Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Monday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.
Let’s get to it.
Wow. What a great day of football. Two overtime conference championship games. Let’s start with the Rams-Saints.
When New Orleans took a 13-0 lead, I thought “Oh no, here we go again.” But the Rams did it. Gutsy play-calling (A fake punt?) and team effort. Rams win, 26-23, in overtime. But let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the bad call on the pass interference.
Yes, it was a bad call. It was obviously pass interference. I would be upset too if I was a Saints fan. But, the Saints still took the lead. All they had to do was stop the Rams. They didn’t. The fell for the fake punt. They had the ball first in overtime.There were multiple opportunities for the Saints to win the game. So while I understand the frustration, you can’t pin the entire blame on the bad call.
Who would have guessed 39 years ago, when the Rams were playing the Steelers in the Super Bowl, that it would take all this time for them to make it again, including a period where they skipped town and won a Super Bowl in another city.
And by the way, Greg Zuerlein, if you are reading this, let me just say that if I wasn’t already married…..
Now go read all the excellent Rams coverage we have.
For the game story, click here.
For Bill Plaschke’s column, click here.
For Sam Farmer’s column, click here.
For a photo gallery from the game, click here.
To relive our live game coverage, click here.
For all of our Rams coverage, click here.
And in the Super Bowl, the Rams get to play…. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 37-31. And this brings me to a problem with the NFL.
The most dynamic young quarterback in the league, Patrick Mahomes, didn’t even get off the bench in overtime. The Patriots won the toss, elected to receive and marched down field for the touchdown. Game over, Mahomes never touches the ball. Is that really the best way to decide who should win the game? It comes down, in effect, to calling the coin flip correctly. That needs to change.
So, it will be the veteran vs. the kid in the Super Bowl. Brady vs. Jared Goff.
How exciting is the game expected to be? The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas established the Rams on one-point favorites. So much money came in on New England, that minutes later they were one-point favorites.
By the way, wouldn’t it be great to attend a game with Tony Romo? His voice is a little annoying on the CBS telecast, but he knows what’s going to happen before anyone else. I have got to go buy a lottery ticket with him.
When is the Super Bowl?
It will be on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Who will win?
The last polls we did were successful, so let’s do it again. Who will win the Super Bowl? Click here to vote. We’ll announce the results on game day.
The Lakers got some bad news Sunday when they learned that Lonzo Ball will be out at least four weeks because of a torn ligament in his left ankle.
Ball had become a key contributor as the main ball-handler in the absence of the also injured LeBron James and Rajon Rondo.
“It’s just another moment for us to get stronger,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Another moment for other people to continue to step up. Zo is really finding himself a nice rhythm. We’ll miss that and the continuity but we’ll keep our heads up and keep grinding.”
The Clippers played Sunday, but was anyone paying attention? They defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 103-95, ending a five-game losing streak.
The Clippers won despite missing two of their top scorers, Danilo Gallinari (back spasms) and Lou Williams (sore right hamstring).
“It was a big game for us,” coach Doc Rivers said. “And we knew it was going to be a hard game. Even if we have everybody, it’s a hard game to win here. But we needed it. You can’t ever explain it. That’s why you lace them up. Obviously if you looked at it before the game, there were not a lot of people saying we were going to win this game. But the guys in there believed that and that’s all that counts.”
Who’s ready for a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. rematch? Stop yawning, we may get it.
Mayweather pretends he doesn’t care when asked about it, even when asked about it after Pacquiao challenged him after his victory over Adrien Broner on Saturday. But Lance Pugmire isn’t buying it, writing,
“Yet, the fire to continue to prove that there’s no one better still burns. It’s why he just so happened to run into Pacquiao in Japan last year, again at a Clippers game earlier this month, and lastly, at Saturday’s fight when the co-promoter could’ve observed from afar just as he did during fight-week events.
Nope, instead he appeared, building the anticipation for a second meeting with Pacquiao, 40, who was weakened by a torn right rotator cuff when Mayweather defeated him by unanimous decision in 2015.”
Mayweather is 42, Pacquiao is 40. Winner gets Oscar De La Hoya, 45. The winner of that gets George Foreman, 70.
This date in sports history
1922: The first slalom ski race is run, in Murren, Switzerland.
1951: Babe Didrikson-Zaharias wins the LPGA Tampa Women’s Open.
1967: Peggy Fleming wins the U.S. women’s figure skating title.
1979: Pittsburgh defeats Dallas, 35-31, in Super Bowl XIII.
1984: Scott Hamilton wins the U.S. men’s figure skating title.
1990: John McEnroe is kicked out of the Australian Open after swearing at an official.
1940: Golfer Jack Nicklaus
1963: NBA star Detlef Schrempf
1963: NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon
1991: Football star Red Grange, 87
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