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Seattle in NBA again (maybe) - The Branding Discussion


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As for "what if the Jags replace the Rams HUH?!?!" argument, come on now. That's not going to happen. You might as well ask me what I would do if the Toronto Maple Leafs moved to Honolulu.

Well, pretend it's 1985, and sub it with this:

"Hey, Cardinals fans, you're embracing Dick Lane as one of your own, but what if the Cardinals move to Phoenix and the Rams move here, will you replace Dick Lane with Eric Dickerson?"

That would have been absurd in 1983, yet the Rams wound up in St. Louis a little over a decade later. Now no one in St. Louis cares about Dick Lane or even Otis Anderson, but St. Louis Rams fans have a "right" to celebrate Eric Dickerson's accomplishments even though to many of them he was an enemy when he actually played.

You seem to be operating under the idea that somehow Rams fans are being forced to celebrate Eric Dickerson. They're not. They're certainly free not to care. Personally I don't care if they don't care. That being said, Dickerson's records should remain with the team he played for. The Rams, who are now operating out of St. Louis. If St. Louis fans don't want to celebrate him that's their right, but regardless the Rams should still have the right to claim his accomplishments as their own. And furthermore Rams fans who do want to celebrate Dickerson's accomplishments should be able to without you or anyone else telling them they're bad fans for it.

In reality, very, very few people follow a sports team that moves metro areas. There are no A's fans left in KC or Philly, there are few Thunder fans in Seattle, etc.... Heck, as a purely legal matter, the Rams today are a completely distinct entity than the Rams of Los Angeles. The only connection to the LA Rams is that they own the copyright/trademark to the logo and jersey. Why should a shared history/heritage move because someone bought the rights to some sheets of paper?

So if I start a brand new team in Anchorage Alaska and buy the trademark/copyrights of the Toronto Maple Leafs, are people in Anchorage suddenly supposed to care about teams that won the Cup before they were even a state?

I do believe that, over the course of this discussion, someone mentioned that there are in fact pockets of Cardinals fans in Chicago.

Anyhow, the Los Angeles Rams are a completely different legal entity eh? Want to show your work on that one? Seems pretty clear to me that they aren't. You had the private entity that was the Los Angeles Rams, and then they decided to relocate their base of operations. That constitutes a move and a name change. Not the liquidation of one entity and establishment of another.

And as for your Anchorage Maple Leafs example, guess what? I don't have to play that game. It's a perk of rooting for a team with a nearly century long season ticket waiting list. The Leafs aren't going anywhere, and to entertain a "what if?" scenario would be pointless. If you want to ask me about the Raptors, sure. MLSE might get bored with them at some point.

I'm sorry, Walter Johnson will never be a Minnesota Twins legend, John Capelleti will never be a Big Ten icon, and Eric Dickerson has no business in any St. Louis sports history, even if he wore an identical jersey for a team in Los Angeles.

Walter Johnson will never be a Minnesota Twin. He is, however, a Minnesota Twins legend. It's an important distinction. He never played for the team in Minnesota, but he's still a legendary player for that franchise. Same with Eric Dickerson. He's an important part of Rams football history. Any Rams fan, be they from Cleveland, Los Angeles, St. Louis, or elsewhere, has the right to hold him in high regard. His accomplishments reflect on the team he played for first and foremost, not the city.

A team's identity is much more closely connected to the city it plays in that the jersey or name or organizational structure.

Fans, cities, communities, whatever label you want to use, they don't own anything (Packers fans excluded, of course). Fans are, above all else, consumers. Cheering at the right time does not give them ownership of anything and it certainly doesn't entitle them to what's in the record book. The players, employees of the organization that is the team, won the games, scored the points, and set the records. They didn't do it representing the city. They did it representing a private business that happens to be based out of a city. And if that business relocates? Sucks, but it happens. Fans are along for the ride, and it's a great ride, don't get me wrong. Let's just put this "12th Man/We are all Cardinals/fans are part of the team" nonsense to rest. All it leads to is turning a fun diversion into an unhealthy obsession.

This whole conversation, spanning three or four threads, reminds of the start of every NFL season. Without fail my dad will mention that the Cardinals should be in St. Louis, the Rams in Los Angeles, the Colts in Baltimore, and screw the Ravens because.....because.

Never mind that the Cardinals were in Chicago before they were in St. Louis, the Rams started out in Cleveland, and the Colts were once a team called the New York Football Yankees. That doesn't matter, because the team/location pairings he remembers are obviously the "right" ones to him, even if they weren't the first locations these teams existed in.

So I find the whole "cities own team identities!" argument a bit loopy. If people wanting to support that notion were truly going to be ideologically consistent then they'd argue that the Rams and Cardinals identities should be put on ice until Cleveland and Chicago both get second teams.

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I don't know if this is already said or not, but if the Kings relocated here, they would have to be called the 'Seattle Supersonics'. The city of Seattle made that a requirement with Chris Hansen(new owner of the Kings) for the new arena to be build. Also, the city of Seattle retains the name and the history as they made a deal with OKC owner Clay Bennett. They are going to have the history of the old Sonics. Basically they are going to be the Cleveland Browns of the NBA.

It was mentioned before that they would keep the history if an expansion team formed within 5 years after OKC move. That's past the deadline so I don't think the official franchise history will be assigned to Sonics 2.0. But as I mentioned before, it is likely to have a double book-keeping in the news. Whenever a player reaches a Kings/Sonics milestone, the media will have a topic to report on.

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Something tells me Rams80 doesn't care about their past history before moving to Stl. Saying that just helped his argument.

Just a hunch

Nope.

He's never shown himself to be anything less than genuine, and if an argument needs to presuppose bad faith from others in order to work, then it's a bad argument.

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As for "what if the Jags replace the Rams HUH?!?!" argument, come on now. That's not going to happen. You might as well ask me what I would do if the Toronto Maple Leafs moved to Honolulu.

Well, pretend it's 1985, and sub it with this:

"Hey, Cardinals fans, you're embracing Dick Lane as one of your own, but what if the Cardinals move to Phoenix and the Rams move here, will you replace Dick Lane with Eric Dickerson?"

That would have been absurd in 1983, yet the Rams wound up in St. Louis a little over a decade later. Now no one in St. Louis cares about Dick Lane or even Otis Anderson, but St. Louis Rams fans have a "right" to celebrate Eric Dickerson's accomplishments even though to many of them he was an enemy when he actually played.

You seem to be operating under the idea that somehow Rams fans are being forced to celebrate Eric Dickerson. They're not. They're certainly free not to care. Personally I don't care if they don't care. That being said, Dickerson's records should remain with the team he played for. The Rams, who are now operating out of St. Louis. If St. Louis fans don't want to celebrate him that's their right, but regardless the Rams should still have the right to claim his accomplishments as their own. And furthermore Rams fans who do want to celebrate Dickerson's accomplishments should be able to without you or anyone else telling them they're bad fans for it.

In reality, very, very few people follow a sports team that moves metro areas. There are no A's fans left in KC or Philly, there are few Thunder fans in Seattle, etc.... Heck, as a purely legal matter, the Rams today are a completely distinct entity than the Rams of Los Angeles. The only connection to the LA Rams is that they own the copyright/trademark to the logo and jersey. Why should a shared history/heritage move because someone bought the rights to some sheets of paper?

So if I start a brand new team in Anchorage Alaska and buy the trademark/copyrights of the Toronto Maple Leafs, are people in Anchorage suddenly supposed to care about teams that won the Cup before they were even a state?

I do believe that, over the course of this discussion, someone mentioned that there are in fact pockets of Cardinals fans in Chicago.

Anyhow, the Los Angeles Rams are a completely different legal entity eh? Want to show your work on that one? Seems pretty clear to me that they aren't. You had the private entity that was the Los Angeles Rams, and then they decided to relocate their base of operations. That constitutes a move and a name change. Not the liquidation of one entity and establishment of another.

And as for your Anchorage Maple Leafs example, guess what? I don't have to play that game. It's a perk of rooting for a team with a nearly century long season ticket waiting list. The Leafs aren't going anywhere, and to entertain a "what if?" scenario would be pointless. If you want to ask me about the Raptors, sure. MLSE might get bored with them at some point.

I'm sorry, Walter Johnson will never be a Minnesota Twins legend, John Capelleti will never be a Big Ten icon, and Eric Dickerson has no business in any St. Louis sports history, even if he wore an identical jersey for a team in Los Angeles.

Walter Johnson will never be a Minnesota Twin. He is, however, a Minnesota Twins legend. It's an important distinction. He never played for the team in Minnesota, but he's still a legendary player for that franchise. Same with Eric Dickerson. He's an important part of Rams football history. Any Rams fan, be they from Cleveland, Los Angeles, St. Louis, or elsewhere, has the right to hold him in high regard. His accomplishments reflect on the team he played for first and foremost, not the city.

A team's identity is much more closely connected to the city it plays in that the jersey or name or organizational structure.

Fans, cities, communities, whatever label you want to use, they don't own anything (Packers fans excluded, of course). Fans are, above all else, consumers. Cheering at the right time does not give them ownership of anything and it certainly doesn't entitle them to what's in the record book. The players, employees of the organization that is the team, won the games, scored the points, and set the records. They didn't do it representing the city. They did it representing a private business that happens to be based out of a city. And if that business relocates? Sucks, but it happens. Fans are along for the ride, and it's a great ride, don't get me wrong. Let's just put this "12th Man/We are all Cardinals/fans are part of the team" nonsense to rest. All it leads to is turning a fun diversion into an unhealthy obsession.

This whole conversation, spanning three or four threads, reminds of the start of every NFL season. Without fail my dad will mention that the Cardinals should be in St. Louis, the Rams in Los Angeles, the Colts in Baltimore, and screw the Ravens because.....because.

Never mind that the Cardinals were in Chicago before they were in St. Louis, the Rams started out in Cleveland, and the Colts were once a team called the New York Football Yankees. That doesn't matter, because the team/location pairings he remembers are obviously the "right" ones to him, even if they weren't the first locations these teams existed in.

So I find the whole "cities own team identities!" argument a bit loopy. If people wanting to support that notion were truly going to be ideologically consistent then they'd argue that the Rams and Cardinals identities should be put on ice until Cleveland and Chicago both get second teams.

Little can be done about the past but the point is that the model is being corrected. Publicly funded organizations who are part of government approved monopolies should leave their identities when they move.

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Something tells me Rams80 doesn't care about their past history before moving to Stl. Saying that just helped his argument.

Just a hunch

Nope.

He's never shown himself to be anything less than genuine, and if an argument needs to presuppose bad faith from others in order to work, then it's a bad argument.

Agree to disagree

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Something tells me Rams80 doesn't care about their past history before moving to Stl. Saying that just helped his argument.

Just a hunch

Nope.

He's never shown himself to be anything less than genuine, and if an argument needs to presuppose bad faith from others in order to work, then it's a bad argument.

Agree to disagree

I seem to remember him waxing poetically about the Cleveland Rams' defensive line prior to all of this, so I think he's genuine. If all you can do to support your position is to insinuate that someone else is lying without any proof then yours is the weakened position.

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Something tells me Rams80 doesn't care about their past history before moving to Stl. Saying that just helped his argument.

Just a hunch

Nope.

He's never shown himself to be anything less than genuine, and if an argument needs to presuppose bad faith from others in order to work, then it's a bad argument.

Agree to disagree

I seem to remember him waxing poetically about the Cleveland Rams' defensive line prior to all of this, so I think he's genuine. If all you can do to support your position is to insinuate that someone else is lying without any proof then yours is the weakened position.

"Just a hunch"

Never claimed it to be a strong position. Just saying what I feel.

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Little can be done about the past but the point is that the model is being corrected. Publicly funded organizations who are part of government approved monopolies should leave their identities when they move.

How many pro teams rely on significant public funding to survive? Not very many.

As for legal monopolies? The only league with an official anti-trust exception is MLB, and that's been whittled away at through the years anyway.

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This issue of branding and team relocation is a complex one, from record keeping, to honoring past great players. It's a matter of proportion, in my view. Great players from the Los Angeles Rams should be remembered by St. Louis, regardless if the team changed nicknames or not. But it would be over the top for St. Louis to build a statue outside their stadium to a legend who only played for the LA Rams. The Atlanta Braves made this mistake when they put a statue of Warren Spahn outside Turner Field, he never pitched a day for the Atlanta Braves. While Spahn was a great pitcher, he should have been honored in a lesser way inside Turner Field. It would have been more fitting to save that space for a real Atlanta legend like Chipper Jones, for example.

Yes, technically, virtually all sports franchises are set up as a private business, but we can't deny the numerous differences that make them unique. Fans just aren't consumers, they play a role in the success of a franchise, and this is a generational matter, which affects the level of support. One major reason for the struggles of the Tampa Bay Rays is this lack of generational fan support for such a young franchise. It's why there's so much pain when a team leaves, even though the number of actual employees pales in comparison, to say, a General Motors plant relocating.

Of course, teams are free to self congratulate themselves and claim anything, there's no laws being broken. But the reality of where these events happen is a black and white issue. The bond or connection will always resonate more with the fans from those areas, even when they themselves move. John Unitas will never be called an Indianapolis Colts legend because he excelled in Baltimore. We just can't change the past. It's the same reason we never routinely refer to current news as the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers winning or losing or making a transaction.

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Little can be done about the past but the point is that the model is being corrected. Publicly funded organizations who are part of government approved monopolies should leave their identities when they move.

How many pro teams rely on significant public funding to survive? Not very many.

As for legal monopolies? The only league with an official anti-trust exception is MLB, and that's been whittled away at through the years anyway.

Publicly subsidized stadiums are a direct result of the antitrust exemption in baseball, which is recognized as the precedence for the monopolization of the other 3 major sports. If the antitrust exemption had truly been whittled away iron clad barriers to entry would no longer exist.

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I guess one side of the argument makes much less sense to me because I'm old.

But I look forward to the Atlanta Hawks finally picking their own identity and letting their nickname of a nickname reside in waiting until a team can return to the Quad Cities. Or Milwaukee. Or St. Louis. See, I think it's cool that an NBA team started in my hometown and still exists today, and had I been aware of that fact before I discovered the Bulls, it's absolutely possible that my rooting interests would be different.

IMO: The NFL got it right... until the Browns. The Colts. The Cardinals. The Rams. The Raiders didn't change to something "more L.A." and become a new franchise during their time away from Oakland. Even the Oilers for a while, but the new Titans aren't the old Titans, and the new Texans aren't the old Texans or the Oilers. And that's okay. No one stole those fans' memories.

The Rams honor historic Cardinals and Rams. I'm really surprised anyone has a problem with that, as it seems to me that it should be the model.

There's value in those names and the history associated with it. It's why we end up with ridiculous things like Los Angeles Lakers, but back then it was likely, "the Lakers wll be playing here" to L.A. fans. It added to the cache.

It's possible to do this without being so black and white and claiming that an accurate franchise lineage somehow steals fans' memories.

Again... IMO.

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Well....one of those players is in the St. Louis football ring of fame and it isn't the guy who led the Giants to the Super Bowl.

So if the Rams move to LA and the Jaguars move to St. Louis, will he still be there, or will he be replaced by Fred Taylor in your mind?

Damn if I know, or care, really. I have sworn eternal fandom to the Rams franchise.

It seems to me that all you're doing is rewriting history and re-calibrating your emotions to suit the interests of billionaires trying to run multi-million dollar corporate enterprises. Dickerson was a rival to St. Louis sports fans in the early 80s. Now celebrating him as-if he played there is absurd and Orwellian.

In what universe is a player on the 1980s Rams a rival for a player on the 1980s Cardinals? The 1980s Rams actually made the playoffs in non-strike years and played in a different division. The 1980s Cardinals were roadkill.

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I guess one side of the argument makes much less sense to me because I'm old.

But I look forward to the Atlanta Hawks finally picking their own identity and letting their nickname of a nickname reside in waiting until a team can return to the Quad Cities. Or Milwaukee. Or St. Louis. See, I think it's cool that an NBA team started in my hometown and still exists today, and had I been aware of that fact before I discovered the Bulls, it's absolutely possible that my rooting interests would be different.

IMO: The NFL got it right... until the Browns. The Colts. The Cardinals. The Rams. The Raiders didn't change to something "more L.A." and become a new franchise during their time away from Oakland. Even the Oilers for a while, but the new Titans aren't the old Titans, and the new Texans aren't the old Texans or the Oilers. And that's okay. No one stole those fans' memories.

The Rams honor historic Cardinals and Rams. I'm really surprised anyone has a problem with that, as it seems to me that it should be the model.

There's value in those names and the history associated with it. It's why we end up with ridiculous things like Los Angeles Lakers, but back then it was likely, "the Lakers wll be playing here" to L.A. fans. It added to the cache.

It's possible to do this without being so black and white and claiming that an accurate franchise lineage somehow steals fans' memories.

Again... IMO.

Well said, well said.

Little can be done about the past but the point is that the model is being corrected. Publicly funded organizations who are part of government approved monopolies should leave their identities when they move.

How many pro teams rely on significant public funding to survive? Not very many.

As for legal monopolies? The only league with an official anti-trust exception is MLB, and that's been whittled away at through the years anyway.

Publicly subsidized stadiums are a direct result of the antitrust exemption in baseball, which is recognized as the precedence for the monopolization of the other 3 major sports. If the antitrust exemption had truly been whittled away iron clad barriers to entry would no longer exist.

Not really. Barriers exist because leagues are private organizations formed by collections of teams and have the right to decide who's admitted to that organization. If you and I formed a private company or organization we'd have the right to bar entry to anyone we want, so long as we don't violate anti-discrimination laws.

As for publicly financed stadiums? I think a distinction needs to be made between something like that and public ownership. Not to turn this into a political debate (G-d knows that's the last thing we need here) but for better or worse public financing and public bailouts for private enterprise exists for many reasons in many different forms. These things don't transfer ownership though. GM didn't suddenly become a government owned entity when they got their bailout. So even if a team managed to get public funds earmarked for their stadium the fact remains that legally the assets of the team, which include the identity and lineage, are privately owned.

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...

Points in response:

1. There is no lingering Cardinals interest in Chicago. i don't know where you're getting that.

2. I think the "right to claim history/accomplishments" is bogus, ethically and legally. "Records" aren't really a legal thing with portable rights independment of the league telling them who can do what. This is fiction concocted by owners who want to beef up brand identity in a new city, and it seems to me that the leagues being involved in deciding who gets "history" is part of the problem. Actually, as a legal matter, i believe history and records and accomplishments would be classified as goodwill, which would be an asset that can be forfeited. Whatever asset the Senators/Twins have in Walter Johnson's accomplishments was in the DC community cheering for him and buying tickets and having lingering nostalgia for his accomplishments in the 20s. That value is nil in Minnesota, so why the league or a strained reading of corporate formalities would give the alleged asset to Minnesota and not reserve it for a new Washington team is ridiculous. In any event, the idea that Walter Johnson is a Minnesota Twins legend because he played for a predecessor franchise is and should be laughably absurd.

3. American sports franchises are not normal companies. They each have league-granted monopolies and licenses that are dependent on location. This means the league essentially recognizes that market exclusivity is a crucial asset. This system doesn't force people to root for a team, but it does clearly contemplate that one area will root for one franchise. If this is key to the league's economic model, why is there a different model underlying the allocation of records and intangible history? Different than other industries, Team x's history is dependent on team y's history. The Chiefs and Raiders hate each other. If the Chiefs moved to LA, under the league's economic model, the fans who formerly rooted for the Raiders will suddenly be expected to embrace the Chiefs. That's fine, but it becomes really messy when you pretend that the Chiefs' great KC history has anything to do with LA and you pretend that fans are supposed to embrace it (and make no mistake, that's exactly what happens when the Rams push Eric Dickerson as a legend).

4. As far as showing my work, if you consult secretary of state records, it appears the modern-day Rams were an LLC formed in Delaware in 2001, replacing a corporation founded in 1994 when the team moved to St. Louis. Legally speaking, I imagine this is par for the course, at least in America where state lines are crossed (jurisdiction, tax, etc.)

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Although I'm not a fan of the SuperSonics name, I understand the fans ties with it and the city's desire to restore it if they do indeed get the Kings. To each their own I guess. Don't really care about the whole record retention business either. Teams from 30 years ago have nothing to do with anyone playing today, whether the team has the same name, owner, building, etc. I find it funny when teams still brag about titles they won well before anyone on the team today was alive. It's irrelevant. They can honour past Seattle greats without having to have official ties with the teams they played for.

As far as the branding goes, I hate the yellow/green of the old Sonics, as well as the previous logo, which was never any good and hasn't aged well at all. I'd like for them to update it completely with something modern using more of a Seahawks/Sounders/Thunderbirds colour scheme, which has become the defacto Seattle look and is identifiable with the area.

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1. There is no lingering Cardinals interest in Chicago. i don't know where you're getting that.

Not widespread interest, anyway. There is some, however. The Cardinals were never as popular as the Bears, but their allegiances lied very much in line with baseball allegiances. The Bears played in Wrigley Field, the Cardinals played in Comiskey Park most years. The baseball fandom was split very close to 50/50 in those days, but while some Sox fans liked the Bears, almost no Cubs fans liked the Cardinals. Halas did a lot of underhanded things to the Cardinals over the years, and there was a contingent of Cardinals fans who hated him and blamed him for the team moving. These people vowed to never become Bears fans, due to Halas and them playing in Wrigley/being the northside team. Over time, a lot of them gave in to the Bears, but many became Packers fans. That is why there are far more Packers fans in the suburbs than you would ever expect to see. Still, I know there are little pockets of people who feel like they are carrying on their grandpa's legacy by getting together in random basement pubs and rooting for the Cardinals. I heard some of them crowing a few years back when the Cards made it to the Super Bowl. Anyway, had the Bears not been one of the NFL's marquee franchises, and had the Packers (another one) not been located near-enough for former Cardinals fans to hear them on the radio, there still might be people today calling for the Cardinals to come back.

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1. My main reason for the comment was me being sick of the way he talks to everyone around here, like he's better than everyone else and rarely providing any "evidence" or what not, just making condescending remarks and acting like his view is all that matters.

But it this case my view was all that matters. Hawk36 spoke in an absolute and said that no fan of a newly moved team cares about that team's past history. I am a fan of a moved team, and I do care about the team's past history, thus proving him wrong.

I'm a little confused about the anger directed toward me. My exact quote was, "I wouldn't think anyone in Seattle would honestly think of those great old Celtic teams as "theirs"." Please note my "I wouldn't think..." part of that.

You insinuated that fans of relocated teams don't care about what the team did in previous locations. rams80 is a St. Louis Rams fan who cares about what the team did in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Therefore your insinuation is incorrect. Hope that helps.

If you really don't get the gist of my argument, I'm sorry, the discussion is mute. Jumping on small technicalities really isn't productive here.

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Something tells me Rams80 doesn't care about their past history before moving to Stl. Saying that just helped his argument.

Just a hunch

Nope.

He's never shown himself to be anything less than genuine, and if an argument needs to presuppose bad faith from others in order to work, then it's a bad argument.

Agree to disagree

I seem to remember him waxing poetically about the Cleveland Rams' defensive line prior to all of this, so I think he's genuine. If all you can do to support your position is to insinuate that someone else is lying without any proof then yours is the weakened position.

"Just a hunch"

Never claimed it to be a strong position. Just saying what I feel.

Well, I suppose I could mention that when I was walking through the University of Arkansas' Athletic Hall of Fame I felt that the coolest part of the collection was Jim Benton's Cleveland Rams jersey from the 1945 NFL Championship game or that I try took look up old L.A. Rams or Cleveland Rams on the old roster databases if I see biographical snippets indicating they played for the team, but that might still be me faking :rolleyes:

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