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Greatest Show on Grass

The Greatest Show on Grass: Los Angeles Rams podcast that celebrates the present-day NFL team against the backdrop of its rich and little-known Hollywood past. Hosted by Los Angeles-based writer, filmmaker, and Rams chronicler Joshua Neuman, The Greatest Show on Grass connects on-the-field analysis with broader conversations about pop culture, politics, gender, and race as it explores a football franchise that’s been as interesting off the field as on it. The Greatest Show on Grass is also a love story between a team and a city. As one prominent sportswriter wrote a half century ago: “The Rams find themselves as much a part of the scenery [of Los Angeles] as the Hollywood Hills, the subject of more newspaper space than the atom bomb, and an object of civic concern second only to smog.” Long before the St. Louis Rams of 1999-2001 were The Greatest Show on Turf, the Los Angeles Rams were The Greatest Show on Grass.

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Special Bonus Segment: Rams 2017 Draft Recap

Is it time to panic? Joshua Neuman in joined by Bryan Kalbrosky, managing editor of USA Today’s TheRamsWire, to dissect the Los Angeles Rams 2017 draft class, one that has been widely maligned by the draft community. Will the Rams regret not passing on Forrest Lamp and failing to address their offensive line? What is the future of Tavon Austin with the addition of third round slot receiver, Cooper Kupp? Is John Johnson the new Rodney McLeod? How good can Josh Reynolds be in year one? And, can the Rams expect any of their undrafted free agents to make this year’s 53-man squad? These questions and others on this anxiety-inducing special bonus segment of the Greatest Show on Grass.


5 May 2017

Rank #1

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#35: John Hock and Brock The Rock

You may not have heard of guard John Hock, who joined the Los Angles Rams prior to the 1953 season. You’re likely more familiar with the names of his teammates: Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears, Tank Younger, and Dick “Night Train” Lane. They were the most star-studded team of their era and one that would forever leave an imprint on pro football. Joshua Neuman is joined by the late John Hock’s son, Jim Hock, to discuss his recent book, “Hollywood’s Team: Grit, Glamour and the 1950s Los Angeles Rams.” The book explores the Rams during this, their most glamorous era, through the eyes of John Hock, who often found himself on the outside looking in. Neuman and Jim Hock discuss his father’s experiences, how the city of Los Angeles embraced the team, and how the team managed to embody the burgeoning aesthetics and values of Hollywood. Plus, we explore the fantastic world of Brock “The Rock” Callahan, a fictional Rams guard who was the protagonist of a crime series by author William Campbell Gault as well as of an unaired television pilot in 1959 for CBS.


24 Apr 2017

Rank #2

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#34: An Elegy for the 1989 L.A. Rams

Los Angeles in the 1980s was rife with wild contradictions: serial killers and valley girls, hair metal and gangsta rap, cocaine and gourmet pizza. Just an hour south on Interstate-5 in anodyne Anaheim, Rams games often felt like a quiet oasis, but in 1989 all that changed. The Rams emerged as dangerous and awe-inspiring thanks to a dazzling aerial attack, menacing offensive line, and pounding ground game. The featured back in that ground game was Greg Bell who resurrected his career and helped restore a sense of glamour to the Rams—however briefly. Bell joins Joshua Neuman to discuss a Rams team that reached the NFC Championship Game and served as a reminder of a franchise that Southern California first fell in love with in 1946.


1 Mar 2017

Rank #3

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#33: Sean McVay and the Ghost of Pappy Lewis

Hired at age 30, Sean McVay is the youngest head coach of the NFL’s modern era. But 79 years ago, before the Rams moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles, the team hired 26 (or some say, 27) year old Art “Pappy” Lewis who, like McVay, also hailing from Ohio and also charged with bringing back a sense of razzle-dazzle to a moribund Rams roster. Joshua Neuman speaks to James C. Sulecki whose recent book The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon about “Pappy” Lewis and other early icons of Rams history like Damon “Buzz” Wetzel, Hugo Bezdek, and Earl “Dutch” Clark. Neuman and Sulecki discuss the early struggles of the team and their eventual success, which culminated in their 1945 NFL Championship, the Rams first of three championships in three different cities.


20 Feb 2017

Rank #4

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#32: Meet the L.A. Rams New Coaching Staff

Despite being led by a man who is only 31-years old, the 2017 Los Angeles Rams will enter the 2017 season boasting more NFL coaching experience on its sidelines than they have since Dick Vermeil brought Jim Hanifan, Mike White, and Bud Carson with him to St. Louis 20 years ago. What are we to make of football prodigy Sean McVay, his offensive and defensive coordinators, and their veteran team of assistant coaches who collectively own eight Super Bowl rings? How might the new staff shift the culture of the organization? How might it influence the direction the Rams take in free agency and the draft? Bryan Kalbrosky, the managing editor of USA Today’s TheRamsWire, joins Joshua Neuman, to discuss these questions as we enter the Sean McVay Era on The Greatest Show on Grass.


13 Feb 2017

Rank #5

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#31: The Schoolboy Assassin, Eddie Meador

Between 1959 and 1970 Eddie Meador preyed on wide receivers with the brutality of Jack the Ripper—all the while resembling an innocent choirboy. Meador recovered 18 fumbles, blocked 10 kicks and intercepted 46 passes during his Rams career—all team records. Though playing during the tumultuous 1960s and on the most integrated team of the era, the former ROTC cadet managed to fit right in with rabble-rousing teammates—some of whom he led in a famous revolt against management following the firing of Head Coach George Allen. Joshua Neuman speaks with Meador about his storybook career and whether the Rams of his era were too Hollywood for their own good.


1 Feb 2017

Rank #6

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#30: Kermit Alexander and the Valley of the Shadow of Death

You would be hard-pressed to find a Rams player for whom his team meant more than Kermit Alexander. He sold newspapers as a child so he could afford to attend the team’s games, called his trade to L.A. in 1970 “the greatest moment of his pro career,” and, not surprisingly became a season ticket holder when the Rams returned to Southern California last year. While his love of the Rams is unwavering, Alexander’s experience of Los Angeles was forever changed in 1984 when his mother, sister and two nephews, ages 8 and 13, were murdered in South Central Los Angeles. Joshua Neuman speaks with Alexander about his complicated relationship with L.A., experiencing the Rams/Niners rivalry from both sides, and hobnobbing with Ram-loving celebrities Bill Cosby, Telly Savalas, and Warren Beatty. Join us for a very special episode of the Greatest Show on Grass about love, loss, and the power of memory.


16 Jan 2017

Rank #7

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#29: The L.A. Rams as Epistemological Problem

The Rams concluded the 2016 season with losses against the division rival San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals to finish their first season back in Southern California in 21 years with a disappointing record of 4-12. Joshua Neuman dissects the Christmas Eve Day catastrophe and the New Year’s Day nightmare and shares some thoughts about how being a Rams fan can feel like an epistemological problem. Plus, Jared Goff’s LA-LA Land, Todd Gurley’s Ricky Williams routine, and the part of the Rams 2016 season that you really shouldn’t take for granted, their luck.


10 Jan 2017

Rank #8

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#28: Niners Week, Fisher Fallout, and Chucky Rumors

This Saturday the Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers at the Coliseum in a rivalry with roots that go back to 1950. The historical dimension of the upcoming week’s game did not escape Interim Head Coach John Fassel or the Los Angeles Rams players who, aptly, will be wearing throwback uniforms for the occasion. Joshua Neuman and Tunisha Singleton preview this matchup between the league’s worst offense and worst defense, plus: The stars come out in full force in Seattle to see the Seahawks defeat the Rams 24-3; Jeff Fisher gives his first interview since being canned as coach; Aaron Donald makes the best throw of the 2016 season; and the Rams move towards a meeting with ESPN analyst Jon Gruden.


23 Dec 2016

Rank #9

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#27: Jeff Fisher Has Been Canceled

One day after the Los Angeles Rams got bamboozled 42-14 by the Atlanta Falcons, Jeff Fisher was handed his walking papers after nearly 5 seasons as the team’s Head Coach. Joshua Neuman, Tunisha Singleton, and Eriq Gardner discuss the timing of Fisher’s firing, the organizational failure that was the Fisher Era, and how Hollywood had a hand in the head coach heave-ho. Plus, Kendra Wilkinson becomes Sabrina Britt’s BFF on the second episode of E!’s “Hollywood and Football,” Aaron Donald wins the Madden 17 Xbox NFL Player Charity Challenge and proves that there is no field he cannot dominate, and interim Head Coach John Fassel leads the Rams to CenturyLink Field to take on the division-leading Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.


15 Dec 2016

Rank #10