By Colin Salao
The Super Bowl is played in a supposedly neutral site.
But in Super LVI, the Cincinnati Bengals drew the Los Angeles Rams playing on the team’s home turf of the SoFi Stadium. Rams fans showed up in jubilant force.
The Bengals were essentially a road team for the Feb. 13 game, which meant Rams fans flooded most of the city. The Rams were even able to use their usual practice facility in Thousand Oaks while the Bengals held their practices and media availability in Drake Stadium at UCLA.
But the Bengals were used to playing as the underdog team all year. They were such long shots before Week 3 that betting site DraftKings had the Bengals at +20,000 to win the Super Bowl, which means a $100 bet would reward bettors $20,000. But backed by impeccable seasons from sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow and rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals finished with a 10-7 record to win the AFC North. They defeated the top-seeded Tennessee Titans and dethroned back-to-back AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs en route to the Big Game.
While the Bengals ultimately fell short, 23-20, a strong contingent of Bengals supporters cheered on the team at SoFi Stadium on game day and at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Super Bowl Experience leading up to the game.
Colin Salao is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter at @colinsalao.