I’ll be 28-years-old this year. I became a Rams fan a little less than 20 years ago. Yes, I bandwagoned the St. Louis Rams during the shining inception of the Greatest Show on Turf era. I am from southwest Virginia where no professional football teams exist. I guess the closest NFL team from where I am from is the Carolina Panthers. A lot of people who hear that I’m from Virginia will immediately ask me why I’m not a Washington Redskins fan. Why would be I be a Redskins fan? D.C. is 6 hours away. Hell, I’m a tad closer to Nashville, TN than I am to D.C. from where I am. Besides, my father was a Miami Dolphins fan who hated the Redskins. I reckon my dad ‘bandwagoned’ the Dolphins in 1972, but hey, he was a fan up to his untimely death in 2003. His brothers had different favorite pro squads, too, from either the Dolphins to the Oakland Raiders. My dad’s brother, Corky, was a massive Raiders fan.
I’d wager that 60-70% of the NFL fans from where I am from are Pittsburgh Steelers fans. This area has no team. Southwest Virginia is more-so a college football area than pro, with Virginia Tech, Tennessee and West Virginia being favored around here.
I picked the Rams as a team as a little boy in 1999 and I’ve stuck with ’em through thick and thin. They were the St. Louis Rams all the way until January 2016, when Stan Kroenke officially moved the team back to Los Angeles. I started this blog in March 2007, full of hype and hope for that ’07 season when the Rams looked like contenders on paper. This Rams franchise was atrocious for the majority of the history of TSTOS and downright mediocre and subpar during the Jeff Fisher Horns era.
I have never cared where the Rams play.
When the Rams left St. Louis, a slew of people I’ve met online reached out to me and said, “I’m sorry”. Sorry for what? It was a little sad, to me, because I had only ever been a fan of the Rams while they were in St. Louis up to that point, but overall, also being a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and knowing fans from the area, I encountered an overwhelming amount of people who declared that St. Louis was a baseball town and did not truly care whether or not the Rams left. Obviously I know that doesn’t account for all the fans who did/do care, but the Cardinals fans I encountered were rather ambivalent.
I have negative opinions towards the Rams fans in Los Angeles. I can’t help it. I know there are diehards who exist in southern California, as well, and I do not discount them, but I have also been told by many folks in that region that the USC Trojans are the football team and that the Rams come second. Anecdotally speaking, I’ve heard from a ton of people in SoCal who have repeatedly told me that the reason the city couldn’t hold a sports team is because primarily they do not care about pro football there as much as what most people try to say, not to mention the alleged ‘favorite’ professional sports team there is the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.
On a Rams forum about a year ago, I made the mistake of making a comment about how Los Angeles sports fans are fairweather. I got blasted; rightfully so, I guess. Of course I would get blasted by fellow Rams fans on a Rams forum, because well, these folks are the true anomalies. Die-hards, like I am, except many of them have been Rams fans for several decades, going back to the ’60s and ’70s, and maybe even the ’50s! If you were an original LA Rams fans who stuck with the Rams through the St. Louis years, I salute you. I don’t know what to think about the fairweather fans who gave up after the ’94 season with the move to St. Louis on the horizon, only to become fans again in 2016… I understand there may have been some heartbreak on the table, but if you are going to be a fan of the Rams, be a fan of the Rams. Don’t slob on the knob of the city, especially some transient, ever-changing prima donna celebrity playhouse like Los Angeles.
Regional bias is interesting. I’m sure if I grew up in Buffalo, NY I would be a Bills fan, or Chicago? A Bears fan.
But I’m from southwest Virginia where there is no local team nor a local favorite.
I picked the Rams in 1999 and I’ll always be a fan regardless of where they play.
I watched them be the butt of the joke of the NFL for 12 seasons from 2005 to 2016.
Now they are going to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIII in a revenge game (revenge for all of us Rams fans who were heartbroken by the result on February 3, 2002).
Thankfully, if anybody ever accuses me of being a bandwagoner, I can use my blog as proof that I’ve been a fan through the dark years.
From this Rams fan from southwest Virginia: HORNS UP!