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The Super Bowl Report: Welcome back to L.A., Super Bowl

Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Bill Plaschke on the Rams: Hey, Super Bowl! Welcome home.

Hey, you big kooky lug of a rollicking national celebration disguised as a football game!

Great to have you back.

You were born in Los Angeles. You grew up here. You never should have left here. You belong here.

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You spent seven different occasions here, some Coliseum, some Rose Bowl, always Hollywood. It was here you set a record for attendance. It was here you watched New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms become the first person to shout, “I’m Going To Disney World.” And, yeah, of course it was here that a halftime show was performed by Michael Jackson.

Welcome, welcome. Come on in. We know it’s different now. We understand. But put away those $10,000 tickets and gold-plated party passes for a sec and make yourself comfortable. We super missed you.

You were created at the Coliseum 55 years ago, two years before you were actually named the Super Bowl, long before the Twitter world would have obliterated those two fellas flying around that first game wearing jetpacks.

We were the first to want you. We were the first to love you, even if there were about 30,000 empty seats at your debut between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. We gave you the best football weather we can summon, 59 degrees and clear. You gave us halftime with Al Hirt. We didn’t complain.

You came back six years later when the Miami Dolphins were storming around the same Coliseum field celebrating the last unbeaten season in the NFL. You then moved up the road to the Rose Bowl five times in the next 17 years, in games featuring such iconic moments as John Madden stalking the sidelines, John Riggins storming down the field, the first nationally celebrated postgame Gatorade bath and a messy-haired Jimmy Johnson shouting, “How ‘bout them Cowboys!”

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Before SoFi Stadium: Renderings of what might have been for the NFL in L.A.

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SUPER BOWL POLLS

Two Super Bowl polls for you to vote in: Which team will win, and who will be named the game’s MVP? Click here to vote. Results will be announced on Super Bowl Sunday.

WHOSE HOUSE?

Bill Plaschke on the Rams: He shouts the question whose reply has united a fan base, echoed through a city, a soundtrack of hope.

At every Rams home game, public address announcer Sam Lagana has asked, and thousands have answered.

“Whose house?” he screams.

“Rams’ house!” they scream.

All of which could make the atmosphere at Super Bowl LVI seem, well, muted.

When the Rams play the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, the biggest voice in the biggest game in franchise history will not have a microphone.

In an understandable effort to create a neutral site in this unique environment — the Rams are only the second team in 56 years to play a Super Bowl on their home field — the league is eliminating some of the Rams’ game-day rituals, and Lagana’s specialty will be one of them.

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He will not be the public address announcer. He’ll be watching from the stands. His question might be shouted once before the game, but it probably will be on tape. If he wants to ensure that he can shout it live, he’ll have to stand up in his section and do it right there.

Which, by the way, he says he’ll do. In a heartbeat. Of course he will.

“I’m sure I’ll be shouting, ‘Whose house’ from my seat at some point,” Lagana said. “I’m going to be too pumped up!”

And whoever is sitting around him will surely answer, whether they are diehard Rams fans or not, because that is what Los Angeles does.

PRO BOWL RESULTS

No one cares.

THIRSTY FOR MORE?

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky out-of-towners who scored a ticket to the Super Bowl — or maybe you’re a local looking for some new hangouts. Whatever brings you to the vicinity of SoFi Stadium, you’ll be able to find your drink of choice. Here’s a list of must-try tap rooms, coffeehouses and wine and tea bars.

SUPER BOWL: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Super Bowl Sunday
Feb. 13
at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood

Rams vs. Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m. PT, Rams favored by 4 1/2 points

TV: NBC and Telemundo.
Radio: Westwood One radio (AM 570 in Los Angeles), SiriusXM NFL Radio, NFL GamePass.
Streaming: NFL app (iOS, Android), Peacock app (iOS, Android), Telemundo app (iOS, Android), Yahoo Sports

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To buy tickets (after mortgaging your house to afford them): Ticketmaster, OnLocation, HOFExperiences, VividSeats, SeatGeek

Halftime show: Recording artists Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar are scheduled to perform in the Super Bowl halftime show. The NFL has yet to announce who will sing the national anthem before the game.

Coronavirus guidelines if you attend: Under Los Angeles County’s coronavirus health and safety guidelines, all fans in attendance must be vaccinated. Fans attending the game will be required to wear masks and will be given KN95 masks. For further coronavirus rules and guidelines, click here.

BEST PRO FOOTBALL TEAM TOURNAMENT

Just for fun, over the next two weeks we will be running a tournament to determine the best Super Bowl/NFL/AFL champion of all time. The teams have been seeded 1-64 (using a combination of regular season record, regular season point differential and playoff point differential) and put into four regions, just like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Using the Second And Ten computer game, we will run the games to determine the best team of them all. Since there are only 55 Super Bowl winning teams, we chose nine teams from before the Super Bowl era to compete, all champions of either the NFL or the AFL. They are: 1950 Cleveland Browns, 1951 Los Angeles Rams, 1953 Detroit Lions, 1960 Philadelphia Eagles, 1961 Houston Oilers, 1962 Green Bay Packers, 1963 San Diego Chargers, 1963 Chicago Bears and the 1964 Buffalo Bills.

We continue with the second-round results from the Joe Montana Region:

No. 1 1984 San Francisco 49ers d. No. 8 1992 Dallas Cowboys, 44-19
Joe Montana threw for 303 yards and five touchdowns, three to Roger Craig.

No. 11 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers d. No. 3 2004 New England Patriots, 35-16
John Stallworth (two), Franco Harris (two) and Lynn Swann (one) all had touchdown catches in the easy win.

No. 13 1987 Washington Redskins d. No. 5 1964 Buffalo Bills, 33-21
Doug Williams passed for 340 yards and three touchdowns as the Redskins’ defense held Jack Kemp to 9-of-22 for 134 yards, with three interceptions.

No. 15 1967 Green Bay Packers d. No. 7 1996 Green Bay Packers, 27-17
The Bart Starr-led Packers raced out to a 17-0 lead against the Brett Favre-led Packers and held on from there.

Tomorrow: Second-round results from the John Madden Region. The teams:

No. 1 1976 Oakland Raiders vs. No. 9 1981 San Francisco 49ers
No. 2 2016 New England Patriots vs. No. 7 1999 St. Louis Rams
No. 3 1989 San Francisco 49ers vs. No. 6 1950 Cleveland Browns
No. 12 1995 Dallas Cowboys vs. No. 13 1983 Los Angeles Raiders

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOTBALL PLAYER?

I asked you to send me the name of you favorite football player and why, and I was deluged with answers. Answers will be printed starting today. Keep sending them in by emailing me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Include a couple of sentences explaining why that player is your favorite. It’s your chance to be read by the tens of thousands of people who subscribe.

Savannah Chalifoux: My favorite football player is the 49er quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. I like him because he is a good quarterback and also because is so good looking. I love his smile and his dimples.

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KJ in Pasadena: My favorite football player of all time is Troy Aikman. I went to UCLA with Aikman, and I have very fond memories of watching him play at the Rose Bowl on Saturdays. I followed his career with the Dallas Cowboys, hanging out in Santa Monica and Pasadena during Super Bowl XVIII week in 1993, hoping to get a glimpse of Aikman on his way to winning once again at the Rose Bowl. Of course I still tune in to most games he calls on Fox. His humor, candor, knowledge and stories he tells of his playing days are always so entertaining.

Joe Barr of Las Vegas: My favorite football player is “Mean” Joe Greene because he was featured in the greatest television commercial ever.

And finally

Highlights from Super Bowl XXV (Giants vs. Bills). Watch and listen here.

Highlights from Super Bowl XXVI (Redskins vs. Bills). Watch and listen here.

Highlights from Super Bowl XXVII (Cowboys vs. Bills). Watch and listen here.

Highlights from Super Bowl XXIV (Cowboys vs. Bills). Watch and listen here.

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Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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