Akers and the rams are in Super Bowl 56
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For the second time in history, and for the second time in a row, a team gets to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium. In this case, however, the L.A. Rams won’t be the official home team.
Last year, the Buccaneers were the ‘home’ team in Super Bowl LV, because it was an odd-numbered Super Bowl, when the NFC gets that label. It’s now Super Bowl LVI, or 56 for the Roman-numerically challenged, meaning the AFC is the ‘home’ team, regardless of the venue.
Cincinnati would get to use the Rams’ locker room if they wanted, but the word is that the Bengals plan to use the Chargers locker room, allowing the Rams to use their regular room.
The Bengals also get to choose which uniform colors to wear, dark or white jerseys, leaving the opposite for the Rams. Los Angeles however, as the away team, gets to call the coin toss. However, the team winning the toss has lost each of the last seven Super Bowls, so look for L.A. to try and lose that one perk of being the ‘road’ team.
As far as an actual home-field advantage, the Bengals don’t seem to be enjoying much of one. They opened as 3½-point underdogs on NFL odds’ boards, and have since been faded by the betting markets. They are now catching 4½ points ten days out from the game.
Vikings Hosting Jim Harbaugh
The Vikings’ head-coaching job remains open in the NFC North. Reportedly, the team is down to four main candidates, including Rams’ offensive (Kevin O’Connell) and defensive (Raheem Morris) coordinators, Giants’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
O’Connell and Morris are a little preoccupied at the moment, but the pursuit of Harbaugh has no Super Bowl hurdles in the way. He will be in the Twin Cities Wednesday for a face-to-face interview. Harbaugh and Minnesota spoke Saturday, with both sides gauging the interest of the other. There was sufficient progress there to continue the conversation.
Harbaugh last coached in the NFL in 2014, the last of his four seasons in San Francisco. Harbaugh and the 49ers won the NFC Championship in 2012. New Vikings’ general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was in the 49er research department during that run to the Super Bowl.
O’Connell and Morris can’t be hired until after the Super Bowl, and the word from new Giants’ coach Brian Daboll is if Graham isn’t the Vikings’ next coach, he’ll still have his job in New York.
Saints Lining Up Interviews
The rebuild in New Orleans is going to be significant, as the team is still without a proven quarterback, the salary-cap situation is a mess and for the first time in 16 years, Sean Payton isn’t the coach.
The first order of business is to find Payton’s replacement, and a number of candidates have emerged. Former Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson, a Super Bowl winner after the 2017 season, interviewed with the Saints Sunday.
Wednesday, the interviewee du jour is Lions’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, with the current Saints’ defensive coordinator Dennis Allen getting his turn either Wednesday or Thursday. Then, it’s Saints’ special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi at the end of the week.
Jimmy Garoppolo Looking Beyond San Francisco
It’s no surprise, since the writing’s been on the wall since the 49ers drafted Trey Lance in 2021. Jimmy Garoppolo is not going to be the quarterback for much longer. Even though he just came within a game of taking the Niners to a second Super Bowl in three seasons, he may be gone as soon as next season.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has declined to address the future quarterback situation, but Garoppolo did in the emotional locker room after the loss in the NFC title game.
“We’ll see what happens in these next couple days, weeks, whatever, but I love this team.”
Garoppolo is due to make $26.9 million in 2022. However, if the 49ers release him, they would free $25.5 million of it. He’s a free agent after next season.