How blue collar mindset helps LA Rams stay atop NFL
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams are nestled next to one of the most affluent capitals of the western world: Hollywood, California. Movie premiers, awards, ceremonies, and gala events ensure that the stars of the big screen stay in your headlines on an almost daily basis. And yet, NFL football players have a far more physically demanding path, but the end goal is similar: Get fans in the seats. To do that, NFL teams need to win.
And the LA Rams are doing that.
Unfortunately, success can be its greatest enemy, particularly in the realm of professional sports. There is a transformation that occurs when players rise to perennial playoff participants in the NFL. Winning means long hours of training and practice. Those long hours mean sacrificing other aspects, other activities, and devoting that time to improving and getting stronger.
But at some point in a professional athlete’s career, the sacrifice can become too great. Players who succeed get paid. Wealth buys access. Access means that the number of distractions from training and working out triples or quadruples.
Blue-collar work ethic
That is always a risk, but I don’t fear that happening with LA Rams players. Just look up and down the team’s roster, and you will find a common thread throughout the roster. Young players look to the veteran leadership to set the tone, and veteran leadership is more about making their statements on the football field.
And if Aaron Donald is talking up his NFL accomplishments to the media, you can bet the rest of the locker room will follow suit.
It’s not just that way on defense, but that way throughout the roster. QB Matthew Stafford just enjoyed the most successful season of his long NFL career. But he is already talking about trying to improve this year. There is the third season coming up for running back Cam Akers. But he admits that his return in 2021 left a lot to be desired. So he is working harder than ever now. Not to get back to his 2020 form, but to be even better.
And then there is LA Rams receiver Cooper Kupp, who had an epically outstanding season in 2021. But he is not resting on past success. He is working that much harder to play even better in 2022.
It’s the ability to tune out the noise of how good the team and players were and focus on how good the team and the players need to be that is the secret to the LA Rams’ success. Will it pay off for the 2022 NFL season?
I think it already is.