The Rams travel to northern California to take on the 49ers and the game means nothing, to those who mean nothing to Rams fans, that is.
When the Los Angeles Rams step onto the San Francisco 49ers’ turf Thursday in an early-season fill-in game, don’t believe the lack of hype for a minute. The game has been circled on many Rams fan’s calendars for months. It’s anything but meaningless to the truest longtime fans that know the history between the two teams. A historic rivalry that hints of starting up again.
Sure, they’ll play it down.
The Rams coaches will be quoted that it’s just another game in so many words and ways. The players will probably do the same not wanting to fire up the opposing team’s bulletin board. Everyone involved with the team is likely to focus on the hear-and-now of it all. Key lines like, “we’re just looking to improve on last week,” and “it’s just another game,” are likely to be heard during interviews leading up to game day.
Seriously, it’s all well and good, folks. Head coach Sean McVay, proven to be the class act that is, may even mean these words. Everyone knows the players can improve on last Sunday’s first half performance — spiking the Gatorade with Red Bull would be a great start. But there’s one simple fact that remains and that is, men are created with pride and ego. Richer, more powerful usually men have more.
It’s one thing to get beat by the New England’s of the world. It’s a completely different and awfully sad story to be swept by one of the worst teams in the entire NFL, the 49ers no less.
McVay and most of his current staff didn’t have a dog in last year’s hunt against San Francisco. You can latch on to that if you want. But the nature of man dictates that he will no doubt have thoughts in the not-so-rear of his mind that motivate his will to be the best new head coach of 2017. And don’t be fooled by which franchise he works for, he has a legitimate shot at that so far. His chances certainly look better than 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s right now. In addition, how good does the front office look if the McVay’s Rams triumph over Shanahan’s 49ers? At that time, Shanahan was the hottest coaching prospect. The Rams elected to go with the impressive but young upstart with no professional head coaching experience.
And although a lot of players are new to team, the players that were there a year ago remember the shame they brought upon their city, fans, and themselves. An extreme bitterness had to be left in their mouths for much of the off-season if they call themselves professionals.
As part of the Rams fans faithful, I can tell you this. The season-opening 28-zip grease fire surprise is burned into our psyche like a bad train wreck. Frankly, being the only team between them and a winless season stings more than our 4-12 record from 2016. The fact that it was Week 1 of a fifth season of Fishernomics didn’t help. It quickly erased most of the hope we fooled ourselves into having.
And now, in this promising new era of high energy, competent teaching and receivers that catch, this hope is restored as well as it can be. A convincing win would be a huge boost in our “state of the franchise” outlook. More important, we beat our main rivals and make a statement doing it. Then the next day, it won’t matter what social media’s been saying all week about the NFL scheduling a second consecutive weak Thursday night game.