Where are my fellow “Swifties” at? If you’re not a fan of Taylor Swift, I apologize for what’s about to follow. Taylor Swift just released her version of her famous album, “Speak Now” as she works to get the rights back to her songs. Hence why you’ll see her song titles followed by “Taylor’s Version”. I thought it might be fun to connect each of her songs on the album to a player on the Los Angeles Rams. It is the offseason after all which opens up time for fun columns like this.
With that said, here goes nothing as I connect each of Taylor Swift’s songs on “Speak Now” and connect them to a Rams player in order to create Speak Now (Rams Version).
1. Mine (Aaron Donald’s Version)
When you start an album, you have to start off with a banger to catch people’s attention. That’s why we’re starting with The GOAT, Aaron Donald.
“You are the best thing, that’s ever been mine.”
Donald is without question the greatest player in Rams franchise history. He’ll go down as one of the all-time greats and is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Fame player. With three Defensive Player of the Year awards combined with his 2021 playoff run, he is in fact the best thing that the Rams have ever had.
2. Sparks Fly (Cam Akers’ Version)
There’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the relationship between the Rams and Cam Akers. Akers was benched last year and put on the trade block before going on a fantastic run to end the season. The Rams running back is inconsistent, but when he’s on “sparks fly” and it’s hard not to have some level of optimism.
“I’m on my guard for the rest of the world, but with you, I know it’s no good.
I could wait patiently, but I really wish you would
Drop everything now. Meet me in the pouring rain.
Kiss me on the sidewalk, take away the pain.
‘Cause I see Sparks Fly whenever you smile.”
Akers had a great run at the end of 2020 and again at the end of last season. It might be a bad idea to believe Akers can be the guy to lead the Rams backfield, but it’s hard not to have some belief given the potential that he has shown.
3. Back To December (Todd Gurley’s Version)
The story of Todd Gurley with the Rams is in fact a story of heartbreak.
“I watched you laughing from the passenger side and
Realized I loved you in the fall.
And then the cold came, the dark days when fear crept into my mind.
You gave me all your love, and all I gave you was goodbye.”
Gurley immediately lit the NFL on fire and you knew he was going to go follow the steps of Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk as one of the all-time great franchise running backs. He won Rookie of the Year and then won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 when Sean McVay took over. Gurley gave everything, but once the injuries happened, the breakup became inevitable.
It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you.
Wishing I’d realized what I had when you were mine.
I go back to December, turn around and change my own mind.
I got back to December all the time.”
The Rams have been searching to replace Gurley ever since. The hope is that can be Akers. However, running backs with Gurley’s talent don’t come around that often. Now, all we’re left with are the memories and wishing we could go back to December 16, 2018 when Gurley hurt his knee against the Philadelphia Eagles.
4. Speak Now (Jalen Ramsey’s version)
In one sense, it’s hard not to be happy for Jalen Ramsey after he was traded to the Miami Dolphins. He gets to play on a very talented defense under Vic Fangio who’s scheme fits Ramsey’s skillset perfectly. At the same time, you still wish Ramsey was playing for the Rams.
“I am not the kind of girl who should be rudely barging in on a white veil occasion.
But you are not the kind of boy, who should be marrying the wrong girl.
Don’t say yes, run away now, I’ll meet when you’re out of the church at the back door.
Don’t wait or say a single vow. You’ll need to hear me out and they said, ‘Speak Now.’”
At the end of the day, this was a trade that the Rams had to make to free up some cap space going into 2024. You can only wish that someone would have got up to “speak now” and prevent the inevitable.
5. Dear John (Jeff Fisher’s version)
When the Rams hired Jeff Fisher in 2012, they were in a very dark place. The team had won a total of 15 games in five years with seven of those wins coming in one season. Fisher brought a hope and optimism and in a sense, took advantage of a franchise and fanbase that had been used to losing.
“And I’ll look back and regret how I ignored when they said, “Run as fast as you can.”
Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone.
Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with.
You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry.”
The Rams never had a winning season under Fisher and for a few years, 7-8-1 and 7-9 seemed ok. The excuses of not having a quarterback were understandable. The warning signs were there, but it took until Fisher was finally fired and McVay took over to understand the habit of mediocrity that the Rams were in.
6. Mean (Mike Florio’s Version)
Former Rams defensive end, Chris Long could definitely go here. However, there’s nobody in NFL media that enjoys criticizing the Rams more than Mike Florio. Florio wasn’t a fan of how the Rams built their Super Bowl team and he often lets you know about it.
He remained pretty quiet while they were winning, but after last season’s 5-12 record, Florio has popped back up, taking victory laps. While Sean McVay’s future was in the air, Florio reported that there was a growing sense that the Rams head coach would step down, saying that he didn’t want to be apart of a rebuild. Florio was almost willing McVay to leave.
Later, he suggested that the Rams would have been happy to trade Matthew Stafford. Recently, he stated that the Rams could be in a fight with the San Francisco 49ers for Kirk Cousins. It just doesn’t stop.
“You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard, calling me out when I’m wounded.
You, picking on the weaker man.
And you dont know what you don’t know.
Someday I’ll be living in a big old city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.”
The song has a perfect ending as well that just seems to fit the situation.
“And I can see you years from now in a bar,
Talking over a football game.
With that same big, loud opinion,
but nobody’s listening
...but all you are is mean.”
7. Story of Us (Jared Goff’s Version)
The Story of Us is a perfect song about a break up and then you see that person again for the first time. However, there isn’t a song that better describes the Rams and Jared Goff than this one.
“Oh, a simple complication, miscommunications lead to fallout.
So many things that I wish you knew, so many walls up I can’t break through.
Now I’m standing alone in a crowded room and we’re not speaking.
And I’m dying to know is it killing you like it’s killing me? Yeah.
I don’t know what to say since the twist of fate when it all broke down.
And the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now.”
We used to think that we would be telling the story of the Rams and Goff. How Goff would lead the Rams to a Super Bowl title and be the quarterback to lift the franchise back to greatness. Unfortunately, after an ugly breakup, the story became more of a tragedy.
8. Never Grow Up (Puka Nacua’s Version)
Somewhere in here, there’s a TuTu Atwell joke. However, Puka Nacua turned heads during OTAs and was the talk among player, coaches, and the media. Right now, everything’s perfect and Nacua is still just an innocent rookie who has yet to take the field. In a sense, we wish thing could stay exactly as they are right now with him before there are any blemishes of potential injuries, opposing defenses, etc.
“Don’t you ever grow up.
It could stay this simple.
And no one’s ever burned you
Nobody’s ever left you scarred.
And even though you want to.
Just try to never grow up.”
Eventually Nacua will have to take the field. Until then, we can appreciate these moments.
9. Enchanted (Odell Beckham Jr’s Version)
Enchanted is a song about connecting with someone and falling in love with them after meeting them for the first time. There’s not a player in recent memory that’s fits that description more than Odell Beckham Jr.
“This night is sparkling, don’t you let it go.
I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home.
I’ll spend forever wondering if you knew.
I was enchanted to meet you.”
Odell Beckham Jr. with the first TD of the Super Bowl! pic.twitter.com/eYEC0hiGzH— USA TODAY NFL (@usatodaynfl) February 13, 2022
Beckham’s time with the Rams was short-lived and his performances in the postseason prior to going down with a tragic ACL injury in the Super Bowl are legendary. Yet, he was embraced and loved by the fanbase. The Rams may not have gotten something that last with Beckham, but they are still grateful for the time that they did have.
10. Better Than Revenge (Brandon Beane Version)
Buffalo Bills general manager, Brandon Beane hasn’t been quiet when it comes to criticizing how the Rams built their championship team. While not mentioning the Rams specifically, Beane said this offseason, “We’re trying to work our way out so that we don’t have just a tear-down. And you see that happen from a team here or there like ‘man, we can’t do anymore. We got to get rid of some of these huge salaries and the only way to do it is either try to kick it further down the road, making it harder, or start trading, releasing, and taking those hits.’”
She looks at me like I’m a trend, and she’s so over it.”
Let’s take a closer look here, however.
Looking at the Bills’ cap situation, they are set to be $25M over the cap next of offseason.
Over the past few years, the Bills have signed former Rams offensive linemen Rodger Saffold and David Edwards. Last offseason they signed Von Miller who had just won the Super Bowl with the Rams. Earlier this offseason, they also signed Leonard Floyd and Taylor Rapp. That doesn’t mention Travin Howard on their current roster. This is the Buffalo Rams.
Aaron Kromer, Cory Harkey, and Rob Boras are all former Rams on their coaching staff.
“Soon she’s gonna find stealing other people’s toys won’t make you many friends.
She should keep in mind, she should keep in mind,
There’s nothing I do better than revenge.”
Don’t worry, Brandon. The Rams will be back in 2024.
11. Innocent (Sean McVay’s Version)
Innocent is the perfect song for the current version of Sean McVay. Following a difficult season in which many of his short-comings were his fault, McVay is looking for a path forward.
“I guess you really did it this time.
Left yourself in your war path.
Lost your balance on a tightrope.
Lost your mind trying to get it back.
Wasn’t it beautiful when you believed in everything
And everybody believed in you?”
The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue detailed perfectly what McVay went through last season. Rodrigue said, “McVay, so personally validated by the success of a franchise built to function almost entirely around him, spiraled under a wave of self-destruction, fatigue, grief and frustration.”
“It’s alright, just wait and see, your string of lights is still bright to me, oh.
Who you are is not where you’ve been.
You’re still an innocent.
You’re still an innocent.”
While many in the media have seemingly written him off, the fanbase still remembers and that last year isn’t the type of coach that McVay truly is or wants to be. He’s still the coach that lifted the franchise out of the darkness and won a Super Bowl.
12. Haunted (Von Miller’s Version)
The Rams spent a lot of time and energy trying to bring back Von Miller last offseason. Miller pulled the Rams along only for him to sign with the Buffalo Bills.
“Stood there and watched you walk away from everything we had.
But I still mean every word I said to you.
Come on, come on, don’t leave me like this
I thought I had you figured out.
Something’s gone terrible wrong, you’re all I wanted.”
While holding out for Miller, the Rams missed out on other free agents that they could have targeted. Instead, they pivoted to Allen Robinson at wide receiver and to say that went terribly wrong would be an understatement.
13. Last Kiss (Kurt Warner’s Version)
This song was tough, but Kurt Warner is one that comes to mind. After he took the NFL by storm, winning MVP and leading the Rams to the Super Bowl, nobody would have predicted the ending that happened.
“I never thought we’d have a last kiss
I never imagined we’d end like this.
Warner and the Rams had an ugly breakup. Both are in a better place now and they’ve made up. With that said, nobody would have ever expected the Rams to end up releasing Warner two years after his incredible three year run.
14. Long Live (Cooper Kupp’s Version)
There are a few moments in Rams history that really stand out. You have Isaac Bruce’s game-winning touchdown, “The tackle”, as well as a handful from the Super Bowl run in 2021. However, many of the franchise’s biggest moments have come at the hands of Cooper Kupp.
“I said ‘remember this moment’ in the back of my mind.
The time we stood with our shaking hands, the crowds in the stands went wild.
We were the kings and the queens, and they read off our names.
The night you danced like you knew our lives would never be the same.
Long live the walls we crashed through.
How the kingdom lights shined just for me and you.
I was screaming ‘long live all the magic we made and bring on the all the pretenders’.
One day we will be remembered.”
In the NFC Divisional Round, he had the catch that set up Matt Gay’s game winning field goal. In the NFC Championship game, it was his catch and run that set up Gay’s go-ahead field goal. Again in the Super Bowl, Kupp was on the receiving end of Stafford’s no-look pass and then caught the game-winning touchdown. Kupp has had some many moments that will long live in Rams franchise history.
15. Ours (Matthew Stafford’s Version)
Ours is a song about a love between two people that is frowned upon or not approved by the public or peers. While there were some who thought the Rams’ trade for Stafford would work, there were plenty of naysayers.
“Seems like there’s always someone who disapproves.
They’ll judge it like they know about me and you.
And the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do.
The jury’s out, but my choice is you.
So don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine.
And life makes love look hard.
The stakes are high, the water’s rough, but this love is ours.”
There’s also a line in the second verse that states, “ghosts from your past gonna jump out at me. Stafford’s past in Detroit and lack of a winning track record was a major talking point in 2021. Still, McVay and Stafford made it work and it ended with a Lombardi Trophy.
16. Superman (Stan Kroenke’s Version)
For many is Los Angeles, Stan Kroenke saved the Rams franchise by bringing them back home.
“Tall, dark and superman.
He puts papers in his briefcase and drives away. To save the world or go to work.
It's the same thing to me.
...I watch Superman fly away. You got a busy day today.
Go save the world, I’ll be around.
And I watch Superman fly away. come back, I’ll be with you someday.
I’ll be right here, on the ground. When you come back down.
Kroenke isn’t one of those owners who’s heavily involved. He let’s the football people do their job which is part of what makes him a great owner.
17. Electric Touch (Tavon Austin’s Version) (From The Vault)
When the Rams drafted Tavon Austin with the eighth overall pick in 2013, there was a lot of pressure on not only the team but the West Virginia wide receiver. Ever since Torry Holt left, the Rams struggled to find a true number one wide receiver. With Austin’s play-making ability, they hoped he would change that.
“I’ve got my money on things going badly.
Got a history of stories ending sadly.
Still hoping that the fire won’t burn me.
Just one time. Just one time.
All I know is this could either break my heart or bring it back to life.
Got a feeling your electric touch could fill this ghost town up with life.
And I want you know. Want to need you forever. In the heat of your electric touch.”
The Rams had tried finding a top wide receiver with Donnie Avery, Mardy Gilyard, Brandon Lloyd, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick, etc. Nobody could replace the void left by Holt. A risk was taken by drafting an electric wide receiver in Austin. Unfortunately, they did end up getting burned.
18. When Emma Falls in Love (Les Snead’s Version) (From the Vault)
This is a tough one to pinpoint, but the way I see this song is it’s like Les Snead right before he makes a big trade.
“When Emma falls in love, she paces the floor
Closes the blinds and locks the door.
When Emma falls in love, it’s all on her face
Hangs in the air like outer space.
When Emma falls in loves, she disappears
And we all just laugh after seeing it all these years.
If that’s not Snead right before he makes a blockbuster trade, I’m not sure what is.
19. I Can See You (Brian Burns’ Version) (From the Vault)
Swift’s song from the Vault, I Can See You, is about a secret office/professional workplace romance and fantasies that come along with that. This is a tough one to make a Rams connection with for obvious reasons. However, last season, the Rams attempted to trade for Carolina Panthers edge rusher, Brian Burns. Reportedly, the Rams offered a 2024 and 2025 first round pick and a second round pick to acquire Burns. That offer was turned down at the trade deadline.
“You won’t believe half the things I see inside my head.
Wait till you see half the things that haven’t happened yet.”
Burns playing with Donald would have been a fun combination. Unfortunately, it’s something that never came to fruition.
20. Castles Crumbling (Mike Martz’s Version) (From the Vault)
When Mike Martz took over for the St. Louis Rams after the 1999 season, he had the potential to lead a dynasty. Martz even led the Rams back to the Super Bowl, but came up short against the New England Patriots.
“Once I had an empire in a golden age.
I was held up so high, I used to be great.
They used to cheer when they saw my face.
Now I fear, I have fallen from grace.
And I feel like my castle’s crumbling down.
And I watch all my bridges burn to the ground.”
Unfortunately for Martz, the Rams potential dynasty crumbled after 2001. Warner left following the 2003 season. Martz and the Rams front office had a disagreement which led to him leaving in 2005. The former offensive coordinator was one of the best in the NFL at the time. However, it was a quick fall after the Super Bowl loss.
21. Foolish One (TuTu Atwell Version) (From the Vault)
Many Taylor Swift songs are written in time’s of heartbreak. There’s not a more heartbreaking moment than when the Rams drafted TuTu Atwell over Creed Humphrey.
“And maybe someday when we’re older, this is something that we’ll laugh about.
Over coffee every morning while you’re watching the news.
But then the voices say, ‘You are not the exception. You will never learn your lesson.”
The Rams didn't learn their lesson after drafting Austin in 2013. They selected Atwell in 2021. While the hope is that he can be the exception, the reality is, that likely won’t be the case.
22. Timeless (Andrew Whitworth’s Version) (From the Vault)
When the Rams signed Andrew Whitworth in 2017, it was a franchise altering move. Despite spending most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, it always felt like Whitworth and the Rams were supposed to find each other.
“If I first saw your face in the 1500s, off in a foreign land.
And I was forced to marry another man.
You still would’ve been mind we would’ve been timeless.
I would have read your love letters every single night.
And run away and left it all behind.
‘Cause I believe that we were supposed to find this.
So even in a different life, you still would’ve been mine.
We would’ve been timeless.”
When Whitworth entered the league in 2006, the Rams didn’t need a left tackle because Orlando Pace was still on the roster. The Rams tried drafting Jason Smith and Greg Robinson. They also signed Jake Long in hopes of finding a franchise left tackle. It wasn’t until they signed Whitworth that they found that stability. When they did, it was a story that ended with a happy ending with Whitworth winning a Super Bowl.