The Superstar Rams

It is somewhat fitting that the Los Angeles Rams have plenty of star power on their team. What else would you expect from a franchise playing just a stone's throw – and some considerable traffic – from Hollywood?

Every Rams' home game at the stunning $5.5 billion SoFi Stadium sees breaks in the action filled with the spotting of celebrity fans such as Will Ferrell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jessica Alba, Rebel Wilson and our very own James Corden.

As the Rams continue to grow their support since returning to Los Angeles in 2016, they are giving their fans a great deal to cheer about as Sean McVay's men have reached the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons.

That berth in the NFL title game is the reward for the bold wheeling and dealing that has been done by McVay and general manager Les Snead. The pair are certainly not afraid to take chances when it comes to building an NFL roster.

Where the Cincinnati Bengals have acquired their key men via the NFL Draft, some of the biggest names on the Rams' roster have been secured via free agency or some high-profile trades. As a result, the Rams' last first-round draft pick was used in 2016 and quarterback Jared Goff is now in Detroit. Their next first-round pick will be in 2024.

Giving up some significant draft picks has resulted in the key additions of quarterback Matthew Stafford, All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, running back Sony Michel and pass-rushing demon and Super Bowl 50 Most Valuable Player Von Miller. The Rams have been just as bold in signing free agents by adding All-Pro tackle Andrew Whitworth, edge rusher Leonard Floyd and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Such high-profile and splashy moves have seen the Rams described as being "all in" for the Super Bowl. Critics have suggested they are mortgaging their future. But it is hard to argue with their plan. In McVay's five years in charge, the Rams have reached the postseason four times and are now in this second Super Bowl. Fans of a great many teams would prefer that approach.

But is it hard to manage a locker room filled with superstars? The perception from the outside is that it must be tough to coral such a high-profile group of stars who have so much on the line. So, I asked McVay that very question when he met virtually with the media on Monday night.

"The consistent thing with all these guys is that they love football," McVay began. "They are extremely intelligent and they want to win. That's the most important thing. When you have guys like Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald and you add Von Miller and Odell Beckham and you trade for Matthew Stafford, and you put them alongside Cooper Kupp and Andrew Whitworth, they are a big reason why this team has been special.

"Yes, they have established themselves as big-time players in this league but one of the things about all those guys is that they are great competitors and they want to win a championship."

Von Miller spoke emotionally and openly on Wednesday night about how the Rams' locker room welcomed him with open arms after a midseason trade from Denver that left him "hurt and in tears." McVay describes the picture of a locker room bonded together, not one filled with individuals with egos as big as their names.

"We always talk about 'we not me,'" the fifth-year head coach explained. "These guys understand it is about the 'we.' But they know their 'me' part plays a big role in reaching our highest potential.

"They are all about the right stuff. I love these guys. I love this team and it's a real credit to the veteran leadership in our locker room to be able to embrace those guys so they fit in so seamlessly. They all want to win and we're all pulling that rope in the same direction. That's critical for any team trying to chase a championship."

While Stafford has been a difference-maker at quarterback, tying a franchise record with 41 touchdown passes during the regular season, the defensive line arguably boasts even more star power.

Aaron Donald is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who has 14 sacks during this regular season and playoff run, Miller is the last defensive player to win the Super Bowl MVP prize in the 2015 season and Leonard Floyd has 10 ½ sacks heading into the season finale.

Miller, who has seven sacks in his last seven games with the Rams, has been a wonderful addition. He told the media on Wednesday evening: "I'm a son, a father, a brother, but I'm a pass rusher – that's what I do better than anything else in life. I felt like the Rams would be a great fit for me and that has been the case."

Odell Beckham Jr. has also come along as the season has progressed and he racked up 113 receiving in the NFC Championship Game. His highest output since Week 1 of the 2018 campaign. OBJ and the uncoverable Cooper Kupp have combined for 622 receiving yards in the playoffs and need 135 more in the Super Bowl to be the most prolific pairing in postseason history.

That would just be another addition to the growing pile of Cooper Kupp records. He has now amassed 2,333 receiving yards in the regular season and the playoffs – the most in a single NFL season by 356 yards!

And Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, who coached Kupp as an assistant receivers coach with the Rams in 2017, was quick to praise his former pupil during the run-up to Super Bowl 56: "He's one of the smartest players I've ever been around. He really approaches the game like a quarterback.

"He really understands the structure of the defenses, the nuances of route running. You would wake up the next morning to a midnight text from Cooper Kupp with thoughts on things that could help the offense. He's rare that way."

Kupp is the perfect emobodiment of these Rams, who stand on the verge of winning the Super Bowl for the second time in team history. He is now a genuine superstar, just like OBJ, Stafford, Donald and Miller, but he – along with those other big names – is made of "the right stuff."

And that right stuff could pay huge dividends on Sunday night.

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