Super Bowl 2022: Meet the star-studded Rams roster set to face the Bengals

By Ben CollinsBBC Sport
Super Bowl 56: Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
Venue: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood Date: Sunday, 13 February Kick-off: 23:30 GMT
Preview: Watch The NFL Show on Saturday night on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online.
Live coverage: Watch on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live; Follow live text and in-play clips on the BBC Sport website and app.

After 29 years away, the NFL's championship game is returning to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles.

And with Super Bowl 56 taking place in their very own SoFi Stadium, the Rams went all in to make sure they were part of the big show.

In the six years since the franchise returned to LA from St Louis, they've built a star-studded roster which befits Tinseltown and their shiny new stadium.

And the gamble has paid off. They face the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday's title decider and British defensive end Jack Crawford will be part of BBC Radio 5 Live's commentary team in LA.

"Part of me wants the Bengals to pull it off, it'd be huge for the team, the city and the fans," he said. "But I can't bet against Aaron Donald.

"Now that Tom Brady's retired, I think he's the best player in the NFL, across all positions. In a game like this, where there's so much tension, I've got a feeling he'll take the game over."

Here Crawford, who was unable to play for the Arizona Cardinals last season because of injury, introduces the big names looking to secure the Rams' second Super Bowl win.

Aaron Donald (defensive tackle, 30)

Drafted by the Rams in 2014, Donald's a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and helped LA reach Super Bowl 53, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

Donald is on the small side for a defensive tackle but uses his physical ability to get past opponents and get after the quarterback. He now has 102 career sacks, with 14 overall this season.

"A lot of people have speed, strength, explosiveness or flexibility, but he has it all," said Crawford.

"He's as strong as anybody in the NFL, his hands are very accurate and he plays with leverage - to get under offensive lineman's pads [and get past them].

"Being a defensive lineman, I understand how hard it is to do what he does consistently, when teams are trying to take him out of the game - yet he's still the league's most disruptive defensive lineman.

"In the defensive-line room, when the coach put on Aaron Donald's tape, we used to say 'what's the point of watching this? He's just a different type of human.'"

Von Miller (outside linebacker, 32)

In November the Rams traded two picks in this year's draft to sign Miller from the Denver Broncos.

The second draft pick in 2011, he was named the game's Most Valuable Player as he helped Denver win Super Bowl 50. He already has five sacks from eight games with LA.

"He's similar to Aaron Donald in that he's the complete package," said Crawford.

"In the defensive-line room we talk about 'bending the corner' - when a defensive end is rushing the quarterback and forcing the offensive tackle back, how low can the linebacker stay while running at an angle towards the quarterback?

"That makes it harder for the offensive lineman to get his hands on you, and that's something Von Miller does better than anybody. He has the balance to stay low to the ground, bending his body while running full speed."

Jalen Ramsey (cornerback, 27)

The Rams gave up two first-round picks to sign Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars early in the 2019 season.

He's remained a Pro Bowler each year and in the regular season he tied his career-high for tackles and interceptions.

"Some defensive backs you'll never see in the weights room, some aren't even among the fastest players on the team," said Crawford.

"But their instincts are on another level, and Jalen Ramsey's ability to cover receivers is natural.

"The best DBs secure tackles and make sure they bring the receiver down, and he's a good tackler. He's physical but has finesse at the same time."

Matt Stafford (quarterback, 34)

In March 2021, the Rams decided to move on from Jared Goff and traded him and three early draft picks to the Detroit Lions for Stafford.

After being 2009's first draft pick, Stafford had used his big arm to quietly rack up 45,000 passing yards while seldom threatening the play-offs.

Now surrounded by elite talent, he tied for a career-high 41 touchdown passes before claiming his first play-off win - after 186 NFL games - and leading a game-winning drive at Tampa Bay.

"He's a pocket passer and a momentum quarterback," said Crawford. "Once he gets into a rhythm he can gas the defence, and he has a lot of weapons in this offence.

"He's proven he can take control of a game and get wins. I can't overstate how hard it is to get a quarterback who's consistent, knowledgeable, and can relate to every player on the offence."

Cooper Kupp (wide receiver, 28)

Kupp was unheralded when selected with 2017's 69th draft pick but Stafford's arrival has resulted in a breakout season.

Kupp was named the Offensive Player of the Year after earning the triple crown of most receptions (145), most receiving yards (1,947) and most receiving touchdowns (16).

"Sometimes you get an unassuming receiver who isn't in the spotlight at the beginning but over time their stats speak for themselves," said Crawford.

"He reminds me of Cole Beasley or Julian Edelman, a consistent receiver with sure hands, and they bring another level of confidence to the quarterback.

"You get these dynamic duos and once they warm up, it opens up opportunities for everybody else on the offence, including the running game."

Odell Beckham Jr (wide receiver, 29)

NFL: New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr's stunning catch

Unlike Kupp, 'OBJ' has been a star since the New York Giants drafted him in 2014, with a one-handed touchdown catch in his rookie season going viral.

Since then, his career has been disrupted by injury, with a move to the Cleveland Browns not working out before the Rams signed him as a free agent in November.

He now has six touchdowns from 11 games for LA, including his first in the play-offs, and had his most receiving yards for more than two years in their NFC Championship win.

"I was in for that play [the one-handed catch], for Dallas at the Giants, and thought it was a [penalty] flag against him and a drop," said Crawford.

"I was like 'there's no way that's a catch', but then the crowd started going crazy. It was an unbelievable play and he practices those catches regularly.

"But he has great speed too. You can have a team backed up on third down then 'bang', it's a 60-yard touchdown because he can just outrun everyone."

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