On February 13, 2022, the Los Angeles Rams ended a 22-year franchise wait by winning Super Bowl LVI after a thrilling 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the Rams’ second-ever championship triumph and first since returning to Los Angeles from St Louis.
To make the victory even sweeter, the Rams won the Super Bowl inside their own SoFi Stadium, making them the second team to win the title at their home venue (Tampa Bay Buccaneers achieved the feat in 2021).
There may still be plenty of time before the new NFL season begins in September, but the focus is already on the future and discussions have begun over which teams have genuine ambitions of reaching Super Bowl LVII.
As the reigning champions, you can see if you click here that the Rams are certainly in the mix, and the (very) early odds price the Los Angeles team as the third favorites to go back-to-back. Those odds have only the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the Rams.
While a challenge to win successive Super Bowls, seven franchises have achieved the feat, and the Rams will aim to add their name to the list come next February. That said, it has been nearly two decades since a team last won consecutive Lombardi Trophies (New England Patriots 2003-2004).
There are some key factors, and decisions to be made, that could dictate how close the Rams come to winning back-to-back Super Bowls.
Keeping the gang together
Consistency and continuity form the backbone of any winning team, so if the Rams are to become the first team in more than 20 years to win successive Super Bowls, as little disruption to this year’s winning setup would go a long way to make it happen.
The good news for L.A is that many of its core unit are tied down to contracts that will ensure it stays together for next season. That includes star quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and Aaron Donald – the best defensive player in the NFL bar none.
However, there is still some key personnel from the Super Bowl-winning team whose futures have yet to be decided, and with the Rams more than $8 million over the salary cap, big decisions await over which free agents the franchise will look to tie down.
Among the notable free agents are Odell Beckham Jr, Von Miller, Sony Michel, Austin Corbett, and Brian Allen. Michel does not look likely to be retained, while Corbett and Allen could probably receive larger contract offers on the open market. Between Beckham Jr and Miller, the Rams should be prioritizing the contract of Beckham Jr, who struck up a strong chemistry with Stafford last season.
If the Rams can tie Beckham Jr, and potentially Allen, to new contracts for the upcoming season, the team will be in good shape to defend the Super Bowl.
Welcoming back Woods from injury
Stafford and Donald aside, Jordan Fuller is considered among the most important players in the Rams roster and was expected to play a vital role last season as L.A. took aim at the Super Bowl.
When Fuller went down with injury midway through the season, denying the Rams the services of their star safety, it was expected to rock the team’s championship chances. He was, after all, the leader and signal-caller of the defense.
Credit to the Rams, then, for rallying in Fuller’s absence but with him set to return for next season, the team will be even stronger – both on the field and with the leadership qualities he provides.
If the Rams can win the Super Bowl without Fuller, then surely their chances of going back-to-back with him in the team can only increase.
Can the defense be as good (or even better)?
The Rams’ Super Bowl triumph was built on the best defense in the league, led by the incomparable Donald, and L.A will be planning once again to build a bid for successive championships on that defense.
As mentioned, the return of Fuller will no doubt provide a big boost to the Rams defense but there are other factors why L.A can be optimistic about being even stronger next season, including the emergence of linebacker Ernest Jones, who will surely only get even stronger next season.
The Rams will retain most of their championship-winning defense for next season, except for Darius Williams and Miller – although Williams is easily replaceable, with Robert Rochell ready and waiting to step into the line-up. The likely exit of defensive end Miller as a free agent could create a minor weakness that he was able to solve, but L.A’s solid defensive unit should be more than capable to plug the gaps.
If the Rams can continue to excel in defense next season, then the foundations can be formed for another Super Bowl victory.