There will be firsts inside SoFi Stadium when the Arizona Cardinals travel to Inglewood to take on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, January 17.
First Monday Night Football playoff game in NFL history? Both have this box checked. First playoff appearance for Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury? Both will witness this first in their NFL careers as quarterbacks and head coaches. The first time these two teams will meet as division enemies in the playoffs? Yes, since the 1975 Divisional Round meeting, when the Cards represented the NFC East as St. Louis.
But there’s another big moment where the NFC West rivals go head-to-head inside the crystallized SoFi Stadium — one that a Rams executive pointed out in a Thursday, Jan. 13, chat with Heavy.
The game will be played on this national holiday for the very first time
When it comes to sports, Martin Luther King Day often becomes an action-packed NBA date — especially with the MLK-themed uniforms worn by the Atlanta Hawks on the floor a year ago.
But Monday Night Football’s first-ever playoff game also becomes the NFL’s first-ever game, let alone any nationally televised football game, played on MLK Day.
Kevin Demoff, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Rams, spoke with Heavy at the Super Bowl “30 Days Out” event held Thursday at the location where the Cardinals and his team will go down in history. Demoff shared his reaction to the moment.
“I even think back to last week for our Week 18 ‘Inspire Change’ game when we honored Kenny Washington (the former Ram who signed the first-ever NFL contract among African-American players). I think it’s fitting for us to play the first Martin Luther King Day game in NFL history. And we are working with the NFL on how to bring this game to life to properly celebrate Martin Luther King,” Demoff said.
The Cardinals’ opponent endured a ‘moment of melancholy’ in Week 18
Both teams finished the 2021-22 season in the losing streak.
But while the Cardinals lost their chance to win the division and set up a playoff game by falling to the Seattle Seahawks 38-30 to close out the regular season, the Rams suffered a more heartbreaking loss: the 27-24 loss. in overtime when they lost a halftime lead for the first time under head coach Sean McVay.
Oh, they also blew a 17-point lead with a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed over the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Demoff described the moment after the Rams’ loss.
“It was such a melancholy moment when you left the stadium on Sunday: you won the division, you’re wearing your NFC West championship hat. But you lost such a heartbreaking game,” Demoff said. impatiently on your phone to find out “OK, we’re having a game next week. Is it going to be Saturday or Sunday? And you really haven’t thought about Monday. And then, of course, the NFL sends you a text message and says to you, “Hey, you’re going to organize Monday Night Football.”
Now the Rams will be aiming to redeem themselves while the Cardinals look to finish their season – which is two straight years since the NFC West champion fell in the first round if the Cards eliminate LA
But the excitement for the game continues to grow, especially with the MLK theme of this contest.
“I’m just thrilled to host the first playoff game in SoFi history. The first year this building opens for the Rams in the most competitive division in the NFL with three playoff teams and three teams with double-digit wins Winning this division and being able to set up a playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, and being the first Monday Night Game in NFL history and the first Martin Luther King Day game in the NFL history is a special moment for all of us and for Los Angeles,” Demoff said. “We hope to put on a good show and come away victorious.”