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Super Bowl? Free Agent Bowl?

Mill Woods

Posted on February 8, 2022 13:57

1 user

The Rams have assembled the best team money can buy, but that does not mean Sunday's championship should be called the Free Agent Bowl. The presence of the Bengals is a potent reminder: in 2022, the NFL is wide open. It's the Parity Bowl.

If you have trouble envisioning the NFL as a meritocracy – and the modern Super Bowl as the Parity Bowl - then, just make note of who is not there. I'll help you: the Packers, Bears, Giants, Patriots, Chiefs, Bucs, 49ers, Broncos, Cowboys, Steelers, Eagles . . .

In short, the storied NFL teams will be watching it on TV. The game will be played in a brand new venue, not in a vintage NFL stadium. The team name "Rams" may not be new, but it is newly returned to Los Angeles. And the Bengals may have been around for 55 years, but a bunch of very young faces make up this fresh crew of conquerors.

So, what does it all mean? It's pretty simple: it means great entertainment - that is, assuming you're not just tuning in to watch the commercials and halftime show.

I expect a hard-nosed football game, where the potency of the Ram defense is respected. I also expect more running and less passing than usual. This game will be a lot less like 'Hollywood' and a lot more like 'Cincinnati' - blue collar.

However, I expect both offenses to take their shots. They will plan the timing, but the Bengals will certainly exploit the playmaking skills of the fearless Joe Burrow, and the Rams will certainly exploit the experience of Matt Stafford. Whichever offense reads defenses better will win the game.

And I expect the game to be close. If you like a patient chess match, you will be pleased with this game. If you're looking for fireworks and quick scores, you may be disappointed. I only envision it as a shootout if there are a lot of mistakes early in the game.

The Bengals, behind Joe Mixon, have the better rushing attack. The Rams have more receiving weapons.

The Bengals have put together a scrappy young squad with a lot of swag. The Rams, on the other hand, have finished building their team with big-name free agents. While both approaches are effective, I suspect that the experience of the Rams will triumph over the youth of the Bengals.

This time. 

The winner of this game will tell us nothing at all about next season. The Rams will lose several of their players to free agency, and the Bengals will face fresh competition in both their division and in the conference.

In short, I don't expect either team to be here this time next year. They are both very good teams, but in this age of parity, the odds are just against it. Enjoy the game, and remember that the initials mean: "Not For Long."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mill Woods

Posted on February 8, 2022 13:57

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