The Morning Column: January 12, 2022
The College Football Playoff National Championship will be played at SoFi Stadium next year, just 11 months after it will host Super Bowl LVI this February.
Good morning on a beautiful Wednesday and welcome to The Morning Column. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so. It will be delivered to you every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To avoid the email ending up in your spam folder, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts. You can also email me there as well. I would love to hear from you.
1. There are a couple obligations the winning team has after the College Football Playoff National Championship is played on Monday night. The winning quarterback is scheduled to appear on Good Morning America around 7 a.m. ET the next day, which is usually about five hours after he has left the stadium (and maybe about five minutes after his last adult beverage if the postgame party goes into the morning), and the winning coach, quarterback and defensive player of the game attend a press conference at the media hotel around 9 a.m. ET.
I understand the need to have these appearances and get national exposure for the game and winning team, but can we let them get a few hours of sleep? Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett didn’t get back to the team hotel until around 2 a.m. after the national championship game and was no doubt celebrating the biggest moment of his life with friends, family and teammates before he sat down for an interview with Michael Strahan, Robin Roberts and Good Morning America. Let’s just say his lack of sleep was apparent.
The national championship game will be played at SoFi Stadium next year, just 11 months after it will host Super Bowl LVI this February. Here’s hoping the winning quarterback will be able to be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! after the game instead of having to do a 4 a.m. live hit with Good Morning America in Los Angeles.
2. Super Bowl LVI next month at SoFi Stadium will begin an impressive run of big sports events scheduled to take place in Los Angeles. With Super Bowl LVI, the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship, 2022 MLB All-Star Game, 123rd U.S. Open Championship, 2026 U.S. Women’s Open, 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Olympic & Paralympic Games all slated to take place in L.A.
There was some talk of the NFL possibly moving the Super Bowl out of Los Angeles because of the current COVID-19 surge, which caused the Grammy Awards, scheduled to take place Jan. 31 at Crypto.com Arena, to be postponed and USC and UCLA indoor athletic competitions to be closed off to the general public this month. The NFL, however, is committed to playing Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium and will affirm that commitment during a Thursday media event at SoFi Stadium to commemorate the 30-day countdown to Super Bowl LVI.
The event will be attended by and include remarks from Katie Keenan, NFL Senior Director of Event Operations, Adam Burke, President & CEO at Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Kathryn Schloessman, President & CEO at Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, Jason Gannon, Managing Director at SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, Kevin Demoff, Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Rams and A.G. Spanos, President of Business Operations of the Los Angeles Chargers.
3. It has been a roller coaster 24 hours for Clippers fans. After watching their team comeback from 25 points down with less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter on Tuesday to beat the Denver Nuggets, they woke up to a report Wednesday that Paul George, rehabbing from a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and Kawhi Leonard, rehabbing from a torn ACL, would be shut down for the season, according to Bleacher Report. Through 42 games this season, the Clippers are 21-21 despite missing Leonard for all 42 games, George for 16 games, Marcus Morris Sr. for 21 games, Nicolas Batum for 19 games and Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson and Ivica Zubac for multiple games.
There’s a drop off in the Western Conference after the top four teams and the Clippers are just two games out of the No. 5 seed despite all their injuries. There was some hope if they could get into the playoffs as a No. 5 or No. 6 seed with a healthy team and face Utah or Memphis in the first round, they could go on a run. The Clippers have yet to officially rule out Leonard or George for the season but what they do at the NBA trade deadline next month may be the best indication if they expect their stars to comeback this season or if they are already planning for next season.
4. The Los Angeles Rams have added safety Eric Weddle, who came out of retirement on Wednesday after the team lost Jordan Fuller to a season-ending injury.
How long has it been since Weddle suited up for an NFL game? Well, we were still living in a pre-pandemic world, the Rams were playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the team was sporting the most mismatched unform in the NFL.
5. USC and Baylor, the last two undefeated teams in college basketball, both lost on Tuesday with Baylor falling to Texas Tech and USC losing to Stanford. USC was 13-0 and No. 5 in the polls, the Trojans’ best ranking since 1974. USC wasn’t going to finish the season undefeated so a loss at this point in the season isn’t the worst thing in the world. The true test for how good USC is this season likely won’t be answered until next month when the Trojans are scheduled to play No. 6 Arizona Feb. 5 and No. 3 UCLA Feb. 12.
6. And some personal news: It’s an exciting day for me and the crew at The Mightier 1090 as Southern California’s long-time sports leader becomes ESPN’s newest affiliate radio stadium today and will be known as The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio. The 77,000-watt flame thrower, which can be heard “From Baja to the Canadian Rockies” as Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton used to famously say when he was on 1090, will now add ESPN Radio’s live NFL, MLB and NBA broadcasts, including Sunday Night Baseball, will also add some of ESPN’s top-rated talk shows.
“Featuring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Max Kellerman, Keyshawn, JWill and Max will air daily from 3-7 a.m. PT, and #Greeny, with Mike Greenberg, will follow from 7-9 a.m. PT,” according to the press release. “They’ll join a potent lineup at The Mightier 1090 that includes The Rich Eisen Show, Scott Kaplan’s Kaplan & Crew Show, The Arash Markazi Show and additional local and national shows.”
Scott McCarthy, vice president, ESPN Audio, said, “We’re thrilled to have The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio join our affiliate network in a key Southern California market and provide fans with our can’t-miss national morning studio show lineup as well as a marquee live event schedule throughout the year.”
The move sets up 1090 owner Bill Hagen to go after the San Diego Padres and return them to the radio station that was their home for 16 years.
“This is something we’ve been working on for a long time, and it’s incredibly satisfying to finally see it come to fruition just in time for the start of the new year,” Hagen said. “This is another very important step in us getting the Padres back home on 1090 as well.”
7. Here are some odds if you’re thinking about placing a wager today brought to you by Circa Sports.
8. Here’s the local pro sports schedule today brought to you by Yaamava’.
7:00 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings – Spectrum SportsNet
9. Here are the “get in” prices for tickets locally on TickPick if you’re thinking about going to a pro sports game on Thursday.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings – $18
10. On Tuesday’s The Arash Markazi Show, we talked Georgia beating Alabama to win the College Football Playoff National Championship and the Rams preparing to play the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California following The Rich Eisen Show and on 98.5 The Fan in Las Vegas following The Jim Rome Show. The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio has one of the strongest radio signals in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies” and 98.5 The Fan is the home of college football and the Los Angeles Chargers in Las Vegas. You can listen to The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio anywhere with your free TuneIn app or ask your smart speaker to “Play The Mightier 1090.” You can listen to 98.5 The Fan anywhere with your free Audacy app or ask your smart speaker to “Play The Fan Las Vegas.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and the BLEAV Podcast Network.
And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc Stein, Henry Abbott, Chad Ford and Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight and Joe Posnanski on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer and Chris Peters on the NHL.
That’s it for today. Talk to you on Friday.