Eli Apple’s trash-talking comes back to bite him in Super Bowl LVI
By Kristen Wong
Chef Matthew Stafford and the Rams cooked Cincinnati Bengals corner Eli Apple in Super Bowl LVI, teaching him what will hopefully be a lifelong lesson: Don’t play with fire if you get burned easily.
Prior to the Super Bowl, Apple played an average of 97 percent of defensive snaps for the Bengals in the postseason. After a rough start to the 2021 season, Apple grew to become one of the more reliable members in the Bengals’ backfield. But his redemption arc, as impressive as it was, ended Sunday, when Apple blew coverage on two Rams touchdowns.
Widely known as a loudmouth across the league, Apple’s trash-talked victims came back to haunt him. And not Casper-the-friendly-ghost haunt. Think The Exorcism.
Mecole Hardman’s tweet, though passive aggressive, isn’t entirely mean in nature. Hardman wanted Apple to work hard to hone his craft — as do the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals’ Eli Apple is eating all his words after Super Bowl LVI
In response to the tweet storm, Bengals fans weren’t exactly leaping to their feet to Apple’s defense. They saw what happened. The whole world did.
On the Rams’ late game-winning drive, Eli Apple committed a blatant pass interference penalty in the end zone, causing the ball to be set at the Bengals’ 1-yard line. Then, on the 2nd down, Apple easily got beat by Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp for the decisive touchdown.
Why was Apple guarding Kupp in the first place? That’s a question for Lou Anarumo to answer.
Apple finished the game with five total tackles and one pass defended, and it could be argued that Cincinnati’s defense played well not because of Apple, but in spite of him.
Chidobe Awuzie nabbed a pivotal interception in the Bengals’ end zone while Logan Wilson led the team in tackles. Wilson committed a defensive holding penalty against Kupp on a third down to keep Los Angeles’ game-winning drive alive, but many around the league believed that was a terrible call.
At the end of the day, the refs didn’t lose this game for the Bengals. The Bengals did, by not giving Joe Burrow a quality offensive line and by entrusting Apple to lock down Cooper Kupp, among other reasons.
After all the bridges Apple has burned, we can’t say we really pity him. What goes around comes around, especially if you’re not, er, a very good corner.