I can’t help them win.
It’s my job, though, to try. I put the Goff jersey on at the start of the game and change to Gurley at halftime. I scream at the coach, will the defenders to tackle. I pace the floor, never sitting still for a second, and only grab beers during commercial breaks. It usually works. It has 11 times this year.
My wife helps. She cuddles with the dogs, talks to the players, and asks – a lot – why Coach McVay doesn’t run Todd Gurley more. I wonder that, too. Yesterday I asked that early in the game, through much of the second half, and afterwards while I stared at the ceiling in bed.
It hurts, to lose. I don’t like it. For much of my tenure as a fan we have lost. In fact, since I started watching virtually every Rams game possible in 1985 the Rams have won 228 and lost 298 regular season games. They’ve won 9 playoff games and one Super Bowl in that time. Those were cool. But they’ve also lost 9 playoff games in that time, despite my efforts, and those really hurt.
Probably not my fault, though.
I love the Rams. I’ve been a fan of the team, nominally, since the late 70’s and have now been following their weekly exploits religiously for 33 years. Ever since I saw Eric Dickerson on the front cover of the TV Guide that year. The article inside said he was the most explosive back in football. Not the best. The best was Walter Payton. But Eric Dickerson was the most dangerous. A threat to score on any play. I said, “that sounds fun, I gotta check that out.” I did. I’ve watched ever since.
In 1985, the Rams went to the playoffs, so that helped. They shut out the Cowboys in the divisional round and then got shut out by the Bears in the conference championship. Yeah, it was that Bears team. With that defense that everyone still compares defenses to 33 years later. Our quarterback was Dieter Brock, the diminutive former Canadian Football League star. He only played one year in the NFL, and was supplanted as the QB of the Rams the next year by Jim Everett. Jim Everett threw the most touchdowns in the NFL over the three-year span from 1987-1989. Our first great offense.
After a terrible 90’s our second great offense won the Super Bowl. The Greatest Show on Turf. Kurt Warner. Marshall Faulk. Isaac Bruce. Torry Holt. Remember Az-Zahir Hakim? Good times. Fun times.
I followed the team from Los Angeles to St Louis (spiritually speaking) and back to Los Angeles again. I’m a diehard kind of fan.
And now, the Rams are 11-2 and will be in the playoffs. They had homefield advantage all sewn up this year and all they had to do was beat the Bears, the Eagles, the Cardinals and the Niners. Win out. They controlled their own destiny, as they say. I controlled mine, too. I waited all day, watched the clock, donned my Goff, poured a beer, and paced. I changed to Gurley at halftime. In the second half I screamed at the TV. A lot. I called better plays than the coach did. It didn’t matter. The Rams lost to the Bears.
It was ugly.
But don’t blame me. It wasn’t my fault.
Now it’s Monday. I’m drinking coffee, writing. I have a beer headache that will subside by the time I get to work. I work 5-straight this week, since I flipped my Thursday with Saturday so I can go with my pals to Santa Crawl this weekend. My fourth consecutive one. That will be fun.
The game is behind me. I can’t do a thing for the Rams until next Sunday now, where I will try to will them to victory against the Eagles on Sunday night. We could get a first round bye. We could host a playoff game. Who’s we, anyway?
The Rams are on their own. I’m just a fan.
I can’t help them win.