Los Angeles, Feb 16 (EFE).- The Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday were hailed by their hometown for their recent Super Bowl LVI win with a parade, a party with which the Southern California city made up for not being able to pay similar tribute, due to the coronavirus pandemic, to the recent championships won by the LA Lakers and the LA Dodgers.
During 2020 – a year of empty stadiums, widespread lockdowns and uncertainty – Los Angeles managed to bring home the championship NBA trophy for pro basketball from the Orlando “bubble” and its first Major League Baseball championship in 32 years.
The Lakers and the Dodgers, the two most popular pro sports teams in LA, could not enjoy huge parades of their own after their wins due to pandemic gathering restrictions.
Now, however, with many Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus and many others having already gained some measure of immunity by having been infected, many people were looking on this big blast for the Rams as a tribute to the spectacular sports performance by local teams over the past few years.
The Rams prevailed 23-20 over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI last Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
Both Lakers icon LeBron James and the Dodgers’ Justin Turner expressed their interest via Twitter in having a joint parade with a huge shared party, but ultimately the Rams got their own personalized celebration.
The caravan of half a dozen roofless buses began at the Shrine Auditorium at 11 am on Wednesday and the parade ended an hour later at the entrance of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the stadium where the Rams have played from 2016 – when they returned to LA after spending two decades in St. Louis – up to 2020, when SoFi Stadium was inaugurated.
Hundreds of people gathered along the streets to watch the Rams’ buses pass by, although the time of day and the fact that a weekday was selected for the parade perhaps contributed to the lack of images of gigantic screaming crowds hailing the athletes.
Riding in the buses, however, among other Rams stars, were quarterback Matthew Stafford smoking a cigar and Cooper Kupp – the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player – wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey.
Amid the beer and confetti, the caravan bearing the Vince Lombardi trophy the Rams brought home for winning the Super Bowl last weekend finally arrived at a small stage where the standout athletes and other figures from the team each said a few words.
“We’ve got new champions” in Los Angeles, said Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams, while team coach Sean McVay euphorically highlighted the “resilience” of the team and the collective work of all the players.
Stafford, the Rams’ quarterback, said he felt “blessed” to be part of the team, thanking the fans for always sticking with them during good times and bad.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the soul of the Rams on defense, also took the microphone to explain his emotions, saying that “I dreamed this for so long … we’re world champions. That’s what it’s all about. It’s surreal. We’re having a good time. The last team standing.”
Finally, Kupp said that the Super Bowl win “is just the beginning” for this Rams team.
The party got under way with a fireworks display and the song “I Love L.A.,” a Randy Newman classic that has become an anthem in Los Angeles when the city celebrates its sports successes.
Aside from the parade, the city also paid special tribute to the Rams on Wednesday by temporarily changing the letters on the emblematic Hollywood sign overlooking the city so that it read “Rams House.”