Rankman tried his best to act like he didn’t care when the Rams bolted for St. Louis in 1995. It was the journalist in me, feigning indifference to another money-grubbing owner ripping a local institution from its historical moorings. But of course I was pissed off and could not even stomach watching Georgia Frontiere lift the Lombardi Trophy after winning a Super Bowl for St. Louis. The LOS ANGELES Rams came on to my radar as a boy around 1966, when lip-licking coach George Allen raised my NFL consciousness in leading our heroes to the pinnacle of greatness. It was a period of thrilling highs and gut-wrenching heartbreak and all my memories are in black-and-white. Rankman was lucky to end up covering the Rams, for the L.A. Times, in the period roughly from 1983 until 1990. With the Rams coming home after all these years, I thought it would be fun to roll out my top-25 list of all-time favorite Rams. Your list should be different.
The story you are about to read is true. Nothing but my memory has been altered. This REALLY happened.
“You son of a bitch.”
Jim Everett said some variation of that as he walked across the room to greet Ronnie Lott. It was a few years ago, at a Lott Trophy spring luncheon in Newport Beach. “I still can’t believe you got to that ball.”
Three of us were standing there: Everett, Lott, and me. I was chatting up Lott about something or another when Everett, still looking boyish in his 50s, walked over. A quarter century after the fact, we all knew. We were all at Candlestick Park that mid-January day in 1990.
The Amazing Rankman with hindsight
Rankman’s ridiculously LATE top 10 projections for the 2015 football season:
1: Alabama. The Crimson Tide, just like Florida in 2008, can afford a home loss to Ole Miss and still win the national title. Lane Kiffin completes 12-step career rehabilitation program with a second brilliant year as offensive coordinator. We hope Kiffin doesn’t miss the bus on another head coaching opportunity. Word is cloth-coat conservative Nick Saban is going to loosen his tie a bit and take some chances this year. Hey, how about an onsides kick in the national title game? Yeah, right. That’s a funny one.
GLENDALE, Az.–Alabama won a thrilling national title game Monday night because coach Nick Saban got crazy and called for an on-sides kick, in the fourth quarter, of a tied game.
This was Nick Saban who did this, not Steve Spurrier, or Les Miles, or Charles Barkley from a Las Vegas blackjack table. This was Nick S-A-B-A-N, who built his reputation on safe, solid, traditional, cloth-coat football.
GLENDALE, Az.–Nick Saban doesn’t want to be compared to Bear Bryant so we’ll relieve that burden by picking him to lose a game Bear would have won.
“Well, first of all,” Saban said this week, Bear Bryant has to be the greatest coach ever in college football.”
We here at Rankman agree–Pop Warner, go fly a kite!
Saban, as it concerns Bryant, said he should not “be considered anything like him.”
Like him or not, though, a win tonight over Clemson at University of Phoenix Stadium would vault Saban closer to Bryant’s stratosphere. It would give Saban his fifth national title–four at Alabama to go with his one at Louisiana State.
SCOTTSDALE, Az.–Lane Kiffin deserves another chance. Wow, typing that didn’t hurt as much as I thought.
Once upon a time, admittedly, it would have been like saying “Donald Trump is misunderstood.”
The only thing we do better than bring people down is lift them up. We are a righteous lot. We love people to fall, rise, fail, then rise again.
Kiffin is a human elevator. He didn’t deserve three prime head coaching jobs before the age of 35. Of course, he would not exactly admit that Saturday at Media Day in advance of Monday’s national title game between Alabama and Clemson.
SCOTTSDALE, Az.–What an exciting Friday it turned out to be in advance of Monday night’s college football national title between the Alabama Shakes and Clemson Clovers.
Just think of how much better it would get, one thought, once the teams and good weather actually arrived.
It was fifty shades of grey and rainy in Phoenix, prompting a heartfelt apology from Tom Chambers and the chamber of commerce.
Rankman took a break from ark building in advance of El Nino to recap a 40-game bowl season that seemed to last 40 days and 40 nights.
A few observations from the flight deck:
Rankman watched all, or parts, of 40 bowl games over the course of the holiday season and then checked himself into a medical facility loosely named after a low-polling Republican in the presidential race: “Rick’s Sanatorium.”
The bottom line is the second year of the College Football Playoff, compared to the first, tanked. Ratings were down 13% for the New Year’s Six games and the semifinals drew 12.5 million fewer viewers than last year.
The “almost” team from the “not quite”conference put on quite a performance in Friday’s Rose Bowl.
Donald Trump, though, would look at the big picture and say “Loser.”
Christian McCaffrey, the guy who would have won the Heisman Trophy had it been voted on Friday night, led a Stanford team that would have been in the playoff had the committee met once more Saturday morning.
Stanford proved, in its 45-16 win over Iowa, that it is one of the four best teams in the country. McCaffrey set a Rose Bowl record with 368 total yards but won’t get a Heisman recount.
A note to those of you complaining that moving the college football national semifinals to New Year’s Eve has rudely intruded on your social butterfly calendars:
Just whom are you trying to kid? I have seen the police composite sketch on most of you and it does not resemble anything I read in “The Great Gatsby.”