The Los Angeles Rams has made the NFC Championship nine times as a franchise. With a 3-6 record (1-6 in LA, 2-0 in St. Louis), the Rams have had their share of disappointment at this level, but the more recent affairs have ended with the Rams moving on.
Today, we face the New Orleans Saints who have made the NFC Championship just twice. The first time in 2006, they fell short to the Chicago Bears. Three years later, they won an overtime thriller against the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre en route to their first Super Bowl victory as a franchise.
And that’s what’s at stake today.
A ticket to the Super Bowl.
A chance to make good on all of it. The promise, the hype, the hope.
The Rams and the Saints are 60 minutes of football away from the Super Bowl.
That’s just a daunting fact, heavy with the weight of years of work.
There’s Head Coach Sean McVay and Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, two seemingly polar opposites as coaches who nevertheless found a moment of synthesis in their careers in pursuit of the ultimate goal.
There’s LT Andrew Whitworth who last week won a playoff game for the first time in his career in this, his 13th NFL season.
There’s LG Rodger Saffold who played through seven injury-flecked losing seasons before last year’s turnaround.
There’s RB Todd Gurley whose NFL career began amid the rehabilitation of an ACL injury that now has inflamed cartilage capping his 2018 season.
There’s RB C.J. Anderson who bounced off his couch to join the Rams because of Gurley’s injury having run for 422 yards in his three games with the Rams.
There’s QB Jared Goff whose nascent career has had doubters at every step that continue to shrink in number as he continues to take the franchise higher and higher.
There’s DT Aaron Donald who was overlooked as a star on floundering Rams teams only to have his recognition truly begin to meet its merit when the team around him finally picked up.
There’s EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., having come over midseason from the Jacksonville Jaguars looking to reinspire his career.
There’s CB Aqib Talib, 32-years young having had ankle surgery midseason and returning to throttle the defense back to better performances.
And there’s CB Marcus Peters. Yeah.
I could list another 10 or 20 or 30 players or coaches or really anyone that’s a part of this team for this one, because this is what NFL seasons are. They’re the result of years and years of work on behalf of hundreds of people.
They’re the culmination of time spent.
And it’s the same here at TST.
For years, we (the larger we as site administrators, commenters, readers, well-wishers, haters, friends, trolls and everyone in the larger TST bubble) have written and read and clicked and watched and listened and spoke and, well, been fans. We’ve been fans. For years. For every game. Every week. Every day. Every day.
Every day, we’ve chronicled the goings on of this team, because we all care about the Rams. And we want to see them win. And now, here we are.
Here we are 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl.
Soak in this, Rams fans.
Soak it in for 60 minutes and the years that went into it.
For every single one of us.