On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Rams celebrated their Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals with a parade through downtown L.A. and a rally at Echo Park. Of course, some of the players ended up having a little too much fun, which is known to happen during championship celebrations. Just ask Tom Brady from last season’s championship parade and rally in Tampa. Following the rally in L.A. though, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford faced criticism for walking away from a woman who took a bad fall off the event stage yesterday. But let’s give full context to the story before adding fuel to the fire.
The Rams brought the Lombardi Trophy back to L.A. for the first time since 1984 when the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII. The organization called L.A. home from 1946-1994 before relocating to St. Louis. “The Greatest Show On Turf” won a ring in 2000, but owner Stan Kroenke moved the franchise back to L.A. in 2016. As of last season, the team began to play in their brand new SoFi Stadium. The state-of-the-art stadium hosted Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, so L.A. has been in celebration mode even before the Rams won the Big Game at home 23-20.
For Matthew Stafford, it was a long and winding road to his first Super Bowl ring. After 12 subpar seasons with the Detroit Lions and zero playoff wins, the Rams made a blockbuster trade for the QB this past offseason. The franchise brought Stafford in thinking he was the missing link to their championship hopes, and that proved to be true. In only his first year in L.A., Stafford led the Rams to a Super Bowl victory.
With that in mind, knowing the significance to not only the city of L.A., but to Matthew Stafford himself, you knew he would be partying extra hard with his teammates on Wednesday. Unfortunately, what was surely a great time ended with controversy by the end of the Super Bowl rally.
Matthew Stafford and His Wife Party With Drake, Visit Disneyland
It was a well-deserved Super Bowl celebration for the entire Rams team, but especially for the veteran QB. Matthew Stafford had been through many losing seasons in Detroit, but always put up solid individual statistics. Success in the postseason eluded him his entire career. Until now.
As the final whistle blew on Sunday night, confetti fell from the SoFi Stadium rafters. Super Bowl champion hats and t-shirts quickly made their way to Rams players, coaches, and personnel. The culmination of a long season had come to a close in the best way possible – a championship.
As celebrations ensued, Stafford and his wife, Kelly, embraced on the field. The pair have been through a lot together in recent years. Kelly suffered a brain tumor that she survived in 2019. So Sunday was much more than just a Lombardi Trophy. It was about overcoming obstacles on the gridiron and off of it for both of the Staffords.
Following the celebrations in the stadium, Kelly and Matthew Stafford attended an after party and eventually ended up at the rapper Drake‘s house where they stayed until 4 a.m. On an hour’s sleep, the pair woke up and recorded Kelly’s podcast as they recalled their epic Sunday. Right after that, the couple and their four young daughters were ushered off to Disneyland as is tradition with Super Bowl winners. They’d get a bit of time to themselves before further celebrations with the city of Los Angeles and their fans on Wednesday.
NFL Photographer Falls Off Rally Stage, Breaks Her Spine
The Rams took tour buses through downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday as the team celebrated and shared their championship with local fans during their Super Bowl parade. The route would end at Echo Park where the team held a rally and players and coaches addressed thousands of fans in attendance.
Throughout the parade and rally, players were drinking and having a great time celebrating. Cameras captured Matthew Stafford drinking from an expensive bottle of Don Julio 1942 tequila. By the time Stafford took the podium and spoke to the crowd, you could tell the tequila had kicked in. He was all smiles and his Southern drawl became more pronounced as he thanked the city of L.A. for their support.
Towards the end of the event, an NFL photographer named Kelly Smiley appeared to take a photo of Kelly and Matthew Stafford. Footage from the rally shows her take a step back and stumble off the event stage. The quarterback seems to say “Oh my god” as he turns around and walks away from the incident. His wife, jaw-dropped at what just happened, walked over to the edge of the stage to check on Smiley. But cameras cut to the leftover rally crowd after that.
Smiley has since reported that she suffered a fractured spine and broke her cameras in the fall. However, we have no idea if Matthew Stafford truly ignored the situation. He may have turned around to get help. At a minimum, his reaction time was going to be slower. Why? Tequila. The clip above has gone viral and Stafford has received plenty of backlash online since.
Although on the surface, it doesn’t look great, what should a likely drunken Matthew Stafford have done? After days of celebrations and little to no sleep, there’s not much he could’ve done in that moment. Thankfully, his wife checked on the photographer, but until we know more or hear from the Staffords directly, it sounds like the internet has overreacted once again.