Tears for Fears
There is no way to fully appreciate all of the changes undertaken by the organization without framing it against the backdrop of Aaron Donald‘s disappointment at losing in the Divisional Round to the Green Bay Packers last year. His tears spoke of the years of work, the pain of competing with broken ribs, and the utter hopelessness of the futility of it all.
Even at Aaron Donald’s best, it was not enough. In the Divisional Round, he was not at 100 percent. The overwhelming emotions ripped his insides. If he could not power his team to a Super Bowl victory, what chance did he, or the LA Rams, realistically have of winning one? And that thought and the realization of the climb that lay before him and the team was too much for that point in time.
For any other team, it would be business as normal. The team would go back once more to the drawing board and try again with the same effort, the same tempo, the same priorities. But this was not any other team. This was the LA Rams, a team that recognizes that without Aaron Donald’s 100 percent buy-in, this team is going nowhere. And thus it became that Aaron Donald’s post-game tears became the gasoline that set the entire LA Rams organization ablaze.
Sense of Urgency
It was then that the Rams determined the need to trade for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. While that bolstered the offense, the Rams needed to reinforce the team’s defense. They began in a rather understated way by drafting inside linebacker Ernest Jones. While a rookie, he had the grit and snarl that the team desperately needed in the middle of the defense, particularly in high-stakes games like a Super Bowl.
But the true finishing touch happened at the trade deadline when the team traded for veteran outside linebacker Von Miller from the Denver Broncos. Since that moment, the Rams’ entire defense has improved and has synchronized into a rather intimidating force to be reckoned with.
Much like Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald is an NFL star whose legacy will ultimately fade without that Super Bowl victory to cement him into the NFL history books. In the end, this will always be a team sport. To get into the NFL elite penthouse, they look for a team win in the Super Bowl. The LA Rams have the chance to earn exactly that.