Around SB Nation NFL team brands this week, we’re asking “Where where you when...?”
Over at Behind the Steel Curtain, our community for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’re asking where Steelers fans were when former Los Angeles Rams RB Jerome Bettis fumbled the ball with less than a minute and a half remaining in the divisional playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts in January of 2016.
Field Gulls, our community for Seattle Seahawks fans, wants to know where their readers were during Beastquake, RB Marshawn Lynch’s memorable run against the New Orleans Saints in the wild card round of the 2011 NFL playoffs.
For Los Angeles Rams history...well, it’s been interesting.
For Rams fans, you’ve got the Greatest Show on Turf flanked by two periods of really bad football from 1990-98 and 2005-2016. An obvious question would be “Where were you when Mike Jones made The Tackle?” As the franchise’s lone Super Bowl victory, that moment to clinch Super Bowl XXXIV looms as the largest individual moment of the last 25 years.
But for Los Angeles fans, there’s a hole that’s left unfulfilled. Something that was touched upon by last year’s historic turnaround season that ended, unceremoniously, in the Coliseum in January. There’s something left undone by the LA Rams.
As the Los Angeles Rams, the team hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1989 season. And they haven’t won a playoff game in Los Angeles since beating the Dallas Cowboys in January 1986 in the divisional round.
So reaching for a historic moment for the Rams, something that lingers at the top of the memory for LA Rams football’s most indelible moments requires quite a bit of, um, experience (read: you gotta not be young).
And so to ensure we’re including all Rams fans of all ages and all locations (we are a place of love and inclusivity for the entire Ramily, you see), I’ll pose an open-ended question.
Where were you when you realized you were a Rams fan?
For me, the first memory I have that really reflected being a Rams fan as a marker of identity was after the 1993 NFL Draft. The Rams had won just six games in 1992, but it was a jump up from the three games we won the year prior. The offense had made a huge leap forward under Head Coach Chuck Knox in his first year back with the Rams for a second stint as HC. So with an offensively stacked draft, the Rams had a wide array of options with the 10th overall pick.
When they selected RB Jerome Bettis out of Notre Dame, a player that I had been mesmerized with as a kid to whom Bettis’ size and sheer force was ridiculously intimidating, I knew I had to get a Bettis jersey. And in seeking it out from my local Foot Locker, it really dawned on me for the first time that I was a Rams fan. There was no pulling out of the relationship. There was no ifs, ands or buts.
This was just a part of who I was now.
So I’ll toss it out to you.
Where were you when you realized you were a Rams fan? Where were you when this became your team, for better or worse? How were you indoctrinated? What did it for you? What was your first real memory as a Rams fan?