Pitt great Aaron Donald won a Super Bowl for the first time in his NFL career on Sunday, as the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI. Donald came up with several clutch plays in the game and got to enjoy the victory on his team’s home turf, as the game was played at SoFi Stadium.
“I’m just so happy,” Donald said as confetti showered the field after the game. “I wanted this so bad. I dreamed of this, man. I dreamed of this, and it’s surreal.”
In the game, Donald came up with four tackles, including two sacks and two tackles for losses. He also put extensive pressure on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, as he had three quarterback hurries and one quarterback hit. But the best of his contributions came on the final Rams defensive stand, which secured the victory in the final minute of the game.
During that stand, Donald stopped Bengals running back Samaje Perine for no gain on 3rd-and-1, setting up an all-or-nothing 4th-and-1. And on that final down, he got to Burrow, wrapped him up and flung him to the ground as he let loose a weak pass that fell short. After the game-saving play, Donald celebrated with his teammates and pointed to his ring finger.
Donald has been on the hunt for a Super Bowl ring since he was drafted by the Rams in 2014, and on the long road to the Lombardi Trophy, he earned just about every individual accolade attainable by a defensive tackle in the NFL. That included Pro Bowl honors in each of his eight seasons in the league; first-team All-Pro honors in each of the last seven seasons; the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2014; the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017, 2018 and 2020; and a spot on the 2010s all-decade team. But until Sunday, a championship had eluded Donald.
Now, with a Super Bowl ring secured, Donald is considering retirement, according to Rodney Harrison and Michele Tafoya of NBC. Harrison broke the news during the pregame show, and Tafoya confirmed it during the game. As Harrison put it, the decision was contingent on Donald winning the Super Bowl, and if that occurred, then there was a “strong possibility that he could walk away from the game.”
Donald declined to say if he had come to a decision about his retirement on Sunday. But if he does decide to call it a career after eight seasons in the NFL, he will be a lock for the Hall of Fame and will be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game.