LOS ANGELES (AP) – It has been almost three decades since the city where the Super Cup began last hosted a big game. It was 1993, and if you’re looking for an indication of how much time has changed, O.J. Simpson tossed a coin before the game, and Michael Jackson rocked the country with a spectacular show during a break at the Rose Bowl.
The Rams were out of the game, even close. They finished 6-10 in the season, and owner Georgia Frontiere was busy planning the team’s escape from Southern California, eventually landing in St. Louis, which was perhaps the worst move in the modern sports franchise.
The Rams eventually returned, though it cost them a whole generation of loyal fans. This means that the new Rams is still being worked on in the city where they once ruled – as evidenced by the mass of San Francisco believers who could surpass the locals at the NFC Championships in the imposing new stadium, which cost the current owner. Kroenke is $ 5 billion.
However, nothing creates love like the Super Cup championship. And now the Rams from Los Angeles not only have a chance to win their first Super Cup, but also do so on Sunday at the home stadium to which no other city can compare.
“There are many reasons for this city to be thrilled with this team,” Rams coach Sean McVeigh said. “We have great players. It’s a fun football game where you see how they play and then you have this iconic playground where we can play. And, by the way, that’s where the Super Cup is, although we are an away team. “
Being an away team doesn’t have to be a big deal for Rams. After all, it’s a team that was far from 1995 to 2016 when Kroenke brought them back for the same reason they left: more money and more profit.
In Los Angeles, a city that warmly welcomed them when they moved from Cleveland a year after World War II, they have a long and breaking history. But the fact remains, the only Super Cup won by a team with horns on their helmets was won in 2000, when the Rams were, yes, in St. Louis.
In a sense, it is appropriate that the team that stands in the way of this championship is another city that has never celebrated a Super Cup victory. The Bengals for the most part have been unlucky for years, except for a few Super Cup races in the 1980s that didn’t end well.
They now have Joe Barrow, and two seasons after winning just two games they themselves complete an incredible playoff series in 60 minutes.
Oddsmakers don’t like their chances, making them an outsider by 4 points ahead of a Rams team loaded with stellar talent. But the city is buzzing, residents are firing fireworks and buzzing after the Bengals beat Kansas City in overtime in an AFC championship match.
“The best way to describe it for the city is to wake up from a long nightmare,” said Joe Kay, an Associate Press athlete who has covered the team for 40 seasons. “It’s been over 30 years since they even won the playoffs.”
An easy story would be to support an insufficient team from the working city. Unlike Los Angeles, Cincinnati has no movie stars, no beaches, no perfect weather and certainly no $ 5 billion stadium.
But it has iconic chili peppers. It has Joe Barrow.
And soon, perhaps much more Joe.
“I would imagine that in nine to 10 months there will be a lot of babies named Joe. … That’s the impact he had on Cincinnati, ”Bengals coach Zach Taylor said.
Indeed, the approach between the city and its stellar defender could not be better. Barrow grew up in the harsh area of Ohio, just a few hours from Cincinnati, although in his hometown of Plains, fans cheered mostly for the Pittsburgh Steelers or Cleveland Browns.
“Growing up, no one ever said too much about Bengals,” Barrow said. “And I think it’s interesting for us, interesting for the city, that, you know, the Bengals are starting, you know, people are starting to realize that we’re a really good team, and also an exciting team.”
The same can be said for Rams and their city, so maybe in the end these teams and their cities are not so different.
This will change Sunday night when only one can proudly claim to be the Super Cup champions.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports commentator for The Associated Press. Email him at email@example.com or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg