest annual event on the US sporting calendar, which kicks off at 10.30am AEDT
“It’s game day!” the National Football League proclaimed on Twitter. “It all comes down to this moment.”
The perfectly-scripted season finale will see a duel between two talented quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl for the first time, with Rams veteran Matthew Stafford pitted against the rising Bengals star Joe Burrow.
A Bengals victory would complete one of the most striking turnarounds in NFL history.
Last season, the team finished with four wins and 11 defeats, only slightly better than their 2019 campaign, which ended in a dismal 2-14 record.
But under head coach Zac Taylor, and buoyed by the arrival of No. 1 draft pick Burrow in 2020, the Bengals are a team transformed.
A dogged, never-say-die approach characterised their post-season campaign, which saw them shock AFC top seeds Tennessee before another upset on the road over mighty Kansas City sealed their Super Bowl berth.
Whether Burrow is afforded the time and space to craft one more Bengals upset is another question altogether, however.
A porous offensive line allowed him to be sacked a whopping nine times during the playoff win over Tennessee.
That is a stat that the formidable Rams defence, led by the human wrecking ball Aaron Donald, the best defensive player in the NFL, and veteran pass rusher Von Miller, will have taken note of.
On the offensive side, meanwhile, the Rams have more than enough weapons to puncture the Bengals defence.
The 34-year-old Stafford, playing in his first Super Bowl, has an array of targets to aim for, including Cooper Kupp, the best wide receiver in the NFL this season, and Odell Beckham Jr., the charismatic former New York Giants and Cleveland Browns receiver who has flourished since joining the Rams in mid-season.
As well as enjoying home advantage, the Rams also have the benefit of having recent Super Bowl experience.
Many members of Sunday’s line-up were on the losing side when the Rams were beaten 13-3 by the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2019.
Rams head coach Sean McVay – who at 36 years and 20 days old would become the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl with victory on Sunday — was upbeat after overseeing a final team walkthrough Saturday.
“We’re very confident,” McVay said. “We’re ready to go. There’s a good look in their eyes.
“I think there’s a good urgency, but also I just have a good feel about this team. I feel excited to watch them go and do their thing.”
The Rams will be playing in front of a packed crowd of 70,000, while the traditional halftime music concert will feature the likes of Eminem, Mary J.Blige and hip-hop icons Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar.
The capacity crowd also contrasts with last season’s Super Bowl in Tampa, where attendance was limited to around 25,000 fans due to Covid-19.
While the Omicron variant surge is in retreat in Los Angeles, authorities require all attendees Sunday to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test, with masking mandatory.
– with AFP and New York Post