The Los Angeles Rams will have a weird history when we look back. It's like the kid who dreams every day of his divorced parents getting back together, and they finally do ... 22 years later.
It stinks for St. Louis to lose the Rams, but they were Los Angeles' team long before Georgia Frontiere orchestrated a move. And yes, the Rams were Cleveland's team before that, but hopefully nobody is still holding onto the anger from that 1946 move from Cleveland to L.A.
Everything comes full circle, even the Rams spending a few years in the same Los Angeles Coliseum they called home from 1946-79. Presumably it was only slightly less run down then. The Rams had 48 years of beautiful tradition from Norm Van Brocklin to Jerome Bettis, which kind of got lost when they moved to Anaheim in 1980 and played bad football in their final few seasons there. Ice Cube never was going to produce a Los Angeles Rams documentary.
But there are some things to celebrate as the Rams move back to Los Angeles. Everything old is new again.
10. "Ram It"
This will serve as the soundtrack for this post. It came from a glorious time in the 1980s when sports teams thought it was cool to make music videos. Worth it for the Jackie Slater (No. 78) saxophone part and Nolan Cromwell (No. 21) trying to dance. You'll be singing the chorus all day.
9. Jack Youngblood's broken leg
The most mythologized instance of an NFL player playing through an injury might be Rams defensive end Jack Youngblood playing through the 1979 playoffs with a broken fibula. He didn't even miss a defensive snap in the NFC championship game or Super Bowl XIV. He broke his leg in the divisional round against Dallas and had to argue with the trainers to tape it up and get back on the field.
"I said, 'You need to tape this thing up,'" Youngblood told NFL Films. "He goes, 'I'm not going to do that.' I said, 'You're gonna do this.' He gets the pictures back about that time, he says, 'See here? It's broke.' I go, 'I understand that. Tape it up. I can still go play.'"
Yeah, that's tough.
8. Dick "Night Train" Lane
Not many NFL records last more than 60 years, but Dick "Night Train" Lane's 14 interceptions (as a rookie!) in 1952 with the Los Angeles Rams still stands up as the single-season record. Nobody this century has more than 10 in a season.
7. Joe Namath
OK, fine, Namath playing out the string with the Rams isn't all that cool. But hey, it happened and gets referenced any time we're talking about a player ending up in a strange uniform in his last, sad season.
Led by that Youngblood guy playing with a broken leg, putting the team on his back, the 1979 Rams had a totally unexpected run to Super Bowl XIV. And with quarterback Vince Ferragamo, the Rams actually led the great Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter before Terry Bradshaw and John Stallworth broke their hearts.
5. The "almost" franchise
Before they played out their final sad days in Anaheim Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium that was awful for baseball and football, hoping T.J. Rubley or Chris Miller was their future at quarterback, the Los Angeles Rams regularly contended for Super Bowls. They just didn't win any.
In 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1978 the Rams lost in the NFC championship game. They lost in Super Bowl XIV. They lost in the 1985 and 1989 NFC championship games too.
So those teams through the 1970s and 1980s, with some fantastic players like Slater, Eric Dickerson, Henry Ellard, Tom Mack, Youngblood, Willie "Flipper" Anderson, Jim Everett (you just thought about that Jim Rome appearance), Tom Newberry, Cromwell, Lawrence McCutcheon, Kevin Greene and Pat Haden had some really good days. Just no Lombardi Trophies in Los Angeles.
I'm giving the Los Angeles Rams two options for their uniforms upon their Los Angeles return, and neither are the lame blue and gold ones they adopted in St. Louis.
We can either go with the Los Angeles Rams' late-model yellow and blue (which I do enjoy tremendously):
Or, even better, the plain blue and whites of the 1960s and early 1970s.
That would instantly be one of the best looks in the league.
3. Eric Dickerson
There are people who say that Dickerson is their favorite running back of all time, and I get that. He was a big back who just glided downfield once he got into the secondary. In his first four years with the Rams he won three rushing titles, with seasons that still rank as the first, 18th and 21st best rushing seasons of all time. His 2,105 yards in 1984 are still the NFL season record. But stats don't even do it justice. You had to watch Dickerson's incredible skill set to understand.
Dickerson was fired up on Tuesday night when the relocation news became official.
2. Fearsome Foursome
Deacon Jones. Merlin Olsen. Lamar Lundy. Rosey Grier. The greatest defensive line in NFL history.
1. 1951 champions
Championships actually counted before Super Bowl I, and the Rams have one. The Rams beat the Browns 24-17 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in the 1951 championship game. They did so with one of the most exciting teams in NFL history.
The Rams in 1951 actually had two quarterbacks make the Pro Bowl: Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield. That will probably never happen again. Both quarterbacks ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On one day in 1951 when Waterfield was hurt, Van Brocklin threw for 554 yards, a record that still hasn't been broken. That team also had Hall of Famers Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch and Tom Fears, All-Pro Tank Younger and former Heisman Trophy winner Glenn Davis. It wasn't just the 1951 team; that era was pretty exciting for the Rams. The 1950 team still holds the NFL record with more than 38 points per game.
Many people forget this, but the Rams were the first professional sports team in Southern California and the glamorous team set attendance records, including a then-regular season record 102,368 fans for a game against the San Francisco 49ers in 1957. That record stood for almost 50 years. The NFL hopes the Rams' success at the box office repeats itself in this time around in Los Angeles.
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