American film director Sidney Lumet died today. You're probably asking just what exactly that has to do with the St. Louis Rams. Nothing...nothing directly related anyway. However, the Rams and football - all sports - are entertainment, just like film. And like their celluloid cousins, they involve stories and plots and overarching narratives that in one way or another force us to examine things about ourselves, even simple things like why in the hell do we stick with a team that wins 6 games in three years or other lessons like the camaraderie that comes with such loyalty.
Lumet mastered the ability to make a film that required a viewer to delve into their consciousness, to ask questions of themselves. One of my favorites was "Serpico" (before Al Pacino became just a parody of himself). Serpico told the story of cop who exposed widespread corruption within the ranks of the NYPD, at great personal risk.
Anyway, I thought this was the opportunity for a Saturday night offseason aside, a tribute to one of my favorite artists, and in that spirit, three St. Louis Rams stories of the recent past that would make for great Lumet films.
(I'm terrible at headlines and even worse with titles, please consider these very rough working titles, very rough).
No Gold Watch - For more than 30 years he worked out of the spotlight, brought into the business by his father...making sure the players had uniforms, that things were ready to go in camp and on the sidelines every Sunday. One day, a new coach arrives, and instantly there's tension...distrust, punctuated by a seemingly isolated incident here and there. Then, one day, he's out. the head coach cans him after all that time for no reason. He tries to tell his story, to get the truth out there for the world to hear. Yeah, it's the Todd Hewitt story...
Sacked - A wide-eyed young quarterback, he was supposed to be an afterthought, a backup and nothing more. Suddenly, he gets his chance as the beloved star suffers an injury. From there, it's all about the new guy, and the super star is put out to pasture. But the new guy's star only burns bright for a little while, and he never tastes the same kind of success. Bruised and battered himself, he sucks it up and takes it out on the field to face the man he replaced. One retires on top...the other keeps looking for his shot at redemption.
In-Between - A promising rookie, he season - and his life - comes crashing to a halt when a night of celebration ends in a drunk driving car accident that kills the driver of the car he crashes into. How can he live with the consequences of his actions, much less go on playing football? But he does. The struggle and the pain never go away, and even his triumph on the field can't make up for the terrible thing he's done.