Tom Brady described Bruce Arians as "smart, tough and loyal" after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach stepped down on Wednesday.

The franchise confirmed Arians will no longer lead the team, with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles set to take over.

Arians will not be leaving the Bucs, however, instead taking on a new role of senior football consultant.

The decision comes just over a year after Arians and Brady led Tampa Bay to their second Super Bowl triumph, and the former New England Patriots quarterback wrote a message of gratitude to the 69-year-old, who had spent three years in charge.

"Thank you, BA for all that you have done for me and our team," Brady wrote on Instagram. "You are an incredible man and coach, and it was a privilege to play for you. You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive. 

"Smart, tough, and loyal are a few of the words to describe your style. I will always remember the conversations we had when you recruited me two years ago and all of the things we discussed came true.

"We all benefited from your leadership and guidance and I'm so proud of everything we accomplished. You were a huge part of the decision to join the Bucs and I'm forever grateful.

"I'm so happy you will spend the much-deserved time with your loving and supportive family that has given so much to our communities. Congratulations on an amazing coaching career but more importantly, how you positively impacted me and everyone else in the game of football."

Brady announced his retirement from the game in February, before sensationally changing his mind the following month, re-signing with the Bucs for the 2022 season.

Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford has indicated his long-term future is with the Los Angeles Rams stating it is where he wants to "put some roots down".

Stafford recently agreed to a four-year extension with the Super Bowl champions, with the deal worth $160million according to ESPN.

The 34-year-old QB spent 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions where he never won a postseason game before joining the Rams last year.

Stafford led the Rams to the Super Bowl LVI title over the Cincinnati Bengals, with the new deal reward for that, yet he said there was never any doubt for him.

"I just had so much fun playing for this team this year, playing for this organisation, this coaching staff, and I wanted to make sure I was able to do this for a long time," Stafford told reporters.

"I obviously wanted to say thanks to the Rams for giving me that opportunity. It was a lot of hard work getting to this point.

"I'm just happy where we are and to know what the future looks like for me and for our team. It's an exciting thing as a player to kind of know where you are going to be and be able to put some roots down and really go try to make something really special for a while.

"I was just trying to find something that felt good for both sides where we are able to continue to add players and pieces around me.''

Stafford completed 404 of 601 passes at a 67.2 completion rate for 41 touchdowns last season with 17 interceptions.

The Rams have bolstered their ranks with the addition of free agent wide receiver Allen Robinson II from the Chicago Bears.

"I'm eager to get out there and get to work with him and see what it's like throwing to him," Stafford said.

Matthew Stafford has signed a four-year, $160million extension with the Los Angeles Rams as the Super Bowl champions aim to bolster their squad for a title defence.

Stafford, who played just three playoff games in 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, ended his first year in LA by leading the Rams to a 23-20 Super Bowl LVI win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Representing a significant upgrade on predecessor Jared Goff – who headed to Detroit as part of a trade that also saw the Lions receive two first-round picks – Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns in the 2021 regular season.

The team improved from ranking 13th in passing offense in 2020 (250.9 yards per game) to fifth in 2021 (273.1 yards).

The one-time first overall draft pick added 1,188 yards and nine touchdown passes in the Rams' successful playoff run, including three scores in the defeat of the Bengals.

Stafford's existing contract had been set to expire following the 2022 season, but the new deal added to the end of that is set to keep the quarterback in LA through 2026.

The extension guarantees Stafford $135m, according to reports, and was crucially secured before his $10m roster bonus was due on Sunday.

This should allow cap space for the Rams to further improve their roster in free agency, with another title tilt on the cards as both coach Sean McVay and superstar defender Aaron Donald appear set to return despite claims to the contrary.

The Rams have already signed Allen Robinson and Stafford will again be able to look to Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp in a fearsome offense.

After signing a six-year, $120million deal with the Buffalo Bills, future Hall-of-Fame edge rusher Von Miller said it was far from an easy decision.

Miller finished 2021 with 9.5 sacks for the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams, racking up five for Los Angeles in the final four games of the regular season.

His strong play down the stretch carried into the Rams' triumphant postseason, Miller registering a sack in the wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before sacking Joe Burrow twice in their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

He finished the season fifth among edge rushers with at least 100 one-on-one matchups with a stunt-adjusted pass rush win rate of 43.40, according to Stats Perform data.

When reflecting about his free agency, Miller said he was surprised with how difficult the decision was.

"I wasn't expecting it to be like that," Miller told reporters. "I was expecting you win the Super Bowl, you got your offers out here, where do you want to go, pick, go back to the Rams. But it was tough man, it came down to the very end.

"I feel like I let [the Rams] down – I feel like I'm breaking up with my girlfriend. That's just me and the way I go about my business. 

"But this was the one time in my life where I had to make a decision for me. I saw what makes Aaron Donald Aaron Donald, and it was hard to walk away from that.

"The only way you can walk away from that is to walk into something special. And what they're doing here is extremely special. 

"[The Bills are] gonna win a Super Bowl with or without me. They've built an amazing team."

Tom Brady had seemingly played his last Super Bowl.

The quarterback extraordinaire confirmed on February 1 that he had decided to retire after completing a second year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But less than six weeks later he has made a stunning U-turn, announcing in a tweet that the 44-year-old is coming back for a 23rd season in the NFL.

It means he could yet go on to extend his record for the most Super Bowls to eight, with the NFL great apparently unwilling to declare on seven.

Brady could have walked away after capturing a sixth Lombardi Trophy with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII three years ago with his legacy as the greatest of all time secured.

But whether it was down to a desire to outstrip Michael Jordan's six NBA titles, win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick or simply because of his love of competing and winning, Brady felt the need to keep going further into his 40s in search of a seventh.

That came in emphatic fashion in his first season since leaving Belichick and the Patriots, as the Buccaneers routed the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 at Raymond James Stadium 12 months ago.

The man who entered the NFL as a skinny sixth-round pick in 2000 proved yet again that it is foolish to doubt him, and now he has gone about surprising everyone yet again by deciding that, actually, his time isn't up.

With Brady back for more, Stats Perform ranks his seven wins on the grandest stage.

7. Super Bowl LIII

Brady's last triumph with the Patriots was probably his least impressive, at least in the vacuum of the game itself.

An uninspiring defensive struggle with the Los Angeles Rams unsurprisingly fell in Belichick's favour as he outcoached Sean McVay in a 13-3 win. Brady did, however, connect with Rob Gronkowski for the telling blow, a 29-yard pass that set up Sony Michel for the game's only touchdown. 

Boosting Brady here is the fact he led the Patriots to victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, but that's not enough to move it off the bottom of the list.

6. Super Bowl XXXIX

The 2021 Super Bowl was the second in which Brady dealt a defeat to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, but the 39th edition of the Greatest Show on Earth was a much tighter affair as Brady guided the Patriots to back-to-back Lombardi trophies.

However, Reid, who in this February 2005 game was coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, perhaps bore as much responsibility for the Patriots' victory as Brady. Reid was significantly criticised in the aftermath of the Eagles' 24-21 loss for a lack of time management, their final scoring drive taking up nearly four minutes and making New England's task in closing out the game much easier.

Reid's shortcomings in that regard do not take away from Brady's performance or the achievement in winning successive Super Bowls, one that has not since been repeated. But, in terms of memorable performances, this is not one that ranks highly.

5. Super Bowl XXXVIII

Brady's second Super Bowl win is one that deserves more recognition than it gets as the Patriots held off an underdog Carolina Panthers team that refused to lie down. 

After the Panthers overturned a 21-10 deficit to lead in the fourth quarter, Brady led an 11-play drive to restore the Patriots' advantage and, after Carolina responded in kind, orchestrated a game-winning field goal in the final 58 seconds of regulation to secure a 32-29 triumph.

It was a perfect encapsulation of Brady's ability to deliver when the moment is the biggest, one which he has demonstrated time and again with all the marbles on the line.

4. Super Bowl LV

Brady's first Super Bowl win outside of New England may have been one of the most unexpected, but it doesn't quite crack the top three.

There is so much Brady deserves credit for. From taking the chance to leave his familiar surroundings and successfully adapting to a new offense to the manner in which he dissected the Chiefs defense in the first half.

But the Buccaneers' victory was a team performance built as much on a swarming defense that continually had Mahomes running for his life as it was on Brady's prowess leading the offense.

Brady was a deserved winner of the Super Bowl MVP but, without the Bucs' pass rush, this would have been a very different game, one in which the Chiefs' offense may have been able to change the outcome.

3. Super Bowl XXXVI

Brady was not close to being the quarterback he would become, and that is what makes his first Super Bowl still so incredible.

In his second season in the NFL, Brady came in and successfully filled the void after starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffered a chest injury in Week 2 of the 2001 season and led them to an 11-5 record, but he was not expected to go blow for blow with the vaunted St. Louis Rams offense.

As it happened, he received significant help from an excellent defensive display by New England, but the defining moment came in the final 90 seconds, with legendary commentator John Madden calling for the Patriots to play for overtime. Belichick had the faith in Brady to go the opposite route.

He promptly delivered a nine-play, 53-yard drive that began the legend, setting up Adam Vinatieri for a 48-yard field goal that clinched a 20-17 win for the Patriots and their first title. For a player of his relative inexperience to deliver in a situation of that magnitude, it remains one of Brady's most remarkable achievements.

2. Super Bowl XLIX

It gets lost with the fact that Brady and the Patriots would have lost this game to the Seattle Seahawks if not for Malcolm Butler's goal-line interception, but his fourth quarter in a 28-24 classic was one of the finest periods produced by any quarterback in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots trailed by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, but Brady fearlessly and precisely led them on two touchdown drives against one of the best defenses in NFL history to turn the tide in their favour.

Of course, this game will always be remembered for the Seahawks' inexplicable decision to attempt a pass on the one-yard line with victory in their grasp, but the game never gets to that point without what was at the time Brady's greatest comeback effort in the Super Bowl.

1. Super Bowl LI

It was always unlikely Brady would ever top this performance, his Super Bowl piece de resistance.

All seemed lost for Brady when the Patriots trailed 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter, but what followed was an accumulation of all the clutch moments he has produced in his unparalleled career.

The Falcons were reduced to near helpless spectators as Brady masterfully instigated the biggest fightback in Super Bowl history.

When the Patriots won the coin toss to start overtime, their 34-28 triumph was inevitable. Everyone knew what was about to happen, with the Falcons as powerless to stop it as the Chiefs were last year.

It was a revival that added immeasurably to Brady's aura, his desire to collect Super Bowl rings unsurpassed in the sport's history.

Could another be on the way?

Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth has revealed he received a call from Wayne Gretzky after his Super Bowl LVI win as he considers retirement.

Whitworth has been in the NFL since 2006, when he was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

But he had to wait until this year to finally get his hands on a Super Bowl ring, beating his former team the Bengals with the Rams.

It was widely expected Whitworth would call time on his career if the Rams won the title, yet one of sport's great names has given him food for thought.

Whitworth told NFL Total Access: "You definitely think about [winning a second Super Bowl], especially with Matthew Stafford coming back and Cooper Kupp and some of the special players – Aaron Donald being the biggest one, which we'll hopefully hear soon is going to be back.

"I've already seen him in the weight room working out, so I think that's a positive sign.

"It's a special group of guys, so you wouldn't want to miss that, that's for sure.

"I'll never forget after we won the game, the 'Great One', Wayne Gretzky, called me, because I live near him. He said, 'Hey Whit, there's only one thing better than winning one, and that's winning two'. I said I can't argue with you.

"It's going to be tough. One way or another, it's going to be a tough decision. There'd be a lot of great guys I'd be missing out on."

The Cincinnati Bengals will look at ways to improve their team and help superstar quarterback Joe Burrow after an outstanding season ended in defeat at Super Bowl LVI.

The Bengals, who had not previously won a playoff game in 31 years, came within minutes of their first Super Bowl victory.

But a drive led by Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp put the Los Angeles Rams into a 23-20 lead, which three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner Aaron Donald protected when the Bengals attempted to come back down the field.

Donald finished with 10 pressures – a total only topped in a Super Bowl once since 2006 (Nick Bosa, 12, in Super Bowl LIV) – of the 23 Burrow faced.

In that same recent period, there have been six examples of a quarterback being pressured 20 or more times in the Super Bowl and only one (Patrick Mahomes, 28, also in Super Bowl LIV) has won.

Burrow's seven sacks tied the Super Bowl record (Roger Staubach in Super Bowl X) and followed his league-leading 51 in the regular season.

It is no secret that the Bengals' issues are on the offensive line, although that much was clear last year, too, when Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee after being hit by two Washington defenders.

Rather than address the problem with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who had played with Burrow at LSU.

The Bengals were rewarded as Chase had 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honours, but their inability to protect Burrow proved costly in the closing seconds of the season.

Can they now belatedly find a fix? That certainly appears to be the plan.

"Joe is a smart player and that shines through," Bengals owner Mike Brown said. "He's accurate, he's tough as nails. We want to do some things to help him."

Brown added: "I think we have the core of a top team, we'll add to it and I think we can make it better."

If the Bengals can just keep Burrow clean a little more often, they have every chance of returning to the big game during the quarterback's tenure.

"We're a young team," Burrow said immediately after Sunday's defeat, "so you'd like to think we'll be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.

"We take this and let it fuel us for the rest of our careers."

Addressing the team's fans, Brown said: "My one regret is I'm not carrying a new trophy. The Bengals are real. The future is bright. You, our coaches and our players are going to have some trip."

Aaron Donald appeared to hint at a 2022 return during the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl LVI victory parade on Wednesday.

Ahead of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, it was suggested Donald could quit the NFL if he finally won a championship to go with his individual achievements.

And the three-time Defensive Player of the Year could scarcely have been more influential in a 23-20 Rams win.

Donald held up Joe Burrow and the Bengals on third and one and then fourth and one on their final drive, finishing with two sacks and three quarterback hits – tying the best marks of his playoff career.

The emotional defensive tackle refused to be drawn into comment on his future immediately after the game, instead saying he was "just going to live in the moment".

But Wednesday's parade provided a rather different setting, as head coach Sean McVay – whose 2022 status had also been the subject of speculation – chanted "run it back" before handing the microphone to Donald.

"We built a super team," Donald responded. "If we can bring the super team back, why not run it back? We could be world champs again!"

Joe Burrow will not require surgery on the right knee injury he sustained in the Cincinnati Bengals' Super Bowl LVI defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

Burrow endured a punishing second half behind the Bengals' below-par offensive line in Sunday's 23-20 defeat to the Rams at SoFi Stadium.

The Bengals quarterback finished with seven sacks, tying Roger Staubach's Super Bowl X record.

One hit saw Burrow hobble away, appearing to be in real pain with his knee.

Although Burrow later said the issue "feels good", head coach Zac Taylor – speaking on Wednesday as his Bengals contract was extended – recommended a period of rest for the former first overall pick.

It was an MCL sprain but not a new issue, Taylor revealed, with Burrow having merely aggravated an injury sustained against the Los Angeles Chargers in the regular season.

"Joe had the sprained MCL and that's really an aggravation of something he did in late December," Taylor said. "Rest is the best thing for him."

Burrow also injured his finger in December, with Taylor quizzed on the possibility of surgery for that ailment, too.

"Not to my understanding, no," the coach said.

Burrow was ruled out in Week 11 of the 2020 season, his rookie year, due to ACL and MCL tears in his left knee.

The immediate futures of head coach Sean McVay and veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald will not be determined for a month according to Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.

McVay guided the Rams to Sunday's 23-20 Super Bowl LVI triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, making him the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl in NFL history at 36-years-old.

Donald made a series of key plays to clinch victory for the Rams but speculation has been rife about the 30-year-old's playing future, although he declined to discuss it in the aftermath of victory.

“I think all of these guys are wiped,” Demoff told reporters on Monday. “When you get to this point, the gas tank is empty and you’re sitting there holding a trophy.

"I think that’s daunting to some degree when you wake up this morning and realize you’ve got to go do it all over again, and you don’t have the energy so I think the talk is actually natural.

“I would agree. I don’t think Sean’s current pace is sustainable in terms of how much work he puts in if you want to have a family. But I think the one thing, these guys all love football.

"They love being around each other… These are all natural questions that are hard to answer in the moment. A month away, two months away from everybody, and I think things will feel a lot better.”

McVay added that good things happens when you get great players pulling in the same direction, as the Rams claimed their first Super Bowl victory since 1999, when they were based in St Louis.

The Rams invested heavily in success ahead of this season, bringing in quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and outside line backer Von Miller in the past 12 months.

"When you get around great players and great coaches who are all committed and pulling in the same direction, pulling that rope in the same direction, good things can happen," McVay told reporters on Monday.

"Each team is a new team every single year but when you have the right foundational pieces like Cooper [Kupp], [Andrew] Whitworth, Stafford, Aaron Donald, the list goes on, you just feel grateful to be a part of it.

"Because of their success other people get a chance to grow."

Joe Burrow is confident the Cincinnati Bengals will get more opportunities to win a first Super Bowl after they came up just short against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals led for almost the entire second half at SoFi Stadium, but Matthew Stafford's clutch touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp secured a 23-20 Rams win.

This was the Bengals' third appearance in the Super Bowl and their third defeat, although this young team ended a 31-year drought in terms of playoff wins.

Burrow, therefore, expects the Bengals to kick on and find motivation in the pain of defeat.

"It hurts," he told a news conference. "We put a lot of work into going out there and executing and performing well, and it didn't turn out the way we wanted, so it's disappointing."

Burrow added: "We're a young team, so you'd like to think we'll be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.

"We take this and let it fuel us for the rest of our careers."

The Bengals' inability to protect their quarterback was key to their loss, with Burrow taking a record-tying seven sacks – one of which left him hobbling.

Burrow said his knee "feels good", however, and refused to blame his offensive line, focusing instead on his own display.

"I was disappointed with my performance overall," he said. "I thought I could have played better, given us a better chance to win, but you live and you learn."

Burrow, who finished with 263 yards and a single touchdown on 22-of-33 passing, tried to focus on the positives, citing a quote from former quarterback Kurt Warner who had "let [defeat] sting too much and didn't celebrate what they accomplished".

"Obviously it stings, but we had a great year," Burrow said. "We didn't come out of this last game the way we wanted to, but we still have something to celebrate."

The abiding image of Super Bowl LVI looked as if it would be the sight of Odell Beckham Jr. in tears on the sideline, desperately disappointed at being unable to help his Los Angeles Rams team-mates as they laboured against the Cincinnati Bengals in his absence forced by a knee injury suffered in the second quarter.

Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald refused to let that be the case.

As they have done throughout a rollercoaster 2021 campaign, the Rams' two biggest stars stepped up to ensure the loss of the one they acquired in a blockbuster midseason signing would not prove decisive, once again rising to the occasion to propel the franchise to its first Super Bowl title in Los Angeles with a 23-20 win at their SoFi Stadium home, which was awash with Bengals fans.

Until the penultimate drive, the injury to Beckham, who scored the Rams' first touchdown, appeared set to be the turning point. After he limped off the field, the Rams saw a drive end in points just once, kicking a field goal in the third quarter to trim the Bengals' lead to 20-16. Other than that, their offensive series in the wake of Beckham's injury produced a pair of interceptions and four punts.

Having enjoyed a stunning postseason, Matthew Stafford was struggling for chemistry with any of his receivers minus the attention Beckham commands. It was a problem the Rams did not look like solving, but the solution ultimately proved a simple one, as they reverted to a policy that has often served them well this season on the final drive: feed Kupp.

Kupp had touched the ball just twice after Beckham went down. A lack of involvement for the Offensive Player of the Year and now Super Bowl MVP was never likely to produce the desired result for the Rams, so on fourth and one with the game on the line they made sure the ball ended up in his hands, Kupp coming across the formation and receiving a hand-off from Stafford that he took for seven yards.

From there, the final drive was the Kupp show, the wide receiver's final act of one of the most exciting seasons of recent memory sure to be one that will live in NFL lore.

Kupp racked up 46 scrimmage yards as he was targeted six times by Matthew Stafford, those targets resulting in 39 yards, two critical penalties and, most importantly, a leaping grab in the endzone that finally ended the Rams' wait for a title in the city they returned to in 2016 after over two decades away.

A key defensive holding call against Logan Wilson on third and eight from the Cincinnati eight-yard line was dubious, while a pass interference penalty on Eli Apple that put the ball on the one-yard line was more obvious, but there was no doubt about the quality from Kupp as he sold Apple an inside release and then adjusted perfectly to a back-shoulder throw from Stafford to erase the Bengals' 20-16 lead.

As he did in the Divisional Round and the Conference Championship, Kupp had struck a telling blow, but the Rams needed a closer on defense with a Bengals reply initially looking promising. Enter Donald.

The man most consider the best player in the NFL hadn't quite succeeded in wrecking the game even as a much-maligned Bengals offensive line disintegrated in the second half and left Joe Burrow hobbled, yet he saved his best for the most significant play of the game on a do-or-die fourth down for Cincinnati, powering past Bengals left guard Quinton Spain with a two-hand swipe move and flinging Burrow to the turf as he let loose a desperation pass that fell short of Samaje Perine.

It meant that tears of joy from Beckham – rather than his earlier anguish – would, along with that of Donald gesturing to put a ring on his finger, be one of the abiding images from a game that saw Sean McVay become the youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach in NFL history.

The Rams' road to Super Bowl glory has come the hard way, Los Angeles becoming the first team to win three successive postseason games by three points or fewer, and there has been a common thread across each of those wins. When they have needed them the most, the Rams have seen their stars – be it Stafford, Kupp and Beckham on offense or Donald and Co. on defense – deliver.

As a franchise, the Rams have eschewed the traditional team-building methods, trading away draft pick after draft pick to build a top-heavy roster and inviting scrutiny with each setback the team suffered as a result. In Kupp and Donald, though, it is two homegrown draft picks who have ensured those stumbles and any questions about the construction of their roster can now be forgotten, with the Rams free to enjoy the feeling of vindication for the next six months.

Los Angeles went off-script to build a perennial playoff contender and, thanks to that approach and the Rams' ability to come through in a cliffhanger, it is the team from the city of stars that ends the year outshining all others.

Sean McVay described the nature of the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl LVI triumph as "poetic" after they came up big on offense and defense to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Rams – playing at their SoFi Stadium home – had led in the first half before Odell Beckham. Jr, who scored the opening touchdown, departed with a knee injury.

The Bengals took control for a period and had a four-point advantage inside the two-minute warning.

But a record-breaking 15-play go-ahead drive ended with Matthew Stafford throwing a TD pass to Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp.

There was still work to do on defense, with the Bengals within a field goal of overtime, yet Aaron Donald stuffed the run on third-and-one and then forced an incompletion on fourth down to clinch victory.

McVay considered the dramatic conclusion fitting for his team, who became the first to win three games by three points or fewer in the same postseason thanks to this 23-20 success.

The coach, who reserved praise for the "great job" from Stafford and Kupp, who "took over the game", said: "It feels outstanding.

"You talk about a resilient team, coaches, players, I'm so proud of this group, just proud to be associated with it.

"We talk about competitive greatness all the time, being your best when the best is required. For the offense to be able to find the way and then Aaron to be able to finish it off, it's poetic."

Matthew Stafford deflected praise onto his Los Angeles Rams team-mates after leading them to Super Bowl LVI success.

Quarterback Stafford threw for 283 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 26-of-40 passing as the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

The Rams had to do it the hard way at SoFi Stadium, without Odell Beckham Jr. through injury for more than half of the game and trailing by four points inside the two-minute warning.

But Stafford and triple crown wide receiver Cooper Kupp combined for a decisive touchdown on a 15-play drive.

That was the longest go-ahead drive in terms of plays in a fourth quarter in Super Bowl history.

Stafford was asked how his work with Kupp came together, but he was eager to share the credit for the victory.

"That's hard work. That's hours together," he told CBS. "[Coach Sean McVay said], 'Matthew, you and Cooper are getting this done'. He kept calling plays for him, finding ways to get him the ball.

"He made unbelievable plays – that's what he does.

"I'm just so proud of this team, it's such a team victory. Our defense played outstanding, our special teams were big when we needed it, such a great game."

Reflecting on the game as a whole, the QB said: "I'm so proud of this team. There's so many guys on our team that deserve this, so many great players, guys that have just given their heart and soul to this team, guys that are either playing in this game or not – because of injuries or whatever it is.

"I'm just so proud of this group. That game today is the story of our season – it's up and down, it's tough, but we're a tough team, showed up late and got it done. I'm excited."

Stafford added of the secret to their success: "The way we pull for each other. We work together every single day and sharpen each other's skills.

"I get to go against that defense every single day – how can I not get better? I hope they feel the same way about us.

"We care for each other. That starts top down – Sean does an unbelievable job connecting us as players, leading the way. We follow his lead and we're here now."

Kupp, who became the second player to catch TD passes in four straight games in the same postseason, finishing with six scores in this year's playoffs, was named Super Bowl MVP.

As the celebrations started, he said: "I'm just proud of this team, the way we prepared, the way we loved all each other, trusted each other.

"I don't feel deserving of this. The guys were so good. I'm just so thankful of the guys I get to be around, the coaches, my family. I don't know what to say."

Kupp had eight catches on 10 targets for 92 yards and two TDs.

Aaron Donald delayed any decision on his NFL future after helping the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl LVI at their SoFi Stadium home.

Donald, one of the league's greatest ever defensive players, is an eight-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All-Pro First-team selection and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but team success had evaded him.

The 30-year-old was one of three starters against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday who had also started the Super Bowl LIII defeat to the New England Patriots.

But a big performance from Donald contributed to a precious 23-20 triumph, meaning he could finally get his hands on the Lombardi Trophy.

It had been suggested Donald would retire if the Rams won, but he was in no mood to discuss that possibility immediately after the game.

"I'm in a moment right now. I'm in a moment," he told CBS. "I just want to enjoy this right now with these guys.

"My kids are coming on the field – this is a promise I made to my daughter – so we're going to play in the confetti for a minute, man. I'm just going to live in the moment."

Describing his feelings, Donald said: "I'm so happy. I wanted this so bad. I dreamed this, man. I dreamed this. It's surreal. Look at this, look at this, man. I feel amazing, feel great."

He added: "It's the best feeling in the world. God is great. God is great. I'm lost for words. I don't know what to say. It's a blessing."

Sunday's game came down to fine margins, with the Rams the first team in NFL history to win three games by three points or fewer in a single postseason.

Donald finished with two sacks and three quarterback hits – including forcing an incompletion from Joe Burrow on fourth down in the final seconds. He had stuffed the run on third-and-one, too.

"Strain, strain," he said of his thoughts at that moment. "One last play to be world champs, give it everything you've got. We made a play and we won. That's all that matters."

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