Football

‘Run it back!’: Rams celebrate championship, address retirement rumors at the Super Bowl parade

The 2022 Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams celebrated their victory outside their old home: the Coliseum.

A photo of a shirtless Aaron Donald spraying fans with champagne at the Rams' Super Bowl rally. A crowd of fans dressed in Rams gear is below.

The Super Bowl LVI champion Los Angeles Rams paraded alongside USC’s campus to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday, where hundreds of fans were waiting to join them in celebration of their victory.

The championship parade began at Shrine Auditorium and ended at the Coliseum, which was home to the Rams during the 2016-2019 seasons.

Following the parade was a rally in which head coach Sean McVay and various key players spoke on the importance of this championship for the team and the city of Los Angeles.

“That’s the best part about football, it’s the greatest team sport there is,” McVay said. “Our brightest of shooting stars shine their brightest, but man, it’s about the team. And these guys are World Champs.”

Super Bowl LVI MVP and 2022 Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp won over the crowd with his speech.

“I’m standing here in this city that knows nothing but championships. We’re all out here celebrating this championship,” Kupp said, wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey and with the Lombardi Trophy in hand. “Kobe’s a part of this. This is big. He belongs here. He set the standard. All I know is, get back to work, let’s run it back.”

Kupp contributed 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns during the regular season before adding another 478 yards and six touchdowns in the postseason. No receiver in NFL history had more yards in a single season than Kupp’s combined 2,425 yards.

After star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a non-contact knee injury in the second quarter of the Super Bowl, Kupp stepped up leading the Rams in receiving yards and scoring two touchdowns. Quarterback Matthew Stafford found Kupp in the endzone with 1:25 left on the clock, proving he could come through in the clutch.

Kupp’s quarterback, Matthew Stafford, earned his first career Super Bowl championship in his first season with the Rams after spending 12 years with the Detroit Lions. At the rally, Stafford thanked the crowd and the Rams’ fan base for their support all season.

“We appreciate you guys so much, man. This is unbelievable to be out here today celebrating with you guys,” Stafford said. “It’s an unbelievable journey we’ve been on. So many ups and downs. You guys were right there with us and we appreciate you. Every step of the way.”

Also taking the stage was former Trojan Robert Woods, who missed the entirety of the playoffs after tearing his ACL in practice before Week 10. Woods nonetheless played an important leadership role in his fifth season with the Rams and ninth NFL season overall.

Woods celebrated his first Super Bowl championship at the stadium he’s called home both as a professional and as a collegiate receiver.

“Growing up here, man, we’re all family,” Woods said. “Being able to play here in L.A., start right here at USC, bring this home, right down Figueroa … This is why we do it.”

At 36 years old, McVay is now the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. McVay was named head coach in the 2017 season, and now, after five seasons with the Rams, he can finally put world champion on his resume.

“I can’t say enough about this team, the resiliency, the mental toughness. Super Bowl champs!” McVay said, adding that every championship team built their own legacy and so did the 2022 L.A. Rams.

As a three-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, Aaron Donald has become one of the greatest defenders of all time. During this year’s championship journey, Donald repeatedly showcased his excellence, forcing an interception to end the NFC Championship Game and an errant throw from Joe Burrow to win the Super Bowl.

“We’re World Champions!” Donald said. “This is what it’s all about!”

Forty-year-old veteran Andrew Whitworth earned his first career Super Bowl ring in his fifth year with the L.A. Rams. Whitworth became the oldest tackle in NFL history to win the championship.

Whitworth, who is widely expected to retire, was asked about the possibility of returning next season.

“We’ll save that conversation for another day,” Whitworth said. “But what I will say is every single person standing out there that ever doubted anything you’ve ever done: Bet on yourself. Because five years later, I’m holding this trophy up, and I’m 40 years old.”

Though rumors that Donald and McVay are considering retirement may have received a hit at the championship rally, anything could happen until it’s officially confirmed. As Donald took the podium, broadcaster J.B. Long told him: “Sean McVay just tapped me on the shoulder, he wanted to know if you were interested in ‘running it back.’”

As McVay and the team chanted, “run it back,” Donald responded:

”Why not run it back? We can be world champs again.”