Things You Don’t Want to Hear, Volume 1 : Why You Should Root for the Rams on Sunday

February 11, 2022

With the Chiefs focused on 2022, the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will square off in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday. Here’s why you should consider pulling for the Rams.

 

Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus

Charles Robinson @CRob5769

 

 

When the Rams traded Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for Matt Stafford last March, it became clear that they were pushing a majority of their chips to the center of the table, making it clear that their vision was to win a championship in the next couple of seasons. With Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey’s cap numbers climbing over the next 3 years, and Donald turning 30 before the 2021 season kicked off, the window clearly became “now” for the Rams. With a 7-1 start to the regular season, the Rams made another move that made their objective clear – they traded their 2022 2nd and 3rd round draft picks to the Denver Broncos for Von Miller. 11 days later, they signed recently cut Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. to a 1-year contract. By mid-November, the Rams had no more chips left in their hand – they were all in on winning this Super Bowl. 

 

So here we are, with the river card yet to be turned over, the Rams are one win away from their massive bets paying off. Miller has been a monster in the pass rush for the Rams, and OBJ has looked more like the once in a lifetime talent he was in his first few seasons with the Giants than the malcontent superstar that was supposed to make the Browns a Super Bowl contender. Stafford has been unbelievable this season as well, particularly when connecting with all-world wideout Cooper Kupp. Kupp had the second most prolific single season by a wide receiver in league history in 2021, only missing Calvin Johnson’s 2012 single season yardage record by 17 yards. Granted, Johnson did that in 16 games where Kupp had 17, but the point stands. The man behind the two best receiving seasons of all time? Matthew Stafford.  

 

With all the talk of new defensive pieces (Miller) and all of the offensive prowess (Stafford, Kupp, Beckham) that the Rams have showed in 2021, it would be foolish to fail mentioning the Rams best player – Aaron Donald. Donald was again a first team All-Pro in 2021, bringing that honor home for the 7th time in his 8 year career. The only year he wasn’t a first team All-Pro? His rookie season when he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. Donald also won Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, 2018, and 2020. A case could be made that Donald is the best defensive player of all time, but is almost certainly the best defensive tackle the league has ever seen. To make matters more tenuous for the rest of the league, he posted career highs in several statistical categories in 2021. He has a career high 84 tackles, with 19 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks from his interior position this season. He racked up 25 quarterback hits and was near career highs in pass breakups (4, as a 6’1”, 284 lb defensive tackle) and forced fumbles (4). 

 

All of these stats are fantastic, but if you’re a fan of the league you know all of this. So what do we really drill down into to find a reason to root for the team that’s taken the LeBron approach to winning now? The argument could be made that the Rams are the NFL’s closest resemblance to a NBA super team with all of the talent they have accumulated over the course of the last calendar year. Will it pay off? If I’m being honest – I really hope not. My despise for the Rams has been well documented on the blog (you can find references in almost every Red Friday pick’em piece where I clamored all year that they were frauds, or a more in depth breakdown in my Revenge Tour blog following the Wild Card round) this year, so finding a reason to actually cheer for them has been tough for me. But, I have found a reason, and as a little change up we’re adding a twist to this post. With the help of our staff writers Jake and Jarrod, the entire Chiefs Focus team is brining you the site’s first ever collablog. 

 

Made that up on the fly, so if it doesn’t stick don’t be surprised. But we’ve all cooked up a reason for Chiefs Kingdom to pull for the Rams in Super Bowl LVI, even if you harbor as much hate in your heart for the franchise as I do. We’ll start by looking at Jarrod and Jake’s much more rational and well-versed takes, and end with my half-hearted attempt to talk you into something I truly don’t believe myself. 

 

Jarrod’s Case for the Rams (follow Jarrod at @JarrodChiefsFcs) 

 

From 1995 to 2015, the Los Angeles Rams called St. Louis, Missouri home before moving to the City of Angels, where the team had spent 49 of its first 58 seasons (the team didn’t play in 1943 because of World War II). I remember when the Chiefs made Super Bowl LIV, a lot of former and current Rams fans said they would root for the Chiefs in the game to support the state of Missouri. Chiefs fans could potentially return the favor to them and root for the Rams, even though they do not play in Missouri anymore. The Rams, during their tenure in St. Louis, did have some rough times, which gets forgotten because of the Greatest Show on Turf years and their success since moving back to LA. From 2006 to 2012, they were one of only two teams that had fewer losses than our Chiefs. 

 

To add to this, and it will make more sense when you can tie this into my reasons to root for the Bengals – if you happen to be a Missouri fan, since the Bengals don’t have any Missouri players, them having two Jayhawks on the team and a Jayhawk on the coaching staff might be a reason for you to consider rooting for the Rams as well. Also, former Mizzou tight end (and son of former Chief Jerry Blanton) is a member of the Rams, coming up clutch in the playoffs thus far. 

 

Jake’s Case for the Rams (follow Jake at @JakeWhite58) 

 

Being from Kansas City, MO some would assume I have an affinity for our former cross-state brother the Los Angeles Rams.  But I have never had any love for them during their tenure in St. Louis and despised them during the “Greatest Show on Turf” days.  But this year, I will cheer for them. And the reason is simple, great talent, great respect, and the NFC.

 

One, I am a sore loser. I have never been the guy to root for a team that came out of our division, or our conference.  But I don’t have to stretch far to find a reason to cheer for the Rams this season.  The underdog story is being spun for the Cincinnati Bengals.  Joe Burrow, the cool up-and-comer, versus the big bad Super Team Rams, and on paper the Rams are the Super Team. All-World Aaron Donald, All-Talent Jalen Ramsey, Cooper (MVP?) Kupp, but the story I am rooting for is the obvious one.  Former Detroit Lion Matthew Stafford

 

The Detroit Lions have been so bad for so long that they have this sympathy about them.  Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, and only to play in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.  Stafford has always been given the “great, but never elite” tag in most preseason lists due to the team he played on.  After this season he can finally shed those tags.  He has been an elite QB this year and the team has relied on him to get to the Super Bowl.  This isn’t like when Tom Brady went to the Buccaneers and won, this is not the same as Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos and winning.  This is Matthew Stafford showing the world that he is great, we just never saw it before.

 

Charles’ Case for the Rams (follow Charles at @CRob5769) 

 

This is so hard for me to actually come up with something to root for a team that I have been forced into despising for most of my life. Ever since 1999, when the Rams bottled up some lightning and signed Kurt Warner to spur the Greatest Show on Turf Rams that Jake and Jarrod both mentioned in their write ups, it seemed like Rams fans came out of the woodwork. In college, numerous friends from closer to St. Louis would rub the Chiefs lack of recent championships in my face. Numerous late-night debates surrounding which franchise was better historically ended with no real resolution and with me on the short end of the stick, with multiple folks taking the Rams side and me carrying the Chiefs flag. Don’t get me wrong – my dislike for the Rams doesn’t resemble at all my hatred for the Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers, or any team led by Tom Brady (RIP) – but it’s the next tier down. But every team has a redeeming quality or player, right? Even the Rams. 

 

As I was thinking through this, I tried to zero in on a guy that I’d like to see win a championship. I don’t really care for Stafford, think Aaron Donald is kind of a jackass, and certainly am not a Jalen Ramsey fan. Cooper Kupp’s story is cool but overplayed. Then, as my offensive line mind kicked in, it came to me. Andrew Whitworth. Whitworth is 40 years old and is in search of his first Super Bowl championship. To top it off – he’ll get his second crack at a ring against his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals drafted Whitworth in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft out of LSU. He spent 11 of his 16 seasons in Cincinnati, never winning a playoff game. In five seasons in LA, he’s been a stalwart left tackle for the Rams, and made a run to the Super Bowl against the Patriots in 2018-2019 but fell one game short of capturing the Lombardi Trophy. For a 4-time Pro Bowler and 2 time first team All Pro, his resume is arguably Canton worthy, but a Super Bowl win as a 40 year old left tackle for an explosive offense could help strengthen the case for Whitworth. 

 

He’s played in 14 playoff games in his career and given up zero sacks. In 11 seasons in the NFL, he’s missed 18 games total. As my first offensive line coach in college would have said, he has been a “wardaddy” his entire career. He’s been nominated as the Rams Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate for four consecutive seasons. Last year, during the onset of the COVID pandemic, he donated $250K to local Los Angeles food banks. He is without a doubt one of the good guys in this league and seeing him win one is something everyone should get behind. Added bonus – his wife is a former Miss Louisiana winner. Always good to see the big dogs land the pretty ladies. 

 

Man, that was hard. As soon as I’m done with this and submit to the blog, I’m burning these clothes and taking a shower. In all seriousness, it’s always beneficial to try to find the good aspects of bad situations. The Chiefs sitting at home while the Bengals and Rams play for the Lombardi is definitely a bad situation, but it’s one that we should all be able to find some good in. There’s one more football game for the world to (somewhat) enjoy on Sunday, and we hope we’ve given you some valid reasons to pull for the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. 

 

We’ll be back tomorrow with the same argument for the Cincinnati Bengals.

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