Matthew Stafford said the magnitude of winning a Super Bowl was going to take some time to sink in after the Los Angeles Rams quarterback led his side to a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp combined on a go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter to help the Rams lift the Lombardi Trophy.
The 34-year-old, who threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns in the win, said after the game he was still processing his emotions.
“It’s probably gonna take some time,” he said. “I’m gonna have to think about it.
“I know in the moment I didn’t know what to think. I was just a little emotional and so happy to be a world champ. And so happy to be a part of this group. 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.”
Stafford is in his first year with the Rams after spending 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions and had never won a play-off game until this year.
But he said the pain of those experiences only made him more sure of one day being a Super Bowl champion.
“I love playing this game,” Stafford added. “I love playing this game for the competition, for the relationships, for the hard times, for the good times, all of it.
“This game can teach us so much as people. I get to go to work with people from all walks of life, come together and go for one goal.
“For 12 years, that goal wasn’t reached. It tore me up inside, but I knew I could keep playing and try to find a way.
“The fact we reached that goal today is so special.”
Stafford’s Bengals counterpart Joe Burrow was much more sure of how he felt following a night where he threw for 263 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked seven times.
“I’m disappointed in my performance overall,” the 25-year-old said.
“I thought I could have played better. You live, and you learn.
“We’re a young team. You’d like to think we’re going to be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.
“We take this and let it fuel you for the rest of our careers.”