My team has been the St. Louis Rams as long as I can remember, and I’ve followed them religiously since I was 10. More specifically, I was a Los Angeles Rams fan, back in the days of Jim Everett, Flipper Anderson, Henry Ellard, John Robinson, Gaston Green, Roman Phifer, Kevin Greene, Todd Lyght, etc.
In junior high school, I would wear a Jim Everett t-shirt to school every week (it was my “Tuesday” shirt – did anyone else wear the same thing every week, btw? I’ve reverted to similar patterns as an adult after worrying about clothes when I was in high school), and I’d get teased religiously by the LA Raider fans and the SF 49ers fans who consistently outperformed the Rams.
The 49ers in particular owned us, and I still remember pulling my hair out when we got pummeled 30-3 in 1989, and Jim Everett’s confidence was shaken after the phantom sack. Painful.
It was equally painful watching the Rams move to St. Louis. I didn’t know what to think of it, and I felt a bit empty when rooting for them. I still followed Pro Football, but more so with a rooted interest in my favorite players, like Barry Sanders and yes, Jim Everett.
And then 1999 came along, and a guy named Kurt Warner took the helm after Trent Green went down in the preseason.
And then the Rams inexplicably were 3-0 heading into an October contest with the 49ers, a team that had owned us for longer than I was alive.
And then we destroyed them. Like, really destroyed them. We beat them 42-20, and Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt were running wild on Ken Norton Jr, Bryant Young, and Tim McDonald. I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled beyond belief.
Memories of 30-3 faded as the Rams rode their grocery man quarterback into Super Bowl glory.
I was a fan again, even though Georia Fronteire dissed LA by saying after the Super Bowl that it was the best move to get out of LA. Ouch.
But still, I had a team.
I rooted hard for them when they played the Pats a couple of years later, and the loss ruined me for a few weeks.
I still rooted for the Rams religiously following the loss to the Pats in 2002, but then they gave up on Warner a few years later, and then I felt a bit empty again, especially because I thought it was a premature exit of the man who had lifted the franchise to prominence. Warner, of course, would go on to storied success with Arizona after a two year stint in NY.
I’ve still been rooting for the Rams, but I’m certainly not as passionate as I once was for the team. Without ties to LA and without Warner and the greatest show on turf, my fandom has waned, although I still look up draft picks and analyze the roster every year.
It certainly hasn’t helped that the team has been horrible in recent years.
So lately, I’ve been rooting for players that I like, mostly guys who came from Cal, like Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and Jahvid Best (Lions). I root for these teams more than I root for the Rams, I realize, and that led me to confront the difficult truth that I am no longer a Rams fan, and that St. Louis has never been my city.
So as you can see, I’ve decided to choose a new team, one which makes sense considering my affections toward my hometown city (LA), and my new city (NYC).
I obviously can’t root for any LA teams because there are none. And I realize that even if expansion were to birth a new team, I no longer have ties to LA like I once did.
This is a HUGE decision, then, because this clearly affects the interests of any future kids God might bless us with, as well as the offspring that might come in future generations down the line.
With this, I would like to declare my new allegiance.
J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!
Why the Jets over the Giants?
This is a tough question to answer, considering the Giants gave me perhaps the most thrilling SB moment I’ve ever experienced (watching them beat the Pats who were trying to become the greatest team of all time).
But ultimately, here’s what it came down to:
1) The Jets play the Pats twice/year, every year as they play in the same division. I despise the Pats like no other, and this gives me an easy opportunity to get hyped about the Jets, especially as they battle the Pats directly for playoff positioning and bragging rights.
2) Rich Villodas is a crazy Jets fan. The guy has seriously rubbed off on me, and I find myself rooting for the Jets just so that Rich will be in a good mood.
3) At my first NLF Memorial Day picnic in 2002, Mike Favilla wore a Vinny Testaverde Jets jersey (#16) and caught the game winning touchdown pass from me in a hotly contested game we played at Jones Beach State Park.
4) The Jets, kind of like the Mets, take on more of an “underdog” role in the city. Sure, Buddy Ryan is brash and the players are cocky, but the Jets don’t have the same championship history as the Giants, and they have a more miserable/forlorn fanbase (see Rich Villodas).
I’ve usually sided with the less popular/successful teams in LA (Rams, Clippers, and Angels), so it makes sense to go with the “underdog” of NY.
You might say, “Drew, it’s really convenient that you’re rooting for them now their Super Bowl favorites”, and while I’d agree with that assessment, any Jets fan will tell you to stop jinxing them by saying they’re favorites.
Now that, ladies in gentlemen, is why I’m a Jets fan.
*Mike Park has also declared his allegiance informally, but I’d love for him to make a public announcement if he has indeed made the decision. He’s the one to first broach the subject with me.