I realize now how much I miss the Rams being a playoff caliber team. Today there was unbelievable drama on the football fields of the NFL.
The Indianapolis-Pittsburgh AFC game was not much to get wound up about until the last ten minutes of action. Pittsburgh pretty well had their way with the Colts until the late going. Then the Colts came to life and almost won it thanks to a controversial decision by the officials on an instant replay of an inerception that should have sewn it up for Pittsburgh. And then, after the Steelers took over on downs inside the Colts 5 yard line very late in the game, Jerome Bettis fumbled on a play that would have put the game out of reach had he scored. The fumble was returned all the way into Pittsburgh territory, and could have gone for a TD, but Ben Roethlisberger saved the day with a clutch tackle. Then Indy still had a chance to take the lead with a field goal by the usually reliable Mike Vanderjagt...but he missed and the drama was over.
The Chicago-Carolina game was a head scratcher too. It figured to be a defensive struggle. But, the offenses had answers and made it a much more high-scoring game than anyone expected. Lots of drama toward the end of that one too. Carolina wins and goes to Seattle for the NFC championship next weekend.
The games today remind me that back in the Rams glory days of '99-'02-'04?...well, before things fell apart this year, I tried to remind myself that I should really savor those playoff games and special moments with Warner & Co., the good Martz days, the Super Bowl win, and even the loss. We just don't get the chance to have too many post-season parties in any sport, so when they come along, we have to really cherish them.
Do you remember the feeling that raced through your body when Mike Jones made the tackle to clinch the Super Bowl in '99. I do. Do you remember the excitement that engulfed St. Louis when Bruce Sutter struck out Gorman Thomas to win the World Series in '82? I do. Do you remember the Stanley Cup being paraded down Market Street in....uh, never mind.
But, you get the idea. Today's NFL games remind me how fortunate were were to get the Rams in the early '90s from L.A. and how at least they give us the chance to be involved in playoff excitement... much more so than Billy Bidwill, nice a guy as he may be, ever did. When the special moments come along in sports, we should drink in the atmosphere and tuck away those feelings, to bring out and do a replay in our minds on days like this.
Let's hope John Shaw picks the right coach so we don't have to wait too long for more of those moments.