AGOURA HILLS, Calif. – Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff remembers being in the room in Charlotte, North Carolina when Los Angeles received approval to host its first Super Bowl in 30 years. He also remembers losing sleep when it felt like construction on SoFi Stadium was falling behind, and feeling bad for the NFL after the organization had stepped up to deliver that stadium as the host site before that behind-schedule construction forced Super Bowl LV to be relocated to Tampa.
Now, Super Bowl LVI is both the organization and the city of L.A.'s long-awaited chance to shine.
"It's an unprecedented opportunity for the Los Angeles Rams," Demoff said during a video conference with reporters Wednesday.
The Rams will take on the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in their home stadium, the remarkable culmination of the first year with the stadium truly open – the COVID-19 pandemic and public health protocols eliminated fan attendance in 2020, its first season of operation.
Along the way there, the Rams became the first team to host a championship game and Super Bowl in their home stadium.
"(To have) all of that come into a confluence and have the Los Angeles Rams win their first Super Bowl in Los Angeles," Demoff said. "I would say if it was a Hollywood Script, it would get tossed out, because nobody would believe it."
Demoff traces the buildup to this moment back to Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke's challenge to the organization to be the best one it can be, win quickly, but also construct it in a way unique to Los Angeles. The Rams didn't necessarily have to be the same as the showtime Lakers of the 1980s, or the Dodgers, or the Kings with Wayne Gretzky, that Demoff grew up watching, but the common thread between each of those teams was star power.
In that regard, the Rams were aided in their return to Los Angeles by having an established All-Pro, Pro Bowl talent on their roster in Aaron Donald in 2016, then saw a dominant Todd Gurley burst onto the scene in 2017.
They also benefited from Kroenke taking a risk in early 2017 by a hiring a then-30-year-old Sean McVay as head coach. Buoyed by McVay's strong working relationship with general manager Les Snead, L.A. has captured three NFC West division titles, a pair of NFC Championships and two Super Bowl appearances over the last five seasons.
"There are a confluence of factors, but I think it starts with the challenge of the entertaining," Demoff said. "Take the advantages that come with Los Angeles, and then the terrific work that Sean, Les, the coaches and personnel group do in harmony to maximize every opportunity we get."
Demoff hopes this moment represents the Los Angeles Rams' Lombardi Trophy and a parade following it in the city. He also hopes it represents a showcase of the best L.A. has to offer, the beginning of L.A.'s next chapter as it emerges from COVID and "the unbelievable power of our city."
"I hope people back on the next two weeks and say, we brought the city together," Demoff said. "That the power of sports to bring different neighborhoods, different ethnicities, different cultures, different regions together behind one common cause. And if we can galvanize this community, to have one heartbeat and one voice, that would highlight the power of sports, the power of the Rams, the power of the NFL, to truly impact lives and make a difference in Los Angeles."