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MIKE DOWNEY

If They Go 16-0, Few Will Know, Fewer Will Care

October 21, 1985|MIKE DOWNEY

When the Rams end the NFL season unbeaten, they might get a little respect.

Might.

They are 7-0 right now, and pretty soon the following things will happen:

--Nobody on the team will describe the Ram offense as bland.

--Nobody on the team will run into the coach's office and demand to be traded.

--Nobody in the national media will say the Rams haven't played anybody yet.

--Somebody in the national media will take a day off from interviewing Jim McMahon of the Bears and will go west and interview Dieter Brock.

--The coach will not call his own team a "weird bunch of overachievers."

Yes, when the Rams have finished the season without a single loss, some of these things will happen.

Until then, the Weird Bunch goes about its business.

Nobody cares about them. Nobody pays any attention to them. Nobody believes they are for real. Nobody gives them any credit. Nobody thinks this can last.

They are the unloved unbeatens.

Before long, they will be 8-0, 10-0, 12-0.

"The Rams still have a chance to win their division," Jimmy the Greek will say after Week 12.

CBS will televise the 12th consecutive Chicago Bears game as Game of the Week.

Brent Musburger will do an exclusive interview with 45 ex-Bears.

Irv Cross will do profiles of McMahon, Mike Ditka, William (The Refrigerator) Perry and the Illinois state police's radar system for the detection of weaving vehicles.

"In other news," Musburger will mention on his recap of Sunday's games, "the Rams won again."

The Rams will improve their record to 14-0 and newspapers will start running contests: Name Five Rams.

Youngblood, Ferragamo, Merlin, Deacon and Rosey, somebody will write in.

Sports writers from around the country will fly into Los Angeles to see the Rams' next home game.

Ten of them will go to the Coliseum by mistake.

The Rams will open the playoffs with a victory. Somebody will write a letter to a L.A. newspaper demanding to know why the L.A. press gives so much attention to a team that plays in Anaheim.

The Rams will win the Super Bowl in New Orleans, after which Eric Dickerson will remark that the team had better start making better use of its offense.

Coach John Robinson will reply: "I do still see some room for improvement. We're still a weird bunch of overachievers staggering around. After we get a couple more Super Bowls under our belt, we might be all right."

Tight end Mike Barber, traded back to the Rams just before the playoffs, asks to be traded during halftime of the Super Bowl.

The Rams will become the first football team ever to go undefeated and then be forced to throw a parade for themselves because nobody else wants to.

John Madden will be asked which players had good seasons for the Rams. He will say: "Oh, Number 29, Number 78, and what's his number, the left cornerback."

The final game, of course, will have been the first Super Bowl in history not shown on television, the network having given up its rights to the game after the Bears were beaten in the playoffs.

Commissioner Pete Rozelle will award the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player trophy to the Ram kicker, after a record-setting six field goals.

"Nice going, Carney," Rozelle will say.

"Mike," the kicker will say.

"How's that?" Rozelle will ask.

"My name is Mike, not Carney," Lansford will say.

The anonymous unbeatens will celebrate in the locker room by pouring champagne over one another's heads. Offensive players will go up to defensive players, but will be unable to recognize them with their shirts off.

"Are you on my team, man?" Bill Bain will ask.

"Sure! Don't you recognize me? It's me--Cromwell!"

"Oh, yeah. Nice game, Oliver."

"Nolan!" Cromwell will say.

They will be so anonymous, they will not even know each other. The impostor who crashed the Emmy Awards telecast will go into a Ram huddle at the Super Bowl disguised as Dieter Brock, and will run three plays before anybody notices the wrong man is the quarterback of the team.

"He looked and sounded just like Greg," Ron Brown will explain.

"My name is Dieter!" Brock will say.

Owner Georgia Frontiere will come into the locker room after the Super Bowl to join the party. "I'd like to congratulate each and every one of you on having a super season," she will say. "I don't actually know any of your names, but they tell me most of you did a pretty good job."

John Robinson will say: "Yes, there are a few things we still have to work on, but there's still a chance the NFL won't make us forfeit any of our wins."

At the Super Bowl victory parade in downtown Anaheim, the players will line up along the streets and applaud for automobiles filled with fans.

And then, in 1986, the Rams will move to Oakland.

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