LOS ANGELES RAMS: JOE RAM
The Los Angeles Rams were the first NFL team that Joe Ramirez had ever heard of and he stuck by them, through thick and the thin. Now they're back! Created by Bud Light and VICE Digital Services.
CREATED BY BUD LIGHT AND VICE DIGITAL SERVICES
Joe Ramirez has been waiting for this season for a very long time. The Los Angeles Rams were the first NFL team that Joe Ramirez had ever heard of and he stuck by them, through thick and the thin. Now they're back, Joe's superfandom can finally be recognized.
How did you fall in love with your team? What is your first memory around your NFL team?
I became a Rams fan during the 1968-69 season. They were the first NFL Team I ever heard of. I started watching their games on TV and listening to them on a transistor radio. Since I played Football in High School, I watched the games to learn how to play my position of wide receiver better. The player I watched was Jack Snow, #84. I loved watching Roman Gabriel, #18, throw the ball to Jack Snow and watching him make those incredible sideline passes. That's when I got hooked!
How, when, and why did you start dressing up, collecting, or becoming more than a regular ordinary fan?
My family started noticing that I had become a Diehard Rams fan, so one Christmas they bought me a replica Rams letterman jacket, which I wore until it fell apart on me. Since then, unless it was a formal event, I wore Rams clothing everywhere, all the time. It was at that time (when I was 11 years old) that I started collecting all types of Rams memorabilia. As I got older and started to work, the amount, variety, and price of the memorabilia got larger.
What is your favorite NFL moment or team memory?
There are actually two. First, in 1979 when the Rams finally beat Dallas' team, which allowed the Rams to advance to the Super Bowl (that was the year that Jack Youngblood played with a broken leg). The second was when the Rams won their first Super Bowl (XIV).
What distinguishes you from other fans of your team?
My loyalty to the Rams has never wavered. When they left Los Angeles, while most Ram fans were upset with the Rams and started supporting different teams, I continued being a diehard fan. I wore Rams jerseys when it was not very popular. I bleed blue and gold 24/7, and I show it with my clothing and my cars.
How did you develop your costume / get your nickname / develop your superfan persona?
Several years ago my daughter gave me a pair of foam Ram's horns, and I got the idea of putting them on a hard hat so that I could wear it whenever the Rams came to Phoenix or San Diego to play. After I made it, I told my brother "This is going to get me on TV in Phoenix, just watch." And indeed, I came out on TV during the Rams versus Cardinals game. So I decided to start wearing it to the rallies our club held all over the Los Angeles area and suddenly it became a very recognizable icon for the "Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams" campaign. Afterwards, I made another one with the blue and white colors so I can alternate depending on the colors I'm wearing.
My loyalty to the Rams has never wavered!
My nickname, "The Silver Fox", was actually given to me about ten years ago by the Rams Booster Club's President Ralph Valdez. This was primarily because of my white hair.
The superfan persona actually was developed over time. When people first met me, the one thing they remembered about me was that I always wore Rams clothing. Secondly, when they started speaking to me about the Rams, I would promote the Rams as my team and share my certainty that one day they would return to Los Angeles.
What is your favorite keepsake or piece of memorabilia?
An autographed picture of Roman Gabriel personalized to me.
When did you start collecting / building your fan cave?
I had all my memorabilia in my bedroom when I was young. When I married and got my first house, I placed it all in one room.
What is your game day ritual? How do you prefer to watch the game?
I always get up on game day and select a particular color and jersey number for that game. I will only wear old school colors. I watch all of the games at the Banquet Hall (Maggie's Pub) with my SoCal Rams Booster Club friends unless we travel to the game.
How does it feel to be known by your friends and peers as a die-hard fan?
It feels very good. I have made hundreds of new friends over the years. People recognize me everywhere I go and as more and more pictures are published of me, more and more people become my friends. Sometimes I feel a little embarrassed, because since it became evident that the Rams are returning a lot of people come up to me and ask if they can take a picture with me.
What is the best thing about your team?
After 21 years of absence, they are back to where they belong. Now they can continue their history of firsts. We were the first team to play in the West Coast, the first to have an African American player on the team, (Kenny Washington, from the Los Angeles area and an alumni of my High School, Lincoln High School), and the first team to have a Logo on their helmet.
All images by Ben Colen.
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