Super Bowl Hasn't Seen a Bigger Underdog in 23 Years

Bengals, who will play the Rams, were 200-1 longshots before the season began
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2022 6:03 AM CST
Super Bowl Hasn't Seen a Bigger Underdog in 23 Years
Cincinnati Bengals center Trey Hopkins (66), guard Hakeem Adeniji (77), and quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrate after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship.   (AP Photos/Reed Hoffmann)

The early favorites to win Super Bowl LVI are the Los Angeles Rams. Odds-makers have made the Rams a 3.5-point favorite against the Cincinnati Bengals after each team advanced to the championship on Sunday, reports ESPN. By chance this year, the game will be played at the Rams' home stadium, but the top exec at one major sports book in Vegas says the line does not factor in any home-field advantage.

  • The game: The Super Bowl is 6:30pm EST Sunday, February 13, per CBS Sports. The game is on NBC.
  • Comebacks: The Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers Sunday 20-17 after trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, per the AP. The Bengals stunned Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in KC, where they trailed 21-3 at one point late in the first half before winning 27-24 in OT, per the AP.
  • Underdogs: The Bengals—the worst team in the league just two seasons ago—may not mind being slight underdogs. They entered the season as 200-1 longshots to make the Super Bowl, notes Yahoo Sports. In the AFC, only the Houston Texas had longer odds. It's the first time since 1999 that a team with odds greater than 100-1 made the big game. (That year it was the Rams, who were in St. Louis then.)

  • Underdogs, II: Both teams were No. 4 seeds entering the playoffs, making this the lowest-seeded Super Bowl ever, per Yahoo. "Yes, this is a weird one," writes Peter King at ProFootballTalk, who details each team's journey in the regular season. "Weird, but quite compelling."
  • Quarterbacks: The matchup pits 33-year-old Matthew Stafford of the Rams against 25-year-old Joe Burrow of the Bengals. Stafford "spent a dozen years trying not to get pummeled in Detroit" before being scooped up the Rams last year, per the AP. Burrow is in just his second season. "I think if you would have told me before the season that we’d be going to the Super Bowl, I probably would have called you crazy," says Burrow. And Stafford: "You can’t write the story any better,” he says. “I’m at a loss for words."
  • Trifecta? If the Bengals win, Burrow will become the first quarterback to win the Heisman, the college national championship (with LSU), and the Super Bowl, reports SB Nation. He would have done so in just three years. Fun side note: Defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin carried Burrow off the field on his shoulder in Sunday night's victory—which he also did when the two won the championship at LSU in 2019.
(More Super Bowl stories.)

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