For those of you regular listeners to the Dave Dameshek Football Program, the gang likes to debate which jersey is the ultimate jersey for a fan of a team to wear. In our first discussion about ultimate Packers jerseys, Max McGee edged out many of the Packers' greats, including Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and Don Hutson.
So, who would be the ultimate Rams jersey to own? In fact, if the Rams were to move back to Los Angeles, what jersey should I wear to that game? Dave will give his answer during the podcast on Thursday, but I am going to reveal my answers here.
Best of the rest
There are going to be a lot of great names who will not make this list for the ultimate Rams jersey. There is Merlin Olsen, Flipper Anderson, Jerome Bettis and Carl Ekern. That blue No. 55 sure looks handsome, and Eckern was a favorite of mine during the 1980s. The only problem with wearing the jersey of an obscure player is most think it's a personalized jersey. Actually, that's not a problem at all. This is an homage to the longtime Rams fans.
Considered: Isaac Bruce - No. 80
Bruce would be an interesting choice. Bruce was the last of the Los Angeles Rams still active in the NFL. And it would be a great nod to him to wear this jersey to the first Los Angeles Rams game. The only problem, he finished his career with the 49ers. That is inexcusable. You can't play for the hated rivals. What, did the Raiders not want a receiver at the end of his career? How dare you. As the Ara Parseghian character in "Rudy" said, "You just went from third team to the prep team! Get out of here!"
6. Nolan Cromwell - No. 21
A longtime favorite of many Rams fans and was a member of the NFL's 1980s all-decade team as a safety. Cromwell is currently the team's receivers coach, which would seem strange until you remember that he was a quarterback in college. As an added bonus, you could go sans the nameplate and see if any of the longtime fans remember another No. 21 who roamed the secondary for the Rams, Eddie Meador.
5. Vince Ferragamo - No. 15
Ferragamo is an interesting figure in Rams history. Lawrence McCutcheon threw the only touchdown pass in Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl history. And Ferragamo's interception killed the team's chances in Super Bowl XIV (a game the Rams were leading going into the fourth quarter). But Ferragamo did throw the touchdown bomb to Billy Waddy to beat the Cowboys in the 1979 playoffs. Of course, when the Rams were out-bid by a CFL team for Ferragamo, that pretty much showed what fans could expect from the Georgia Frontiere regime in Anaheim. And you know how that ended.
4 Eric Dickerson - No. 29
Dickerson's trade on Halloween night 1987 caused me to give up trick or treating forever. That, and the fact that I was now a teenager. Still, that Halloween night signaled the beginning of the end for the Los Angeles Rams. Sure, there was one last trip to the 1989 NFC Championship Game. But the less said about that game, the better. Dickerson made the Rams cool again once he joined the team in 1983. And I still contend he is a top-three running back of all-time (with Jim Brown and Walter Payton). But his recent comments critical of Los Angeles sports fans moves him down the list. In fact, I want to knock off the nameplate and tell people it's a Tommy McDonald jersey.
3. Fred Dryer - No. 89
Dryer might have been the coolest player to don a Rams uniform. To be honest, my recollection of his playing days might be a little fuzzy given my age, but how many players have allowed you to bond with both of your parents? My dad was a longtime fan of Dryer as a football player, and my mother loved the pistol-totting, wise-cracking Hunter from the NBC series of the same name. My favorite Dryer statistic: He holds the NFL record for most safeties in a game.
2. Deacon Jones - No. 75
Hate to even list this one as the second choice. To be honest, I consider this to be the jersey that I would wear in the second half of the game. Jones is the greatest Ram of all-time, and it always astonished me that his number was not retired until recently. This is the game's (unofficial) all-time sack leader. He even coined the term, "sack." My only wish is that I knew somebody in the NFL who could help get all of his sacks recognized (sacks did not become an official statistic until 1982). In fact, calling him the Rams' all-time greatest might not be enough. Jones is the greatest defensive player in NFL history.
1. Jack Youngblood - No. 85
Why Youngblood over Jones, you ask? I only saw Jones play via NFL Films. I grew up watching Jack Youngblood. I even owned a "Jack the Ripper" T-shirt as a kid which, looking back now, seems kind of inappropriate. Youngblood was my favorite player of all-time. We all know the story about Youngblood playing in Super Bowl XIV. What most people don't know is that Youngblood also played in the Pro Bowl the following week with a broken leg. Remember that the next time a player begs out of the Pro Bowl. The only caveat to making this jersey truly great is that the nameplate has to have his full name, "Jack Youngblood."