Super Poll: NFL Playoffs

The people have chosen who they thought would win the Super Bowl. How did they do?

Poster for Super Bowl LVI (Matthew Stafford left; Joe Burrow right)

Poster for Super Bowl LVI (Matthew Stafford left; Joe Burrow right)

Logan Friend, Signal Staff Writer

On January 10, 2022, football fans officially knew if their teams were in the playoffs or not. The lucky teams were the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers. After three exciting rounds full of upsets, comebacks, and absolute blowouts, the Bengals and Rams came out on top of their respective conferences in one of the most popular televised events in all of the United States.

The Bengals, led by quarterback Joe Burrow, and rookie sensation, Ja’Marr Chase, who weren’t particularly favored, have officially made it after a 31 year drought of not winning a playoff game, and last reaching the Super Bowl back in 1989. The team went on a tear this season. They made the playoffs at a record of 10-7, winning the AFC North, after missing the playoffs at 4-11-1 last year. This season’s difference? The Bengals have some phenomenal young stars. The return of Joe Burrow after tearing both his ACL and MCL last season had a significant impact on the team.  Burrow also acquired his favorite weapon from his college days at LSU, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. They beat the Raiders 26-19, the Titans 19-16, and the Chiefs 24-21 in an overtime comeback thriller to seal up the AFC before unfortunately losing the Super Bowl, making their record 0-3 in the big game.

In the NFC, there is the Rams. During the offseason, and the regular season, the Rams built a super team. They traded for Matthew Stafford (from the Lions), Odell Beckham Jr. (from the Browns), and Von Miller (from the Broncos). They were paired with stars Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Cooper Kupp. Their record was 12-5, winning them the NFC West. They blew out the Cardinals (another super team) 34-11, the Buccaneers 30-27 in an almost full comeback by Tampa Bay, and the 49ers (who were big underdogs) in a comeback victory 20-17. They beat Cincinnati 23-20, bringing their official Super Bowl Record to 2-3.

These matchups made up most of the 2021-2022 playoffs. But what was expected? What did the community say? Which teams were favored to make and win the big game?

The popular opinion and the actual matchup were very different. The most popular matchup was Packers vs Chiefs, with the majority saying the Packers would win. Out of every response, only one person said the Bengals and no one said the Rams.

Who did people think would make it to the Super Bowl (in the NFC)?

 

Who did people think would make it to the Super Bowl (in the AFC)?

Between the two teams, they had 4 separate award winners. Ja’Marr Chase won Offensive Rookie of the Year, Joe Burrow won Comeback Player of the Year, Cooper Kupp won Offensive Player of the Year, and Andrew Whitworth won Walter Payton Man of the Year (won by being the best person morally).

According to ESPN, Joe Burrow, after suffering multiple leg injuries in 2020, threw for 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only 14 interceptions. Joe Mixon, the running back, had 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase broke the rookie record for receiving yards in a season, with 1,455 yards (previously held by Justin Jefferson last year, another LSU receiver, who had 1,400). He also now holds the record for most receiving yards by a rookie in a single season (226 yards in Week 17 vs the Chiefs).

For the Rams, Matthew Stafford passed for 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns, and only 17 interceptions. Sony Michel, who came in for an injured Cam Akers, had 845 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing. Cooper Kupp, the breakout star, had 1,947, placing second all-time for regular season receiving yards (behind Calvin Johnson’s 1,964 in 2012).

When the league has teams made up of such award winners, it is hard for fans to  question those team’s appearances in the Super Bowl. It may not have been the matchup the public expected, but it’s not hard to argue that two deserving, talented teams came out on top.

Who did people think would win the Super Bowl?