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Returning to roots and "run it back": Recapping the Rams' Super Bowl LVI parade and rally in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The double-decker buses branded in royal and sol and a "World Champions 2021" logos slowly made their way down Jefferson Boulevard to Figueroa Street, then onto Exposition Drive where they arrived at the Peristyle at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Rams' celebration of their Super Bowl LVI title culminated Wednesday afternoon with a parade and a rally at the Coliseum on a 62-degree day and under clear blue Southern California skies, a celebration that connected the team back to the roots of its L.A. return while celebrating the present and looking toward the future.

The final destination of the parade was where they played their home games in their first three seasons back in Los Angeles until the completion of SoFi Stadium, with the rally taking place at the Olympic Plaza and Peristyle Arch.

Along the route, quarterback Matthew Stafford hit trick shots off the top of the bus he was on after a fan tossed him a football. Another fan threw offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth a – unique – Cooper Kupp MVP t-shirt, which Whitworth wore the rest of the celebration. Kupp rocked a black Kobe Bryant jersey with gold trim that had the number 8 on the front and number 24 on the back. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald took his shirt off.

The fun continued with speeches from Inglewood Mayor James Butts, who presented a key to the city to Rams Owner and Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who presented keys to the city to Stafford, Kupp and Donald, and Los Angeles City Councilman for District 9 Curren Price officially presenting the adoption of the resolution congratulating the Rams on winning the Super Bowl.

From there, Rams general manager Les Snead kicked off speeches from members of the team, doing so while wearing a shirt with a meme popular among the Rams fan base about draft picks.

"We know what that highest high feels like today," Snead said. "So in honor of the shirt, F them picks, we'll use 'em to go win more Super Bowls."

Rams head coach Sean McVay, Stafford, Donald, Miller, wide receiver Robert Woods, offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth and Kupp rounded out the speeches, with McVay, Donald, Miller and Kupp hitting on the same theme of running it back.

In fact, McVay got Voice of the Rams J.B. Long to ask Donald that at the end of Donald's speech.

"Run it back! Run it back!" McVay started chanting.

"We built a super team," Donald said. "If we bring the super team back, why not run it back?"

Meanwhile, Whitworth took his moment to offer an inspiring message.

"Five years ago, I was told I was a little too old," Whitworth said. "I was told that maybe my time was done. And I tell you this for every single person sitting out there that's 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. Let's go. Don't let anybody's opinion of you ever become your reality. Bet on yourself. World damn champions!"

In a classy move, Kupp wanted Whitworth speak before he did. When Kupp got his chance, he drew inspiration from his wardrobe.

"I'm standing here in this city that knows nothing but championships," Kupp said. "We're out here celebrating this championship – Kobe's a part of this. He belongs here. I'll you what, he set the standard. All I know: Get back to work, let's run it back."

This celebration was full-circle of sorts for Woods, a Los Angeles native who went to Serra High in Gardena and later starred at USC.

"Growing up here man, we are all family, man," said Woods, who also used his speech to thank all those who made sacrifices to make this season possible. "Being able to play here in LA, start right here at USC, bring this home right down Figueroa. This is why we do it."

The parade marked the conclusion of official celebrations, but some players like Donald might keep the festivities going awhile longer.

Considering Donald – whose resume is well-known by now – said during his speech he was living a longtime dream, not sure anyone would blame him.

"I've been drinking a little bit, so we're having a good time," Donald said during his speech. "It's going to look like this through at least the end of the week. We world champions!"

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