INGLEWOOD, Calif. – It was a long journey to his first Super Bowl title for quarterback Matthew Stafford, accomplishing the feat in his 13th NFL season and first with the Rams.
When asked postgame about capitalizing on that opportunity, was going to need more time to reflect.
"I mean, it's probably gonna take some time, you know? and think about it," Stafford said after the Rams' 23-20 win over the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. "I know in the moment, I didn't know what to think. I was just a little emotional. So happy to be a world champ."
Like several veterans on the Rams' roster, this was a long-waited accomplishment for Stafford.
He was the fastest quarterback to hit 40,000 career passing yards, is on the cusp of 50,000 and has thrown 323 career touchdown passes. However, prior to joining the Rams, he saw each of his three playoff appearances with the Lions end in the Wild Card round.
This playoff run would be different.
Leaning his experience with late-game heroics – his 42 career game-winning drives were tied for third-most among active players at the end of the regular season – Stafford helped engineer three of them, one each in the Divisional Round, NFC Championship and Super Bowl LVI – to help him and his Los Angeles teammates hoist the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy in the city.
In Super Bowl LVI, he connected with wide receiver Cooper Kupp for the go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown pass.
"I think I was actually adding it up in the car on the way here, just the extra time outside of the obligatory time was north of 500 hours this season," Kupp said Monday. "So you spend that much time together to talk football, talk about preparation, the time you have focused on that kind of stuff, you get in those moments and it just becomes second nature."
Said Rams head coach Sean McVay: "You put the ball in your best players' hands when it matters the most," McVay said. "That's what we did with Matthew, and he delivered in a big way. He's a world champ."
While's a big individual achievement for Stafford, he was thinking about the group he did it with rather than himself.
"So happy to be a part of this group," Stafford said. "I mean, that's the biggest thing. It's not me, it's not any individual on this team. We're a group, we're a team and to get it done together was so special."