With the Rams playing their first home playoff game at the LA Coliseum since 1979, I had the opportunity to chat with award-winning author Jay Paris, who recently just published the book “Game of My Life Rams.” Jay covered the Rams with the OC Register before they moved to St. Louis and covered the Chargers in San Diego for over 20 years.
When I asked Jay about why he wrote the book, he told me “I always wanted to cover the Rams and then they moved away to St. Louis. When they moved back it was a perfect time.” The book is a compilation of 20 Rams legends like Roman Gabriel, Tom Mack, Vince Ferragamo, and even current day players like Johnny Hecker. “The guys tell stories about their most memorable games, whether it be heartbreaking stories of defeat or someone they were playing for in the stands, etc.” “The Rams are the only team to win championships in three cities.”
When I asked Jay about some of the highlights of his book, he referred to Jack Youngblood playing with a broken leg. “He told me that when he broke it, the doctors told him ‘I’m sorry but you have broken your leg’ and Youngblood responded, ‘I could have told you that. I need you to tape it up’. The doctors kept responding ‘I’m sorry Jack, but I can’t’ and after begging the doctor literally told him he had never taped up a leg. So, he called over the trainer to tape his leg. Not only did he finish the NFC Championship Game, but he played in the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl following. He figured if he could play in the Super Bowl, he could do a little dancing around for the Pro Bowl.”
As for the playoff game Saturday night against the Atlanta Falcons, Jay said “this won’t be an easy game for the Rams playing the defending NFC Champions. I can tell you these title teams don’t go down easily. We will see if the Rams can slow down the Falcons, which I think they can. One overlooked aspect of this team is the coaching of Wade Phillips and to have Aaron Donald that’s usually a pretty good start.” When asked about the Rams playoff inexperience Jay points out “The Falcons lost quite a big lead against the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year so they won’t want that to be their calling card in the playoffs, but the Rams played quite a few big games this season and I think that will help them in this game.”
The fact that the Rams are playing a playoff game in the Coliseum is “pretty special” says Jay. “I think you will find a lot of older fans bringing their children and enjoying their first playoff game. I know L.A. gets a bad rap, but I think that place will be amped up for this playoff game. At some point during the game if you are going, look around at the fans. It’s been almost 40 years since the last playoff game here. It’s going to be pretty special.”
Every aspect of this seasons Rams team has been special. Jay says “they are a fun group of guys and it all trickles down from their head coach Sean McVay, he is 31, looks 21 and if you talk to him you’d think he is 81. Enjoy this season and you never know it could end up in Minnesota twice.”
It was great catching up with Jay about his new book “Game of My Life Rams” and the game this Saturday. Jay will be at the team store before the game in Tunnel 28 signing books if anyone wants to go meet him or exchange Rams stories.
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