The Los Angeles Rams are back, not that Chris Leon acted as if they had ever left.
“I’ve been a Rams fan all of my life,” the Porterville city employee said. “I remember going to games in the late ’60s and ’70s when I was just a kid, wearing my white and blue jersey, those plastic helmets with the horns on them … it was pretty much ingrained in me.”
Leon is like the 10s and 20s in these parts who never gave up on their Rams, even when their Rams gave up on them and shipped it to St. Louis in 1995.
Leon is That Guy who still watched the Rams play when they were on local TV, and wore a Steven Jackson No. 39 jersey to Wal-Mart, and traded one worn-out horned ball cap for a newer mint.
Remember that when the Rams play at home for the first time next season. Every ticket should go to people like Leon, who can verify they stayed loyal to their disloyal prodigal team over all these years.
Show us your Kurt Warner poster. Tell us who made the winning tackle to win Super Bowl XXXIV – and no, you can’t use Google. Pick out former center Mike Gruttadauria in a police lineup.
Then, you can tell everyone you’re a Rams fan. Exemptions go to children under the age of 13.
NFL owners don’t love cities or tradition. Owners love new stadiums and steady cash flow.
“Well, there was a time there I was heated about it,” Leon said. “But a Minnesota Vikings fan told me something I never forgot. ‘Your team is your team. You stick with them no matter what.’ So they’re my team.”
Too bad the feeling isn’t mutual. It’s never mutual. NFL owners don’t love cities or tradition. Owners love new stadiums and steady cash flow.
It’s why the Raiders left Oakland for Los Angeles, and left Los Angeles for Oakland, and are spooning a tunnel route to escape Oakland again as we speak.
This is what NFL overlords do. They are why Bekins Van Lines is still in business.
St. Louis lost its football Cardinals? They stole Los Angeles’ Rams, and the only reason Los Angeles had the Rams is because they swiped them away from Cleveland, and now Cleveland wishes it had an actual NFL team, too.
You only have a home team because you stole it back from someone else’s home, so what do you expect?
Remember that, Raiders fans, when Little Al Davis U-Hauls your eye patch back to Los Angeles or San Antonio. You only have a home team because you stole it back from someone else’s home, so what do you expect?
Do what most Rams fans did. Bail on the team when they decide it’s time to start seeing other cities.
That, or be among the few who kept the porch light on all night, hoping the Rams would come back when everyone said it was time to move on.
Give it enough time, and you’ll end up like Leon, and everyone else like him, riding the team bus when everyone else is jumping the bandwagon.
You finally won’t have to explain why you’re rocking the Vince Ferragamo throwback jersey at the neighborhood Super Bowl party. No more having to drive to a 49ers game once a year to see your home team in person. Guys like Leon can be public Rams fans without needing a childhood disclaimer.
The Rams are back. Here’s to Stan Kroenke until he moves them again.
“You’d be surprised how many people come up to me and say, ‘Nice jersey. I’m a fan, too,’ ” Leon said. “It’s just nice to have them back.”
1. The 49ers had a difficult coach who won a lot of games but got fired after one bad season because he didn’t get along with the hierarchy and worked players too hard. One Jim Tomsula later, they’ve hired a difficult coach who won a lot of games but got fired after one bad season because he didn’t get along with the hierarchy and worked players too hard. Popcorn, please.
2. Chip Kelly? Really, Jed York? You hired a power-grabbing coach after saying general manager Trent Baalke would retain his job and unfettered power? But then when No. 1 choice Hue Jackson decides Cleveland – Cleveland – is a better option than San Francisco, take what you can get.
3. Lousy basketball conference, this Mountain West Conference is, but someone has to win it. If Fresno State still wants the biodegradable crown, a win after Tuesday’s bus trip to San Diego State would go a long way toward making us forget that home loss to New Mexico.