5 Things I’ve Learned From Closely Following The Rams

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bobby wagner dallas cowboys

By Darren Cooper

Being a Los Angeles Rams fan isn’t always easy, but there’s nothing better.

I know last season was a disappointment, I mean, 5-12? Everything that went so right in 2021 seemed to go wrong in 2022.

And now they’re talking about rebuilding or ‘pulling back’? That’s an unfortunate part of fandom these days, one I personally think is unnecessary, but to make the blockbuster, you must make a few flops.

Before this Rams 2023 season begins with the NFL Draft next month and then training camp, and then pre-season games that we swear we won’t watch but we do let’s remind ourselves of all the reasons why being a fan of the Los Angeles Rams is the best thing going.

The Rams ARE The NFL

You can’t tell the story of the National Football League without the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are where legendary NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle got his start as a Public Relations flack. The Rams are the home of the Fearsome Foursome, the greatest defensive line ever assembled. The Rams are where Eric Dickerson ran for 2,105 yards, where Kurt Warner became a real-life movie (the movie is OK).

The Rams have made it to the Super Bowl five times, winning two. Some say the Rams first win over Tennessee in 2000 is the most exciting Super Bowl ever. It was the first Super Bowl to come down to the final play. You know it’s a good play when it has not one, but two famous nicknames “The Tackle” or “One Yard Short.”

Of course, the Rams were in St. Louis then. But that’s another part of being in the NFL.

The Story of the Rams Is The Story of America

The Rams original home was in Cleveland, a long time ago. They moved out to LA (the first time) because a new football league was taking over in Cleveland (the All-American Football Conference). Back then the Rams had a star quarterback, Bob Waterfield, who was literally married to the Kim Kardashian of the day. He was box office (so was she).

The Rams were the first true professional franchise in LA in 1947 (the Angels were here first, but they were triple-A baseball back then), playing in LA Memorial Coliseum. They had the first black player of the modern NFL.

Back then America was about big cities, and LA meant Hollywood, a mythical land of sunshine, glitz and glamour. Then came the 80s, America started leaving the cities and going to the suburbs.

So did the Rams, to Anaheim.

Like America, the Rams realized suburb life could get, well, boring, so they packed up and went to St. Louis where the buzzword was Revitalization.

After 21 years there, and a Super Bowl title, the Rams went back to LA in 2016. Sure, they did it for the money, but also because it was their roots.

Sounds like America to me.

The Rams Are Style

Without the Rams there are no color rush jerseys or loud colors on uniforms or logos.

The Rams are the first team – as the legend goes – to put a logo on their helmet when Ram Fred Gehrke (an art student) painted Ram horns on the helmet in 1947. The horns back then curled around the ear hole (a trait that has been unfortunately lost over the years).

Up to then, no pro football team had such distinguishing characteristics. Now they all do. 

When you see the circled G, you know it’s the Packers, tiger stripes are the Bengals, the Eagles have literal wings on their helmets, the lightning bolt means the Chargers, the star? That means the Cowboys.

People get their favorite team logos tattooed on them, we wear them on our hats, shirts and pants. It’s an identifying market that talks about our identity. The Rams official colors are “Rams Royal” and “Sol” which are stupid marketing terms. The Rams are bright blue and bright yellow. They’re us.

Every time any team does a jersey reveal, just know that none of that is possible without the Rams. 

The Rams Are Cool 

The landscape of professional sports in Los Angeles is way more crowded than it was when the Rams moved here in 1946. The Lakers had Showtime, the Dodgers had Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully. The Kings had Gretzky.

The Clippers are…here too.

The Rams are a link to the past of Los Angeles. They haven’t maintained the same level of success of the Lakers, but that’s because football is a different entity. It’s hard to maintain championship level play in the NFL.

But what’s never changed is the Rams mystique. Something about the Rams has always been Cool. Maybe it’s because of Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Bob Waterfield…and Pat Haden and Eric Dickerson.  

The Rams of this era are marked by the NFL’s first coach who exudes cool. When writers talk about how young Sean McVay was (and is) that’s what they mean. He doesn’t get hung up on the past, he cares about his players at a personal level, he devises smart game plans that take advantage of the rules in the NFL.

Aaron Donald is cool because of his excellence, his unmatched quick hands and feet and strength. Cooper Kupp is a superior athlete who has made the most of every opportunity. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is the gun-for-hire, brought in to lead this band to a championship. He delivered in 2022.

And it was all so cool. No one thinks the Cleveland Browns are cool, or the Arizona Cardinals or the Indianapolis Colts. When’s the last time anyone made a movie about the Detroit Lions? (Answer: Paper Lion in 1968).

Sure, those teams have devoted fans, but being a Rams fan is different. They may disappoint us at times, but there’s nothing that compares to the Los Angeles Rams.

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