Rams back in L.A.? Oh, the horror of years past

Rams back in L.A.? Oh, the horror of years past
Rams fan Joe Ramirez stands behind a fence as officials with the Hollywood Park Land Co. unveiled a proposal for a new NFL stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood on Monday. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)

Sometimes a trip down memory lane can leave skid marks.

Sure, the Rams returning to Southern California looks pleasing to the eye. The city wants, some say needs, an NFL team. Their roots are here. Well, here and Cleveland, making them two-timers when it comes to city jumping (three if you count Anaheim).


So my esteemed colleague, Bill Plaschke, chronicled the team's history in the city, covering all the L.A. Story high points, from Fears (Tom) to Fearsome (Foursome), in beautiful prose.

But holy Roman Gabriel, has all been forgotten?

There was nothing more excruciating than being a Rams fan throughout the 1970s. They made a kid's life miserable, a teenager's winter days filled with angst.  As a 21st birthday present, there was a blown fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl.

Pal Bill wrote about the Dutchman, Crazy Legs, Mr. Outside, Night Train and Hacksaw. You can counter that with Joe Kapp, Roger Staubach, Hollywood Henderson and, of course, Bobby [Bleeping] Bryant.

The playoffs, for a young devoted Rams fan, were a trip to the dentist ... in 1886.

There was that 17-7 halftime lead over the Minnesota Vikings in 1969. The Rams froze, literally and figuratively, Kapp didn't.

Dave Elmendorf and Steve Preece collided in Dallas during the 1973 playoff game. The Keystone Kop moment resulted the Cowboys' Drew Pearson racing 83 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.

Tom Mack, the Rams' All-Pro guard,  was frozen to the tundra with the ball on the 1-yard line in 1974. Yet he was still flagged for illegal procedure, and an intercepted pass followed in  a 14-10 loss to the (ugh) Vikings.

Getting off the road and into the Coliseum was no help.

Staubach threw four touchdowns in the Cowboys' rout in 1975. The Vikings and rain came in 1978, and Pat Haden, quarterback and future hand model for Lego figures, couldn't grip the ball. The Cowboys again in 1978, with the audacious Henderson adding the coup de grace, prancing downfield on an interception return.

But for undiluted pain there was Bryant. The Rams chewed up the Vikings on their first drive in the 1976 NFC title game, getting within inches of the goal line. Coach Chuck Knox -- Ground Chuck -- went with a Hamburger Helper decision. The field goal attempt was blocked, Bryant sailed downfield with the ball. A father and son stared at each other in disbelief on a couch in San Clemente.

Even when the Rams finally got to the Super Bowl, it was just a tease. They sprinted to the other end of the Rose Bowl when the third quarter ended, taking a 19-17 lead with them. It was the Pittsburgh Steelers who had the finishing kick in a 31-19 victory.

Yes, Bill, the Rams were family: generous, rich relatives during the regular season, deadbeat uncles during the playoffs.