Greatest 30 days being Ramfan.
It started on December 30, 1979.
The Rams played the Cowboys in the playoffs. My Father, my stepmom, my brother and his wife, my best friend and his wife, and my wife (then girl friend) were at my home watching the game.
CBS wanted a Dallas-Steeler rematch, the experts gave us no chance. Dallas beat us in a regular season game 30-6. And for the first time we were a nine point underdog (largest ever).
But our Rams had a 14-5 halftime lead, we were going nuts.
Then Vinnie throws that interception and Dallas takes a 19-14 lead.
For us Ramfans that had our souls ripped from our hearts so many
All those brutal images came rushing back of Ram disasters
through the years.
Joe Kapp hurdling over Ram defenders and Roman Gabriel getting sacked
for that final safety, turning a 1969 Ram season that began 11-0 into
a first-round playoff loss in Minnesota.
Steve Preece and Eddie McMillan leaping for that underthrown Roger
Staubach pass and smashing into each other, allowing the ball to float
into Drew Pearson’s hands for the touchdown that clinched the Rams’
1973 playoff defeat in Dallas.
Tom Mack getting flagged for “illegal motion” (Mack still hasn’t
moved) on the Minnesota half-yard line in the 1974 NFC Championship
game. James Harris throwing an interception in the end zone, sealing a
14-10 Ram defeat. The Rams went over 99 yards on a drive and get no
points and lose by 4.
Preston Pearson making diving catches in the end zone to lead the wild-
card Dallas Cowboys to a 37-7 upset of the Rams in the 1975 NFC
Nate Allen blocking that Tom Dempsey field goal try, Bobby Bryant
running it back 90 yards and the Vikings beating the Rams again in the
1976 NFC title game.
The Rams long-awaited opportunity to play the Vikings at home, minus
Fran Tarkenton, in the 1977 playoffs. The Vikings bringing Minnesota
weather with them and the rain rendering Ram quarterback Pat Haden
useless in a 14-7 Viking triumph. (Should of played Namath)
Then when Vinnie hit Waddy for that 50 yard TD, this is exactly what happened in my living room.
I slide on my knees like I am on ice to one inch from the TV screen. My ears and eyes are focused on one thing, A FLAG!!
I see none, our Ram players don’t act like there is one and they say their isn’t one.
I turn around and this is what I see.
The 7 of them our hugging each other and jumping up and down like it is one person with 14 legs.
I run to join them, but my momentum as I hug knocks us off balance and all 8 of us, hugging as one, crash into my coffee table breaking it in pieces with crap going everywhere.
But we don’t even give it a thought. ALL 8 keep hugging each other and screaming with joy.
What is etched forever in my mind is the faces of my Father and Brother virtually and inch from my face yelling and smiling.
On January 6th, 1980 our Rams finally win a NFC Championship game and our headed to the Super Bowl.
I was selling stereos (big business back then) in Fresno, Ca. I talked my General Manager of the 11 stores (it was kind of easy since he is a big Ramfan) into doubling our advertising budget.
We ran ads on radio and TV if you come in our store wearing anything Rams, you got Koss headphones at 5 bucks.
We advertised that we were burning Franco Harris in our parking lot at 12 mid. (the night before the game)
Over 200 ram fans showed up to see us burn this dummy wearing a franco jersey. (so did the fire dept and fined us 150 bucks).
The whole store was RAMS!!!
I drove down at 1 am and met my Father and went to the game.
January 20th, 1980
You had to take buses to get to the Rose Bowl and for some reason me and my
Father were on a bus with Steeler Fans from the Pittsburgh area.
They were giving it to us in a classy way.
Never has there been a more picture perfect day.
When Summerall announced to the world “THE STARTING DEFENSE OF THE LOS ANGELES RAMS” I got a little emotional.
For the reason these great players who have came so close virtually every year in the 70’s are getting their due.
It was a great game and when the bus took us back to where we all parked, most of the Steeler fans and me hugged each other.
I get back to Fresno and slept until Tuesday.
Jan. 22, 1980
Just 2 days removed from SB 14. I am talking to some customers and I see this guy walking slowly past our window and we make eye contac and he gives me a “what’s up” nod. I say to the other salesmen “I thnk Rod Perry just walk by”.
I go out and say “Hey Rod, what do you think of our store?” (hoping he doesn’t say “my name ain’t Rod” he says “it looks great”. Then I say “Get in here and meet your greatest fans”.
He stayed in our store for almost 2 hours and answered every question 3 die-hard Ram fans could think. (most were goofy,but,some were not bad).
He told us what happened after Cromwell dropped a sure TD interception in the third quarter. (great story)
What the offensive line of the Rams were saying to the steel curtain. We ask about Ram players, other team players and coaches. It was awesome, then I said “Rod, only if you were an inch taller” on that Stallworth TD. He says do you have a sheet of paper and a pen. I grab some blank typing paper and he diagrams how the Ram D blew the defense on that TD. He uses two sheets (messed up on the first) after he is finished I ask would he sign them, he does.
He said Cullen Bryant was coming to stay with his family next week for a few days and the both of them would stop by.
Jan. 29th, 1980
Just like he said, they both came in (let me tell you Cullen Bryant biceps are bigger than your thigh.They both gave us jerseys and signed pics. These two are class not just in football but as men. It was an era that Rod was flattered that we were running Ram ads on the radio, that’s why he walked by our store and gave us game worn jerseys. if that game was last year, Rod Perry wouldn’t have time to be walking in front of a stereo store just two days after the Super Bowl, Stallworth and Rod would be booked on every show for months. I have a 1977 game worn Ram jersey from Joe Namath (there is only 17 others in the world). Also,I have a unused Super Bowl 14 ticket (not many of those floating around). But, I have something that is one of a kind, Rod Perry diagrams of the 73 yard TD by Stallworth and 2 hours talking to one of my favorite Rams ever, THAT’S PRICELESS.
Since my Father and Brother are no longer with us, that memory of their two faces just an inch from my face and going to the Super Bowl with my Father and giving my Dad the Cullen Bryant Jersey makes it the best 30 days as a Ramfan.
That’s not true.
It is the best 30 days in my life.