This L.A. sports ace has the Super Bowl down to a science. Here’s his game plan

A man sits in a chair at a TV studio next to an L.A. Rams helmet
Fred Roggin, photographed last month inside NBC4 Studio at the Brokaw News Center in Universal City, has been the station’s sports anchor for more than 40 years.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Talk with Fred Roggin about what it’s been like covering major sports for more than four decades, and it becomes clear that the NBC4 sports anchor has pretty much seen it all — from Olympic Games and NBA Finals to the World Series and boxing championships.

“I’m the luckiest guy you’ll ever meet,” said Roggin during a recent Zoom call. “I’ve been blessed to be at every major sporting event on the planet. I get to do what most people want to do, except I have to be there and get paid for it. They want to be there and pay for the right to see it.”

But even the experienced Roggin gets pumped up as he looks forward to a historic event: Super Bowl LVI, hosted by Los Angeles and featuring the hometown Los Angeles Rams. The showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium will be broadcast Sunday by NBC.


“What does this mean for Los Angeles? It’s huge!” declared Roggin. “This Super Bowl is an enormous event, not only for the city of Los Angeles but for the return of football to L.A. with the Rams. When [Rams owner] Stan Kroenke decided to come back and build that stadium, his dream and hope was that the Rams would be in the first Super Bowl in L.A.”

Even though this Super Bowl is monumental, Roggin acknowledged it has to share the stage with two other major developments in the NFL of late. One, the lawsuit filed against three teams and the league earlier this month by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, in which Flores, who is Black, alleges that he was subject to “sham” interviews and “treated as a box to ‘check off’ due to his race.” And two, the retirement of football great Tom Brady.

“It’s a busy and exciting time,” said Roggin. “Not much time for rest. Things are happening hour by hour, and it gives us an opportunity to really be on our toes.”

As if that weren’t enough, Roggin also is reporting on the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which is being broadcast by NBC and other NBCUniversal platforms as well. Live Olympic events will precede and follow the Super Bowl during what network executives are calling “Super Gold Sunday.”

Said Roggin: “It’s been said that the Olympics bring more families together than any other event on TV. The Super Bowl is the most watched event on television. Now you combine them on the same day. The audience will be enormous. And that means I better not make any mistakes.”

Those frustrated by last summer’s telecast will have better options during the Beijing Games, execs say. But political controversy looms even larger.

Feb. 3, 2022

Fred, did you predict at the start of the season that the Rams would be in the Super Bowl?


Absolutely not! I thought they would have a very good chance, and that they would be in the conversation. In professional sports, that’s all you can ask for. Los Angeles is a very different market than any other market around the country. Here, you have to win to be relevant. There’s no choice. There are too many people, too many ways to spend your disposable income and too many teams. You’ve got to win. You have to make a splash.

So this truly is a big deal.

This city was without football in this market for 20 years. During that period, the people in this city adopted other teams. That’s why you saw so many San Francisco 49ers fans at SoFi when the Rams played them for the NFC Championship. What the Rams are trying to do is rebuild their fan base, and it’s really important for them to close it at the Super Bowl. That will do more than anything to reintroduce and rebrand football in Los Angeles.

What will “Super Gold Sunday” be like for you?

I’m up every day at 6:30 a.m. It will be the same that day. I’ll read everything that has been written leading into the game so I will be prepared. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. The latest I will get to the stadium is 1 p.m., maybe even earlier because traffic will be an adventure. Then I’ll get settled in the press box. It’s important to feel the atmosphere before the game, so you can report on that. Immediately following the game, we’ll have postgame interviews. Then I will go to our NBC4 desk at the lake outside SoFi, and we’ll have a newscast at 9 p.m.

There’s been a lot of NFL news besides the Super Bowl. How do you think this racial-discrimination lawsuit is impacting the game and the NFL?


There are a lot of allegations that have been made. Here’s the facts: Seventy percent of the players in the NFL are Black. There is only one Black head coach, I don’t think you need to be a Rhodes scholar to look at those facts and think there’s something wrong here. There’s an inequity, and the league needs to do a better job.

Details in a lawsuit by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores appear to show that NFL teams still aren’t taking Black coaching candidates seriously.

Feb. 2, 2022

Does this put a cloud over the Super Bowl?

It would be hard to upstage the game. What it does is introduce something into the conversation at a time when people are really interested in football. In sports, this is not news — not something that just popped onto the horizon. But given the interest in the sport at this time, it’s a conversation that needs to be had.

And then there’s the other big story: Tom Brady, the GOAT.

Tom Brady is an example of someone who may not have been the most talented — certainly would not be considered the fastest — but who dedicated himself to his craft and worked exceptionally hard. He learned everything he could learn, and that enabled him to be the best. It really is a story for anyone to understand that hard work and sacrifice will lead you to success. It is the American dream. He retired at age 44. Some people think he’s in such incredible shape and he’s done so much — why would he retire at 44? When I was 44, I could get up in the morning and tear a hamstring just by waking up. Tom is being chased by 300-pound men. I believe he believes he gave it all he had — which he did. The numbers speak for themselves.

What do you look forward to most when it comes to covering sports?


There are certain events you just walk into and really feel something. Any championship. A Game 7. But when you walk into an arena for women’s Olympic figure skating, that is something else. There is so much tension. One slip, one mistake, and all those years of practices have gone for naught. When you walk into the arena you can barely breathe. Everyone is focused on this one person. When you watch on TV, their moves are graceful and beautiful. But you have no idea how fast they are really moving, and what it takes to accomplish every one of those moves.