From tears to cheers: LA Rams sense of urgency rocked the NFL

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Aaron Donald
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams won Super Bowl LVI for the city of Los Angeles, the first time in the history of the franchise to do so. The LA Rams won Super Bowl LVI in their home field, SoFi Stadium, the second time in the history of the NFL to do so. But a year before, the LA Rams were defeated by the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

That loss devastated the entire Rams organization. But the image of LA Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, playing through the pain of a significant rib injury suffered late in the Wild Card win against the Seattle Seahawks, crying after the loss was both a bane and a blessing.

Those tears lit a fire under the entire LA Rams organization.  From that moment, the LA Rams staff, coaches, and players were of an entirely different mindset. There was no more playing the odds, playing it safe, or even playing around. The team was not about to squander the best years of so many elite players on the roster.

Aaron Donald Despair? Sean McVay Determination

In the words of head coach Sean McVay:

"“I love this guy (Aaron Donald). And this guy is as much motivation as anybody for why, if we don’t win a Super Bowl — if this guy doesn’t get one — then shame on me.” – Rams head coach Sean McVay per an interview with Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required)"

But it was more than Donald. The Green Bay Packers awoke the sleeping giant in Los Angeles.

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The LA Rams had Jalen Ramsey, Andrew Whitworth, Leonard Floyd, A’Shawn Robinson, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. The team would sign Odell Beckham Jr., and trade for Matthew Stafford, Sony Michel, and Von Miller. The team would even coax formerly retired defensive back Eric Weddle out of retirement.