When the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 I was, for at least 30-40 minutes, possibly the most obnoxious person on the face of the earth. I was tanked about eight hours before the game started and ended up throwing up on myself mere seconds after Mike Jones took down Kevin Dyson a yard short of the end zone. In between those two points in time, I lost my voice, regained my voice, and lost my voice again.
And yes, I was in a room full of Titans fans. I didn’t really feel it was necessary to clean up after myself.
As Rams fans we like to think that we’re a pretty tortured fan base. When the Rams came to St. Louis in 1995, I was starting high school and couldn’t drive. Less than five years later, we were watching our team hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in the Georgia Dome. In that timespan I got a driver’s license, bought some cigarettes, and attended a prom... but I still couldn’t (legally) drink at a bar.
Looking back, those crappy 95-98 teams were bad. But not nearly as bad as the 07- 09 teams. At least we could count on Toby Wright to attempt a highlight reel hit (the gain on the play be damned) and observe Tony Horne deciding each kickoff if he wanted to cross the 20-yard-line or snort it.
Hell, even Rich Brooks was willing to go down in flames if he had wallow in the stench of awfulness.
Then in 1999, just when the Rams signed a big time free agent for the first time (Trent Green) and traded for a mercurial (sort of) superstar (at the time) named Marshall Faulk—we thought we had the makings of something. Maybe not the best team in the world... but good enough to beat the effing 49ers.
Rodney Harrison made sure that we all had paid invites to the party-cum-Dick Vermeil forced retirement called the preseason. Down went Green. In comes something called a Kurt Warner. Grocery bagger by day, baby-making-machine by night. He and his flattop were about to turn St. Louis into a football town for the first time.
The 1999 season was odd from the gun. The Rams had a strong start in Week 1, with a 27-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens... then had a bye in week 2. I didn’t even know the NFL did Week 2 byes, but the record indicates that there was one indeed.
Eventually the Rams reeled off six wins before finally falling to the Titans on a Halloween game in Nashville I remember vividly. I was there and got whipped in the face by some lady's pom-pom. Before I could even react to such an indignation, her man had grabbed her, pinned her to a wall and was ‘setting her straight’.
Most honorable fan I’ve yet met from the opposition.
The Rams would fall the following week to the crap Detroit Lions and I do remember wondering if the wheels were falling off. Turns out the Rams wouldn’t drop another game until week 17 against the Eagles, in a game that turned out to be more meaningful for the Eagles than the Rams.
But the post-season. That’s where it was damn cool.
The first home playoff game in STL football history was an EPIC beat-down against the Vikings. 49 points like THAT.
The Bucs came to St. Louis for the NFC Championship. Richard Proehl etched his name in our collective memory forever.
And then the Super Bowl. Still the best game I’ve ever seen. Feel free to argue that point... but for a fan of a team to win like that? Well, that’s never going to be topped.
So now 11 years later, the Rams are once again in the slums, albeit better prepared with the current group to come out of their years-long malaise than the one they had in 1998... sans-playoffs for quite some time. And while 11 years is a long time, when we look back, the 1999 season probably gave us 11 years worth of highlights in one five-month span.
In fact, 11 years exactly. What do you say we call it even Rams? We’re ready for another dose.