INGLEWOOD, California — Eric Weddle’s Hollywood ending came true.

The former Utah safety, six-time Pro Bowler and 13-year NFL veteran added a new chapter to his illustrious career Sunday night: World champion.

He couldn’t help but scream those words in excitement every chance he got after his Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in the 2022 Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium.

“Certain things had to happen for me to be in this moment, and to finish it off the way we did is just something you hear out of a book, or a story — a fiction fairy tale you only wish that your name would be a part of it,” Weddle said postgame Sunday.

“Lucky me, it’s about me, and I’m a world champ now.”

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) carries the ball as Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder (51)- and defensive back Eric Weddle (20) defend.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) carries the ball as Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder (51)- and defensive back Eric Weddle (20) defend during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. | Matt Rourke, Associated Press

Weddle — who retired two years ago and signed with the Rams just after the regular season ended when Los Angeles ran into some injury troubles in its secondary — had five tackles in his only Super Bowl appearance of his storied career.

He was also the Rams’ defensive signal caller just five weeks after re-signing with the team. 

Weddle even played through a torn pec earlier in the game, he told reporters afterward, and will have surgery shortly. 

But the pain was all worth it.

“I’m re-retiring,” he joked.

Weddle was one of three former Utah stars to earn a Super Bowl ring with the Rams on Sunday.

The other two were former Orem High kicker Matt Gay, who was also a Utah Valley University soccer star, and safety Terrell Burgess.

Gay made a pair of extra points in the game and added a 41-yard field goal that helped cut a Los Angeles third-quarter deficit to 20-16.

The only Utah tie on an active roster Sunday night to come out on the losing end was former Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis, who has spent the past two seasons in Cincinnati.

Weddle, though, was one of the highlight stories of the game.

“It took me 15 years to get here. You don’t want to miss the opportunity and make the most of it, and we sure did,” Weddle said.

The Rams, despite leading 13-3 in the first half, had to rally for the victory after a pair of big plays went the Bengals’ way early in the third quarter and helped Cincinnati turn a deficit into a 20-13 lead.

The first was a 75-yard Tee Higgins touchdown catch on the first play of the second half. Moments later, Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford threw his second interception of the day in Rams territory, though the Los Angeles defense held the Bengals to a field goal.

In that moment, Weddle said, he knew the Rams defense — particularly its defensive front — set the tone for the rest of the game.

Los Angeles had just one sack in the first half, but by game’s end, it had seven on Cincinnati second-year quarterback Joe Burrow.

“That series was huge, to hold them to a field goal,” Weddle said. “Our front, I could feel the energy, the pressure we were putting on their front and that we were going to take over the game at that point.”

The Rams defense indeed took over. Cincinnati never scored in the game’s final 25 minutes, setting the way for Los Angeles to finally retake the lead with 1:25 to play on a 1-yard pass from Stafford to Cooper Kupp, the game’s MVP who had eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Bengals tried to force a tie or take the lead down three after Kupp’s touchdown, but again the Rams’ defensive front provided the final, definitive punch.

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With Cincinnati facing a fourth-and-1 at the Los Angeles 49 with just under a minute to play, Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald pressured Burrow into an incompletion, setting off a celebration all around LA.

“You knew Matt was going to eventually figure that out and make a play for us. Then to put it in our hands at the end of the game was picture perfect,” Weddle said.

Weddle credited the Rams’ leaders with setting the tone for a championship worthy team.

“This team is as mentally tough of a team as I’ve been on,” he said. “We never wavered and we never stopped believing. It started with the head coach and the leaders on this team of a one-play-at-a-time mindset and staying in the moment.”

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