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Column: Future is bright for young Rams despite Super Bowl loss

ATLANTA, GEORGIA FEBRUARY 3,2019-Rams receiver Robert Woods buries his head after losing to the Patr
Rams receiver Robert Woods walks off the field after losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes Benz Satdium in Atlanta.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

I needed to sit in the crowd, even for a moment, during the Super Bowl.

This wasn’t the kind of game or moment for the city you could take in solely within the sterile confines of a press box.

While the Rams played one of their worst games of the season in front of a crowd that was filled with far more Patriots fans, it was hard to feel the same emotional connection one has to a team they grew up with.

Georgia Frontiere, the late owner of the Rams, stole that from the city when she moved the Rams to St. Louis decades ago. Not only did Los Angeles not have an NFL team, we were used as a threat while 22 new stadiums were built for 23 teams during the 21 years we didn’t have a team.

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So it wasn’t a shock to walk around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday and see Rams fans outnumbered 10-1 by Patriots fans. You hardly saw any Rams fans in the city during Super Bowl week. After Tom Brady won his sixth Super Bowl, he smiled as the crowd chanted his name and said, “The support here was like a home game. We could have been at Gillette Stadium.”

Is that a bad look for Los Angeles? Not really.

When you leave a market for a generation and play with their emotions along the way, it’s hard to capture their hearts the moment you walk through the door. Most of us moved on and picked other teams to cheer for on Sundays. It’s like someone breaking up with you and showing up at your door 21 years later after you’re married with two kids and a mortgage and expecting to pick things up where you left off.

Maybe other cities can do that without a problem. Maybe other cities can just blindly support a team that moves into their backyard to make an extra buck after leaving you, but not Los Angeles. Other cities might call us frontrunners, but we refuse to blindly support a team the moment they plant their flag in the ground here just because they can afford to buy the land and the flag. You have to earn our love, loyalty and money.

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The Rams are on their way to becoming one of Los Angeles’ beloved teams again but it will take time. With Sean McVay, 33, Jared Goff, 24, Todd Gurley, 24, Aaron Donald, 27, Brandin Cooks, 25, Robert Woods, 26, Cooper Kupp, 25 and other talented 20-somethings littering the roster, the Rams will be back sooner or later and when they do return to the Super Bowl, they’ll likely have more support in the stadium and at home than they did on Sunday.

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The only thing worse than the Super Bowl halftime show are people who complain about the Super Bowl halftime show. There’s no excuse not to find other forms of entertainment for 30 minutes if you don’t like the performer. I’m not the biggest Maroon 5 fan so I watched a live WWE event they programmed against the halftime show. Maybe I’m in the minority here but I don’t watch a football game for the musical acts and I certainly don’t go to the NFL for guidance on what music I should listen to.

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Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth is one of the best players and people in the locker room and a go-to quote and he didn’t disappoint even after the most disappointing loss of his career. “I don’t give a crap if you have a hall of fame bust,” Whitworth said. “If you’re a Pro Bowler or win 20 Super Bowls. At the end of the day we’re all gonna die.”

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Who would have thought the Los Angeles Chargers and not the Rams would have the best performance on Super Bowl Sunday? Verizon’s commercial starring Chargers coach Anthony Lynn meeting first responders who saved his life was not only the best Super Bowl commercial this year but made anyone who watched a fan of Lynn and maybe, just maybe, a fan of the team he coaches.

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The over-under for the Super Bowl was 56 points. Anyone who took the under should have been doing something more exciting with their time than watching the halftime show after both teams put America to sleep with a 3-0 score after the first two quarters. That was probably the easiest bet of the night along with Gladys Knight going over one minute, 50 seconds with the national anthem.

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There’s an annual competition for the best Super Bowl party of the weekend and arguably the two best parties took place Saturday at the College Football Hall of Fame with Fanatics throwing a party during the day and Sports Illustrated throwing a party at night. Patriots owner Robert Kraft danced with Cardi B on stage at the Fanatics party and USC athletic director Lynn Swann took a picture with Snoop Dogg, who was the DJ at the Sports Illustrated party. I’m sure disgruntled USC fans will be thrilled to hear that he’s burning the midnight oil trying to turn the program around.

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Danny Trejo wasn’t in a suite for the Super Bowl like many other celebrities. The actor, who brought his Trejo’s Tacos truck to Atlanta for the weekend, was sitting in the lower level with other Rams fans and said this was a dream of his. “I used to sneak into the Coliseum back in 1956 and watch the Rams,” he said. “I always dreamed of watching them win the Super Bowl. They’ll be back.”

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Los Angeles can now focus on the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, Feb. 7 and the Lakers’ pursuit of Anthony Davis and not feel guilty about ignoring the fact that they have a team playing in the Super Bowl.

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The only thing worse than seeing the Celtics beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals, which is something we thankfully haven’t seen since 2008, is seeing the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in the World Series and the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl in a span of four months. The city is in need of another Lakers victory over the Celtics in the Finals to wash this bad taste out of our mouths.


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