LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Rams celebrated their Super Bowl triumph in a blizzard of blue and gold confetti on Wednesday as the team took a boozy victory parade before thousands of cheering fans. Quarterback Matthew Stafford swigged tequila and defensive star Aaron Donald quaffed beer and champagne as the NFL champions marked Sunday's victory over the Cincinnati Bengals with an open-top bus tour.

Hordes of fans thronged the route to salute the team in blazing sunshine before a victory rally held in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Rams star Stafford, who had been chugging beers during the bus tour, addressed the crowd with a tequila bottle in his hand. "This is unbelievable to be out here today celebrating with you guys," said Stafford, who led the Rams game-winning drive in Sunday's 23-20 win.

"It's an unbelievable journey we've been on, so many ups and downs. But you know what you guys were out there with us every step of the way. "I am so blessed to be a part of this team. I'm hugging every single one of them right here." Stafford drew some advice from retired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who was famously pictured being helped off a boat looking the worse for wear after celebrating his seventh Super Bowl win last year. "Mix in a water Matt...trust me," Brady commented on Twitter above parade footage of Stafford smoking a cigar and drinking beer.

'Run it back!'

Defensive star Donald, meanwhile, whose sack of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow effectively sealed the Super Bowl win, admitted he'd been having a "little fun". "So if I slur my words I apologize," Donald said. "I dreamed this for so long .. we're world champions. That's what it's all about. "It's surreal. We're having a good time. The last team standing."

Donald's future with the Rams has been the subject of speculation since Sunday's Super Bowl win, with one report suggesting he may be contemplating retirement. Rams coach Sean McVay urged Donald to commit to return for another season, leading the crowd in chants of "Run it back! Run it back!" "We built the super team, if we can bring the super team back, why not run it back?" Donald replied.

Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Cooper Kupp, the star wide receiver who scored the winning touchdown, paid tribute to late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. "Kobe is a part of this, he belongs here, he set the standard," said Kupp, wearing a Lakers jersey emblazoned with Bryant's name and number. Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Rams' veteran offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, who at 40 is another player reported to be mulling retirement, said he hoped his story would serve as an inspiration. Whitworth joined the Rams in 2017 after the Bengals declined to offer him a new long-term contract at the age of 35. "Five years ago I was told I was a little too old, and that maybe my time was done," Whitworth told the crowd.

"For every single person standing out there who's ever doubted themselves - bet on yourself because five years later I'm holding this trophy up and I'm 40 years old. "Don't let anyone's opinions of you become your reality. Bet on yourself. World. Damn. Champions." - AFP