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Everett Is on Verge of Becoming Rams' All-Time Passing Leader, but One Play May Always Be His . . . : Defining Moment

September 03, 1993|T.J. SIMERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When you think of Jim Everett, you think of :

a) One of the best quarterbacks in the league.

b) The greatest passer in Ram history.

c) A future Hall of Famer.

d) That play on which he just fell down for fear of being hit


Jim Everett had agreed to view videotape of that play --the phantom sack in the 1990 NFC championship game--that defining moment for those who think the Rams' foundation for success now rests on a shaky quarterback.

The Rams provided the VCR and the office, and upon arrival, Everett closed the doors.

"Leave the tape recorder on," Everett said. "I want all this on the record."

A week earlier, an easygoing Everett had accepted this invitation without a fuss. But the quarterback, who some might consider skittish in the pocket, was on the offensive.

"What we're doing is going back 3 1/2 years to a point in a period of time," Everett said. "What I want to know is how much research has been done? How many other films have been watched? What's the score when this happens? What period is it?

"You want me to explain about one section, one period, one moment in time. Call it fair, call it unfair, I don't really care to be judged on one section. I think every pro has had great moments and has had down moments. I'm not requiring you to do the highlights of Jim Everett's career--that's bull, too.

"All I'm asking before we would ever watch this, is yeah, people have said this and people have said that, but how did we make it to that game? How did we get there? How did we win the game before it? How did we win the two games before it? Those type of questions I ask before we get to that.

"What kind of things were happening all around us? What kind of things--which you don't have the answers for and ones I won't talk about--were happening with my personal life?"

The videotape was cued to that play and Everett sat directly in front of the television. But the VCR remained off.

"Right now, I'm about ready to set all the Ram records," Everett said. "I'm the best passer the Rams have ever had. I don't know about watching this film right now. I'm sitting here, and that's why I want this to be on the record right now.

"I feel the only reason I would allow any of this is because we haven't won a Super Bowl. And I've been associated with winning nine games the last two years, which I think is not right because I've always been involved with a winning program.

"There's no excuses. There's decisions I could have made better, as could a lot of people around me. I don't push off the blame on others, I accept it. I'm not saying I'm such a fool to be the captain of the ship, and I'm going to be at the bottom of the ocean, but I'll tell you what, I'll probably end my career with a lot of things kept to myself.

"I think my courage is impeccable. I stand in there with the situation as good as anybody, and I know when to get out as good as anybody. That might have something to do with my success playing five years straight.

"You can't tell me that a guy can play for five years straight in the NFL and be a (wimp). I mean if you can say that, and people believe that, then they got (a problem). This game is tough, day in and day out, week in and week out, and I've been there every game, and playing my . . . off every game. I don't believe that someone can say, 'Yeah, that guy's a (wimp).' I can't believe that because if they gave me a six-gun, I'd be the baddest (guy) there is."

But what about that play and the impact it has made on fans ever since?

"I don't have to explain it," Everett said. "That moment in time could happen to anybody. You have a feel in the pocket. I knew exactly what was going on, I thought I felt something. It wasn't there. It's been a big moment. But it's probably happened a couple of other times. I can probably name a few other times."


Candlestick Park, Jan. 14, 1990.

The Rams took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter of the NFC championship game.

But San Francisco fired back with three unanswered touchdowns before halftime. Mike Cofer's field goal extended the 49ers' lead to 24-3 in the third quarter, and the Rams were going nowhere.

Everett had completed 12 of 25 passes for 125 yards and thrown three interceptions when he approached the line of scrimmage in the final moments of the third quarter for that play.

Pat Summerall on TV: "Third and 10."

The 49ers put four defenders on the line of scrimmage, but rushed only three. The Rams employed five blockers to protect Everett.

Ram left tackle Irv Pankey engaged Larry Roberts. Defensive tackle Kevin Fagan took on the interior of the Ram line, while Charles Haley went wide on right tackle Jackie Slater--the two moving out of Everett's sight.

Summerall: "There was no target, and Everett goes down."

Pankey had Roberts, Slater cut the legs out from under Haley, and Fagan was no threat.

But Everett went down. He ducked as if he had been hit, wrapped his arms around the ball, hit the turf and brought his knees to his chest.

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