On a cloudless, gentle Sunday afternoon in America's newest football palace, fans gathered on a patio behind the San Francisco 49ers bench to compare jewelry and sip margaritas.
The most surprising statistic of Kobe Bryant's second consecutive lost season has surfaced, and it's not about points or percentages, but perception.
Bill Belichick played the rumpled dunce, wrinkled sweatshirt, rolled-up sleeves, the world's most detailed football coach shrugging and sighing and professing to have no idea about footballs.
He is the most visible bridge between the losing and the winning, the humiliation and the hope, Sin City and Lob City.
At the end of another night of both magic and mystery, Kobe Bryant winces as he slowly walks through the Staples Center tunnel to his car.
For USC basketball it was the usual chaos, selfies on the Galen Center scoreboard, pizza deliveries in the stands, parachutes floating down from the rafters.
The speed was stopped. The tempo was trampled. The coolest team in college football was punched in its shiny, swoosh-adorned jaw.
It was more than a photo; it was a greenly veiled threat that is continually directed from the calm of the Pacific Northwest to the chaos of Southern California.