Only three words, but they packed a punch: Lambs, not Rams.
The headline on The Times’ front page the day after the Los Angeles Rams’ 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl sparked numerous calls, emails and tweets from Times readers and Rams fans. They called the headline disrespectful, disgusting, disappointing and dismissive of a championship team.
“It’s a low blow,” one caller said. “This is our home team. We don’t need that.”
Another reader weighed in: “Do you as the editor of this paper mean to imply that the 53 men on the Rams were submissive yesterday? That game was extremely hard-fought and physical, and although it did not go the Rams’ way, that was an old-school game the Rams fans can be proud of.”
And from a longtime reader: “I’m not even an NFL fan. I am, however, a fan of this city. Headlines and articles like this one keep our city from finding something to believe in and something to bring us together.”
Angel Rodriguez, the assistant managing editor who oversees our sports coverage, said the headline was not meant to be mean-spirited or dismissive of the great season the Rams had this year.
“It was meant as a play on the fact that the younger, less-experienced Rams with Jared Goff and Sean McVay were beaten by the older, more-experienced duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick,” Rodriguez said. “What we missed is that some fans of the Rams remember ‘Lambs’ being used as a term to make light of the Rams. It is not, and has never been, our policy to make fun of the teams we cover. We strive to give a fair representation of what happens on the field, diamond or court. We chronicle the highs, like the 18-inning World Series win this past fall, and lows, like this defeat.”
J.T. Cramer is The Times’ readers’ representative.