Ah, right. The Super Bowl. Version 53.
One thought is to give you 53 links to stories you should read going into the one labeled LIII.
Such as: L.A. Times editorial writer David Ulin has made a case for why one shouldn’t watch. It can be compelling for those who struggle with the impact big-time sports has on society.
Now you shuffle the deck now and come up with the other 52 reasons, a bit more uplifting, to see if there’s a need to witness the Rams’ attempt to capture their first Los Angeles-based championship in the Super Bowl cycle of games.
Such as, if you really want to dumb down the Rams-New England Patriots matchup – Sunday, 3:20 p.m., Channel 2, with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo – there are plenty of outlets willing to help. Like, the Rams …
This Rams-Pats meetup actually circles back to some to Super Bowl XXXVI some 17 years ago, when Tom Brady led a 20-17 win over the Rams, then representing St. Louis, at the Louisiana Superdome. The last Super Bowl played in Atlanta was in 2000, when Kurt Warner (and Dick Vermeil) threw for 414 yards and led the Rams, just five years removed from Anaheim, over Tennessee (and Jeff Fisher) 23-16 for the franchise’s one and only title. The key play: A 73-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce with 1:54 left. The real key play: The Rams’ Mike Jones tackled Kevin Dyson inside the 1 as time expired.
Also this week: Pro Football Hall of Fame announcements included in the “NFL Honors” show (Saturday, 9 p.m., Channel 2)
The injury report is getting a bit stale for the Lakers:
LeBron James (strained left groin).
Lonzo Ball (sprained left ankle)
Kyle Kuzma (hip strain)
Lakers fans (bruised ego, left without excuses, not hip to seeing what they’ve been seeing).
The absence of James and Ball from the Lakers was painfully obvious against the Warriors at Staples Center on MLK Day. The Lakers (26-24) have dropped to No. 9 in the Western Conference, while the Warriors (35-14) are opening a lead at the top. James and Ball could still be in street clothes when the Lakers make a return national TV visit to Oakland to face the Warriors (at Oracle Arena, Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Channel 7).
There’s also the rematch against the Clippers at Staples Center on Thursday (7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, Spectrum SportsNet). The Clippers won the first encounter 118-107 on Dec. 28 behind Lou Williams’ 36 points. The Lakers didn’t have a field goal for more than six minutes during a Clippers’ run of 22 unanswered points during a second-half stretch. (The last two Lakers-Clippers encounters are March 4 and April 5).
Also this week for the Lakers:
* At Staples Center vs. Philadelphia, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., TNT
Also this week for the Clippers:
* At Staples Center vs. Atlanta, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
* At Detroit, Saturday at 2 p.m., Fox Sports West
* At Toronto, Sunday at noon, Prime Ticket
Kind of a waste for Johnny Miller to end his NBC broadcasting career at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.? He doesn’t think so. “I love being in Phoenix at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and TPC Scottsdale I know pretty darn well,” he said last week. “It was my call to step down in Phoenix. If it wasn’t going to be at Pebble Beach, next best thing for me is Arizona, especially Phoenix. I got a lot of my family coming and I’m looking forward to it.” Miller won this tournament in back-to-back years of 1974 and ’75. At an event with Tiger Woods in the field, and the craziness of the 16th hole, NBC didn’t want to make Miller’s farewell round compete with the Sunday finale, so they’ve got a tribute show to distribute among Saturday’s third-round play (Channel 2, noon to 3 p.m.).
Washington (16-4, 7-0) has revealed itself to be one of the few teams in the Pac 12 worthy of “also getting votes” in the weekly AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll. If the season ended today, the Huskies would likely be the only conference team guaranteed a spot in the Top 64 main bracket. They’ve won nine in a row and are 10-0 at home, but three of their four losses are to AP Top 25 teams (Gonzaga, Virginia Tech and Auburn), so …
UCLA (11-9, 4-3) and USC (12-8, 5-2) only get one shot at playing the Huskies in the regular season with a trip to Seattle this weekend. How it plays out:
* USC at Washington, 8 p.m., FS1
* UCLA at Washington State, 7 p.m., Pac 12 Network
* UCLA at Washington, 1 p.m., ESPN2
* USC at Washington State, 4 p.m., Pac 12 Network
Also in Southern California:
* Loyola Marymount (15-6, 3-4): Vs. Pacific, at Gersten Pavilion, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; at BYU, Saturday at 6 p.m.
* Pepperdine (10-11, 3-4): At Portland, Thursday at 7 p.m.; At Pacific, Saturday at 7 p.m.
* Long Beach State (8-13, 2-3): At Hawaii, Thursday at 9 p.m.; Vs. UC Irvine at Walter Pyramid, Saturday at 7 p.m.
* Cal State Northridge (9-12, 3-2): At Cal State Fullerton, Wednesday at 7 p.m., ESPN3; Vs. Cal Poly at the Madatome, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Also of national interest:
Monday: Duke at Notre Dame, 4 p.m., ESPN
Tuesday: Tennessee at South Carolina, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network; Virginia at North Carolina State, 4 p.m., ESPN2; Kansas at Texas, 4 p.m., ESPN; North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 4 p.m., ACC Network; Northwestern at Maryland, 4 p.m., FS1; Ohio State at Michigan, 6 p.m., ESPN2; Kentucky at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m., ESPN; Nevada at UNLV, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Wednesday: Marquette at Butler, 3:30 p.m., FS1; Mississippi at Florida, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network; Virginia Tech at Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2; Villanova at DePaul, 5 p.m., CBSSN; Louisville at Wake Forest, 5 p.m., ACC Network; Missouri at Auburn, 5:30 p.m., SEC Network; LSU at Texas A&M, 6 p.m., ESPN2; Air Force at San Diego State, 7 p.m.
Thursday: Temple at Houston, 4 p.m., ESPN2; Purdue at Penn State, 4 p.m., FS1; Xavier at Georgetown, 5 p.m., CBSSN; Oregon State at Colorado, 6 p.m., Pac 12 Net; Arizona at Arizona State, 6 p.m., ESPN2; Oregon at Utah, 6 p.m.; Gonzaga at BYU, 8 p.m., ESPN2; UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara, 8 p.m., ESPNU
Friday: Michigan at Iowa, 4 p.m., FS1; Yale at Harvard, 4 p.m., ESPNU; Buffalo at Bowling Green, 5 p.m., CBSSN; Maryland at Wisconsin, 6 p.m., FS1
Saturday: St. John’s at Duke, 9 a.m., ESPN; Virginia Tech at North Carolina State, 9 a.m., ACC Network; Miami at Virginia, 11 a.m., ACC Network; North Carolina at Louisville, 11 a.m., ESPN; Mississippi State at Mississippi, 12:30 p.m., SEC Network; Texas Tech at Kansas, 1 p.m., Channel 2; Oregon State at Utah, 2 p.m., Pac 12 Net; Indiana at Michigan State, 3 p.m., ESPN; Boise State at Nevada, 3 p.m., CBSSN; Tennessee at Texas A&M, 5 p.m., ESPN; San Diego at Gonzaga, 5 p.m.; Alabama at Auburn, 5 p.m., ESPN2; Oregon at Colorado, 6:30 p.m., Pac 12 Net
Sunday: Georgetown at Villanova, 9 a.m., FS1; Minnesota at Purdue, 9 a.m., Big Ten Net; Stanford at Cal, 1 p.m., ESPNU
The All Star break in San Jose is done, and we are almost as well with the rest of the NHL season until the playoffs. With that, the Kings take a long break before going on their Get-Out-Of-Staples-Center Grammy tour: Six road games over two weeks starting at the N.Y. Islanders at the old Nassau Coliseum (Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 13).
Also this week for the Ducks: A similar long road trip begins (five games through Feb. 9) starting at Winnipeg (Saturday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket)