agony of defeat

The Agony of Defeat

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.

Can I?

37 thoughts on “The Agony of Defeat

  1. We can throw as much magic, wishes and superstitions their way through the tv screen but if they refuse to take it and lose, we can’t do a darn thing about it. I tried some of the things you did yesterday for my team (Steelers) and they still lost. And just like you, I will have to wait until next Sunday to see if they can pick up on the magic juju I force through the electric waves at the game. I think that maybe yesterday’s juju went through to the wrong team, the Dolphins beat the Patriots (whom I despise) so maybe it wasn’t all bad, lol.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That was a hell of a finish in that Phins game, wow! 😮 It really was great day of football, despite the outcome of my game, and yours. 😥

      Gotta bounce back and come up with a better plan. Playoffs are coming!

      (can ya believe it?)


      1. No I can’t believe it, this season has gone by just like this year has, in a literal flash. Ugh I don’t foresee us (the Steelers) going to the playoffs. I think we’re pretty much done for the season.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. One of my best buddies is a huge Steelers fan (you know, the kind with the chest tattoo) and he’s saying the same thing. Another buddy, also a big fan, went to the game against the Raiders on Sunday and apologized to me for swearing off the Steelers this year and jumping on the Rams bandwagon (ostensibly causing them to lose, too).

        It’s a tough year in Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh ain’t used to that.

        That said, the Steelers still have a 71.3% chance to make the playoffs. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am much more of a fairweather fan than you, SIr. When my team sucks, I can’t be bothered to watch them. Too frustrating. That said, my team is DA BEARS – I think I told you before. Been waiting since ’85 for them to show up like they did Sunday. Unfortunately, I missed the damn game. Totally slipped my mind somehow. Anyway, good luck with the Rams this year. May we meet again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand the fairweather fan stuff, having spent most of my life as such with pro basketball and baseball (Lakers/Dodgers). Now, however, even success won’t bring me back to those games (just no damn time for all those obsessions). The Rams, however? I will watch every down of a 2-11 start just like I have an 11-2 start. Some obsessions are just in my blood.

      Congrats on your victory this weekend … those Bears are for real! And, as you saw, they played a major role in my developing obsession for football all those years ago. Walter Payton is still the best to ever play the game!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The 85 Bears had more character than any other team I can think of – though I‘m admittedly heavily biased. Anyway, I’m glad they were such an influence to your love of the gridiron. Payton was a great man AND a great player. RIP!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beating the Bears is tough. I mean, those things are big and have large claws and are just scary. Beating the Eagles should be easier. It’s kind of cruel to attack an endangered species but, hey, if things get too tough they can fly away. Same for the Cardinals.
    The Niners should be easiest of all. Numbers are pushovers. You know why 6 is scared of 7? Because 789.
    (Say it out loud.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Well, apparently those endangered bald birds are mightier than a horned ram. I couldn’t be more upset about it (until I read my post again and realize it really has nothing to do with me or my effort … thank god for me!). Hopefully we can squash some redbirds (which sounds terrible out loud).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loving your team is a funny thing but admirable. It’s about loyalty. Sticking with your team no matter what is rare.
    And don’t forget, my Pats player those Bears in the Bowl in 85. Now that was ugly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was ugly! But that Bears team, it could be argued, was the best ever. Only a fluke kept them from being undefeated. That said, I’ve decided the team I want to face MOST next week is the Bears. I think they’re the best team in the first round and I want to play the best. For this morning? Go Chargers!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Tom Being Tom

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