As I sat down to write this piece I noticed that the NFL has just released the schedule for next season. Like any die hard fan the first thing I did was check my Rams’ upcoming games. Huge sigh of relief. Beside a Week 2 grudge match with the Saints and dates with the Steelers & Ravens this would appear to be one of the easiest schedules in the NFC. 12-4 at least, Grandkids. Mark my words.
I’ve lived in LA since escaping the doldrums of St. Louis (Misery...er...Missouri) 13 years ago. Before moving to Heaven on Earth I’d spent 17 years there trying, in vain, not to transform into another besotted mouth breather.
In STL you inevitably learn to fall in with the 5 Bs: Baseball, Blues Hockey, Budweiser, Brats & Big Ass Fat People. The Cardinals & their Busch Overlords are King and always will be.
Even after the LA Rams moved to town in 1994 and soon won us a miracle Super Bowl title with Kurt Warner (plus the one the Pats stole from us a year later), 11 World Series titles continued to be the bar our NFL team had to clear to capture the hearts and minds of my Gateway City contemporaries. Nothing less would do. Translation: St. Louis is a baseball town.
Despite the impossibly high bar, I still became a devoted Rams fan and stuck by them even after the foolishly traded away Warner and disintegrated into the trash team they remained for the rest of their tenure in St. Lou. When I moved to LA I continued pulling for them. I even took it on the chin and likely damaged multiple friendships celebrating the Rams seemingly unpopular return to LA - not merely due to my undying love for them, but also because I knew how little the STL folks actually cared about them. Ever since I have rooted for them with an almost religious fervor and have attended multiple home games every year.
While I surely am critical of the way St. Louis has poured salt all over the Rams since they fled the Midwest, I do understand why the rest of the country hates LA. It’s not just because we have the best weather, hottest women & choicest beaches - it’s because everyone who lives here is unabashedly Bandwagon when it comes to sports.
There are multiple reasons for this but let’s cut to the root of it and spare us all the power point presentation: LA is a city of transplants. My neighbors have moved from Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo, Portland, Seattle, Dallas & Denver. Hardly anyone was born here and even those native Angelenos I know are quick to cease caring the second one of our local teams stops producing a successful & entertaining product. Also let’s face it: with two football teams, two baseball teams, two basketball teams, two hockey teams, two soccer teams, two competitive college football teams and a thriving film/music scene why would anyone get too hung up on any one avenue? There are at least 10-20 Bandwagons rolling at all times! It's just a way of life out here.
That said, the Rams have begun to capture the city’s attention over the past couple of years. Funny how winning does that. While this has not necessarily translated in massive fan turnout yet, their slugfest Super Bowl loss to the Evil Empire has surely bred goodwill in the community and positively affected season ticket sales for their new, pristine stadium, due to open in 2020. Also the off-season acquisition of So Cal stalwarts and household names Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews has bolstered confidence that the Rams are not resting on their laurels, but continuing to build a championship caliber team without wasting the big bucks they need to save for re-signing Jarod Goff when his rookie contract expires next year.
All this, plus Tiger Effing Woods just won The Masters and everyone is all over it.. The Rams may have been humbled by the Patriots and their band of Masshole fans. They may have been maligned in NOLA and the press for a blown PI call. They may have more visiting team fans than home team fans at every game next year. But damnit - Eldrick 'Fused Back' Woods is the King of Golf again. And America is all on that Bandwagon together. So, welcome to the LA way of thinking people. The Rams are here to stay.
Rams Win The Super Bowl Next Year.
Congrats Big Cat!!
Tucker Booth is our Blitzed Entertainment correspondent and a huge Rams fan. He's also an accomplished musician. You can check out some of his music here.