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PETER KING BREAKS DOWN THE RAMS’ SUPER BOWL LVI VICTORY IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

“The champion Rams won a transformative game. This was quite an evening in Los Angeles. It was a night pro football mattered again.” – King on the Rams in Los Angeles

“Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp did what all-time players should do – play great when greatness is required.” –King

“The other franchises are acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, the Rams knew what they were doing in not treating first-round picks like Ming vases.” – King on the Rams’ roster construction

“The Bengals are so much better than they’ve been in most of our lifetimes…And Joe Burrow is going to be good for a very long time – if they can just protect him better than they did this year.” – King on the Bengals

STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 14, 2022 – Peter King discusses the Rams’ Super LVI victory over the Bengals and speaks with multiple members of the organization after the game in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King speaks with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, head coach Sean McVay, and COO Kevin Demoff, breaks down the Rams’ Super Bowl-winning touchdown to wide receiver Cooper Kupp, hands out his Super Bowl LVI awards, and more.

For more NFL coverage, Peacock offers daily programming on the NBC Sports channel for free, including Pro Football Talk at 7 a.m. ET every weekday, Safety Blitz, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, The Peter King Podcast, The Rich Eisen Show, Brother from Another, and The Dan Patrick Show. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.

The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:

THE RAMS

King on the Rams: “Football in L.A. is back, in a very big way…And the champion Rams won a transformative game. This was quite an evening in Los Angeles. It was a night pro football mattered again…As for the mega-decisions that awaited the fathers of the franchise – for instance, will Aaron Donald retire? – those could wait. This night was for celebrating the improbable.”

Rams owner Stan Kroenke to King on moving the team to Los Angeles and winning the Super Bowl: “The great thing is what this does for Los Angeles. It’s just great for this city.”

King on the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI victory: “Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl in year 13, after never winning a playoff game in his first 12 NFL seasons. Von Miller re-discovered the fountain of youth with another two-sack playoff game. Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp did what all-time players should do – play great when greatness is required.”

King on the Rams’ move to L.A.: “The two most controversial NFL decisions were the league handing the keys to the L.A. market to an unpopular Rams owner, Kroenke, and the hiring of a 30-year-old coach to revitalize football in Los Angeles…They both looked like gem decisions Sunday night.”

King on the Rams’ front office: “Kroenke built the greatest stadium in the NFL and probably in all of North American sports. He empowered his lieutenants to make the kinds of decisions that no other team in the NFL makes – trading high draft choices to win today, while retaining the volume of draft picks a team would need to stay competitive.”

King: “The Rams don’t think of the downside of trading for Matthew Stafford or Von Miller. They think: We’ll take great veterans on the team, and we’ll figure out how to deal with the cap ramifications later. They deal with the cap ramifications, mostly, by being okay with playing mid- and low-round picks in great volume. To the victors go the spoils…The other franchises are acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, the Rams knew what they were doing in not treating first-round picks like Ming vases.”

Rams COO Kevin Demoff to King: “Right now no one in our organization is worrying about not picking till 100-something in the draft in April.”

King on the Rams’ game-winning touchdown play, 15 Wanda Now X Fade: “On this route – McVay called it “Game winner” when describing it an hour later – Beckham would normally be split wide, at the X position, furthest from the center…But on this play, with Beckham watching from the sideline with his knee wrapped, Kupp went wide. The Rams coaches trust Kupp, who studies the game like a quarterback, to play every position in the receiver route tree.”

Aaron Donald on stopping the Bengals on fourth-and-1: “You’re thinking they were gonna run it. Then you start seeing certain stares and certain calls, they’re calling out to the point where you think, they’re gonna drop back and pass. When [Joe Burrow] threw it up, my heart kinda jumped because I saw the little running back right there. Would he catch it…It was a big play.”

King on the Rams hiring Sean McVay in 2017: “It isn’t just the two Super Bowl appearances in five years that make McVay a vital figure in the Rams’ rebuild. It’s the boldness of the organization in choosing him. It’s a franchise that said, The usual has not worked for us. Rich Brooks, Jeff Fisher … We’ve got to do something different…That’s the thing about tough decisions. For 10 straight years the Rams had been under .500, first in St. Louis and then in Los Angeles. What’s the point of continuing what hasn’t worked? So the Rams picked McVay, the energetic one, and he hasn’t disappointed.”

Demoff to King on hiring McVay: “The NFL entrusted Stan with L.A., and entrusted our franchise with the best chance in L.A. in years. We just didn’t want to let them down. So Stan rolled the dice on a 30-year-old kid coach. We all realized if we were wrong about Sean, it could cost us our careers. But it was a chance we were willing to take.”

King on the Bengals: “I have tremendous empathy for them. The Bengals are so much better than they’ve been in most of our lifetimes (6-0 versus Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Kansas City this season). And Joe Burrow is going to be good for a very long time – if they can just protect him better than they did this year.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on reports that the Colts may try to trade QB Carson Wentz: “There’s something bubbling beneath the surface here. Wentz failed down the stretch for Indianapolis, but the play itself wasn’t bad enough for the Colts and coach/mentor Frank Reich to give up on a player they spent first- and third-round picks to acquire…My guess is something happened here, something other than a 9-8 record, that led to this moment. Attitude, an incident, work ethic, loss of trust. Something. I don’t know what.”

King on the Cardinals and QB Kyler Murray: “Murray at midseason was a legit MVP candidate, and it was virtually certain that the franchise would try to sign him to a lucrative second contract when he became eligible for it this offseason. Now, if the Cards don’t engage in discussion, that could ruffle Murray’s ego. But why would the team want to sign him to a $40-million-a-year contract (or some such deal) when they surely have some doubts about his ability to lead the team to the promised land? This one bears watching too.”

King on minority coaches in the NFL: “I can tell you that patience is wearing thin about owners’ relative inactivity on the coaching front. One top club executive said he would support what several of his peers and some in the league office favor: a high draft choice awarded to a team that hires a minority coach.”

King: “I think Tony Dungy’s idea for improving the minority-coach-hiring prospects is worth your consideration. I have been a fan of this for a long time. The idea: prohibit any head coaching interviews till after the Super Bowl, and prohibit any head-coach hires till 10 days after the Super Bowl. It’s sort of an enforced slow-roll of the process.”

KING’S SUPER BOWL LVI AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Week: Cooper Kupp, L.A. Rams.

King: “A few seconds after it looked like he might have gotten kayoed on a brutal hit in the corner of the end zone, Kupp caught his eighth pass of the night, a one-yard TD from Matthew Stafford, to win the first Super Bowl for these Rams. Kupp is the catalyst of this offense, and has been all season.”

Defensive Player of the Week: Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams.

King: “Don’t look at the stats: four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss. Look at the end of the game. Aaron’s gonna make a play, was Sean McVay’s mantra on the sidelines. He made two…Whether or not Donald plays football anymore, he will walk into Canton easily, fortified by playing huge in the biggest game of his life.”

Special Teams Player of the Week: Evan McPherson, Cincinnati.

King: “This wasn’t a great game for the kicking game – no big shining plays. Consider this a lifetime achievement award sort of thing. McPherson capped a perfect postseason, 14 for 14 in field goals, with 29- and 38-yard field goals against the Rams.”

Coaches of the Week: Raheem Morris, L.A. Rams, & Zac Taylor, Cincinnati.

King on Morris: “He got to show every owner who wasn’t interested him as a prospective second-time head coach this hiring cycle that he deserves a very long look. Morris, the former Bucs’ head coach, choreographed a defense that held the productive Bengals to 4-of-18 on third and fourth downs and 305 total yards. Morris was a great hire for the Rams, who are fortunate they’ve got him for at least one more year.”

King on Taylor: “In this coin-flip of a postseason, so many games came down to one play at the end. This was one of them. But I can’t help thinking about how far the Bengals have come and the job Taylor has done with a team that was 6-25-1 in his first two years…Taylor was crestfallen, obviously, a half hour after this game, but the hurt will wear off and eventually he will realize, as will his franchise, that these absolutely are not the same old Bengals.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:




    • PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays & is available on-demand. The Dan Patrick Show streams at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
    • ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
    • NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.

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