Three years ago today.
That was when the Los Angeles Rams became the Los Angeles Rams again after 21 years in St. Louis the site of the Rams’ last divisional round action.
January 15, 2005. The St. Louis Rams got pasted by the Dirty Bird Atlanta Falcons to officially unofficially kill off the Greatest Show on Turf.
And then, the Dark Ages.
Twelve consecutive seasons without a winning season. The longest the Dallas Cowboys, the Rams’ opponent today, has ever gone without a winning season was six years, the very first years of the Cowboys’ existence as a franchise.
Today is a story of rebirth.
The Rams hired Sean McVay as head coach. They made sufficient personnel moves to turn things around last year winning the NFC West, making the playoffs and providing the first winning season in 13 years.
But a poor showing against the Falcons cut the Cinderella story short.
This year was no Cinderella story.
And nothing from the regular season derailed that narrative going 13-3 and earning a first-round bye en route to a second successive NFC West crown.
Now begins the affirmation of the rebirth. The validation of expectations held by Rams fans since the summer.
This is it. This is when McVay needs to be at his best. When QB Jared Goff needs to silence his critics. When RB Todd Gurley needs to look like a superstar. When DL Aaron Donald needs to carry a defense.
13-3 was nothing.
Today is everything.