Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Saturday 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.
When the Rams moved to L.A., it’s safe to say that almost no one predicted a Super Bowl experience so soon. They were a horrible team led by a coach whose play calling was similar to the plays we would call when playing that vibrating electric football game when we were kids.
Now here we are, a day away for the L.A. Rams playing in the Super Bowl for only the second time, and the first time in 39 years.
However, this team was built on the back of a lot of one-year contracts. After this season, and the season after, the Rams will have to make a lot of decisions on who to keep and who to let go.
So this is the year. A one-year window to win it all. Dylan Hernandez takes a look at the situation here.
When Rams owner Stan Kroenke said he was hopeful of bringing a Super Bowl to Los Angeles, many fans might have thought he was referring to his new Inglewood Stadium being awarded the game. Instead, three years after moving from St. Louis -- and before even that new stadium was complete -- the Rams are in the Super Bowl, one step away from a title. A look at the owner who got the job done.
For all of our Super Bowl coverage, click here.
Super Bowl podcast
This week, the “Arrive Early, Leave Late” podcast goes behind the scenes at Super Bowl LIII with the Los Angeles Times reporters who will be covering Sunday’s game between the Rams and the New England Patriots.
Rams beat writer Gary Klein has been with the team all season, from when there were just a handful of reporters with the team on a daily basis to now, when there’s “literally thousands of others that are here to cover” the biggest game of the year. He talks about what it’s like reporting from such an environment and how the Rams players and 33-year-old coach Sean McVay are dealing with all of it.
You can listen to the podcast here.
When is the Super Bowl?
It will be on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Who will win?
Who will win the Super Bowl? Click here to vote. We’ll announce the results on game day.
LeBron James felt a good kind of pain Thursday night, the normal pain an athlete feels after playing 40 minutes in an NBA game.
“I wasn’t positive every day throughout this whole process,” James said of his rehab from a groin injury. “I probably had more negative moments personally than positive but when you’ve got a great support staff, it helps out a lot.
“There was times when I felt great and then a day or two later I didn’t feel so good. There were times when I thought I could come back faster and be back quicker than I came back now but it just wasn’t reacting the right way. So I just had to be patient.
“You gotta understand, I’ve never been injured before like that. The most I’ve ever sat out was two weeks. I broke my wrist when I was in high school as a junior.
“I love clothes. I love suits. But I didn’t come here to put on a suit every day. I come here to put on a jersey and some shorts. That’s what I came here to do -- and lead a team the best way I know how.”
Read more, including what James’ teammates have to say about him, in this story by Tania Ganguli.
Coming off a 5-7 season, the hits keep coming for Clay Helton and USC. Last week, the Trojans lost their only five-star recruit, Bru McCoy. The father of USC receiver Amon-ra St. Brown says he told his son to transfer. The father of Chris Steele, a one-time USC commit, says Helton is a nice guy but maybe not cut out to be a head coach. J. Brady McCollough examines how big a problem USC has involving recruiting.
This date in sports history
1949: Golfer Ben Hogan is seriously injured in an auto accident.
1959: Vince Lombardi signs a five-year deal to coach the Green Bay Packers.
1964: Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Tim Keefe, Heinie Manush, John Montgomery Ward and Miller Huggins are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1969: Stan Coveleski and Waite Hoyt are voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1970: Pete Maravich becomes the first college basketball player to score 3,000 points in a season.
1972: Lefty Gomez, Ross Youngs and William Harridge are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1975: Dorothy Hamill wins the women’s U.S. figure skating championship.
1976: Roger Connor, Fred Lindstrom and umpire Cal Hubbard are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1985: Brian Boitano wins the men’s U.S. figure skating championship.
Notable births on this date
1895: Pro Football Hall of Famer George Halas.
1919: Baseball star Allie Reynolds.
1923: Baseball star Red Schoendienst.
Notable deaths on this date
1918: Heavyweight boxing champion John L Sullivan at age 59.