To my eye, there is not a football helmet quite like those of the Los Angeles Rams. Sure, the team now resides (or hides) in St. Louis, but for me they will always be the Los Angeles Rams. Staring at our old black and white TV as a kid, those helmets looked so cool. That was it. The Rams became and would always remain my favorite pro football team.
And, what teams they had. They have won one Super Bowl and played in two others. Generally, the Rams have always been pretty good and sometimes great. What they also had was classic west coast flair.
My first favorite Ram was “Jaguar” Jon Arnett, a super-smooth running back. Nicknames are a thing of the past, but the Rams had some of the best. Before my time, there was Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch running wild. On defense, Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds described the linebacker’s style perfectly as he cut through opponents. So too on offense, when passes came the way of receiver, Willie “Flipper” Anderson. Finally, the best nickname of them all belonged to the joint defensive giants Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy and Rosie Greer – The Fearsome Foursome.
There were great players like Roman Gabriel, Jack Youngblood, Lawrence McCutcheon, Eric Dickerson, Fred Dryer, Maxie Baughn, Wendell Tyler, Harold Jackson, James Harris, even former KU great John Hadl and the Rams’ first Super Bowl quarterback, former Husker, Vince Ferragamo.
In keeping with their Hollywood life style, the ownership of the Rams has always had a soap opera feel to it. Carroll Rosenbloom, the owner of the Baltimore Colts, actually traded the Baltimore franchise in exchange for the Rams in 1972. When Rosenbloom died in 1979 in a mysterious swimming accident, his wife Georgia Frontiere took over ownership.
Rosenbloom had groomed his son to take over the franchise. However, for tax purposes 70 per cent of the ownership went to his wife. She quickly fired Steve Rosenbloom and seized control. A former nightclub singer and chorus line performer, Frontiere pulled the Rams out of California for a lucrative move to her home in St. Louis.
No matter how bungled her ownership might have seemed, Frontiere did hire Dick Vermeil who struck gold with former grocery clerk Kurt Warner and won the 1999 Super Bowl with a fabulous team and another great nickname, “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
By the time of her death in 2008, the Rams had begun a slide that leaves them as probably the worst team in the National Football League. Out of this malaise comes the worst news this Rams fan has ever heard. Rush Limbaugh could possibly be one of the team’s new owners.
The millions Limbaugh has made spreading lies, deceit, racism and hatred along with his double standards regarding anyone’s sins other than his own might now go towards an attempt to buy the team I have loved for so long.
That will be it for me. I will put away the Rams bobble head doll I’ve had forever and no longer take any delight at the sight of the best helmet in football. I no longer will be a Rams fan. No other NFL team will take the Rams place, but the team will be dead to me as long as a penny comes from the scariest man in America.