In 1995, unbeknownst to Tim Harris, then the San Francisco 49ers' linebacker, the tone for the St. Louis Rams franchise was set: "Same old sorry ass Rams."
Those words were inflammatory at the time. But more shockingly, they continue to be prescient in 2011. The Rams are markedly consistent in only one thing: losing.
A season removed from a losing season that many considered a success, the Rams are in the midst of a 0-3 start where they've surrendered 96 points and gotten humiliated at home twice. When the culture of a franchise is such that we're holding a 7-9 record as the litmus test for success, the bar just isn't set that high.
No, the Rams are a collective of losers. And it permeates everything.
It doesn't have to be this way. Honestly. I know it's always a dangerous path to compare across sports, but think about the St. Louis baseball Cardinals. The general standard for a bad baseball team is what? 100 losses? Is that fair? When is the last time that franchise lost 100 games in a season?
103 years is a long time. And while the Cardinals have had some less than stellar efforts in the past century, they also haven't gotten to that point of complete loserdom where the fan base throws up their hands and says - GAH! Horrible!
It's a culture of winning. They hold themselves to higher standards because the fans hold them to higher standards. They don't play patty cake and make balloon animals when the team gets close to .500—they take to the message boards and scorch earth.
Maybe the baseball comparison isn't fair in your eyes, though. It's not the same as the NFL. So what's a piss poor season in the NFL? 12 losses? When's the last time the Steelers had a 12 loss season?
Your parents were still in high school. The Beatles were the biggest thing going. And the internet was straight out of a L. Ron Hubbard seminar... in person.
Pittsburgh isn't New York or Chicago. It's freaking Pittsburgh. One of the few cities in America that we can all agree has no business being good at anything except utilizing the BAC meters' tenth digit, instead of blowing in the hundredths. Amazingly, they've built a football powerhouse. A franchise with as many Super Bowl wins as any other. Because they don't accept losing.
St. Louis is exceedingly nice to their teams. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz put it best when he wrote that St. Louis might be the most attractive market for baseball free agents because if they do great, they get all the adulation, and when they fail... it's the manager's fault.
And while civility is always encouraged, indifference is nothing more than a free pass to continue suckage. The Cardinals fans, for all their clapping at sacrifice bunts and cheering for opponents when spectacular plays are made, do hold the team accountable to winning. It might be passive-aggressive anger... but it's anger.
Rams fans just don't seem to care.
We've been mocked nationwide for the Rams Rules. We've borne witness to the worst three weeks of football many of us can remember out of a possible three weeks of football. We've wasted our free time with a product that has the potential to be good—but no one bothered to actually make it good.
And it's being met with a collective meh.
Where's the anger? The team leaders ripping into the play these three weeks? The coaches vowing big changes? The talk of the hot seats?
I can't find it.
And I'm not surprised.
Because that's what losers do—find a way to rationalize it and move on without ever addressing the problem.
Sound familiar? Tim Harris was more right than he ever could have known.