My first Los Angeles Rams game came with a free helping of déjà vu when the crowd transformed its booing of starting quarterback Case Keenum into chants of “We want Goff” in reference to Jared Goff, the rookie backup quarterback hoped to be the future of the franchise. Goff never saw action, but the fans did their best to get him in the game.
I say déjà vu because my wife first gave me NFL tickets in 2006 for a Monday Night Football contest in old Texas Stadium with my great friend, Dave, which happened to be the game when Tony Romo replaced starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, after the crowd spent much of the first half chanting Romo’s name. It was a little awkward for Cowboy Nation that night, not to mention Romo, when his first pass was intercepted after he ran on the field to deafening cheers. Romo did go on to a great season, however, but I don’t think that would matter either way to the fans in Los Angeles chanting for change a decade later.
It’s lonely at the top, but it’s not always quiet.
Me, I’ve been a coach and a preacher and a dean, three professions that encounter a healthy share of critics, and I know well the convenient criticism that someone else would have made a different and better decision.
I once read that the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets on the night he was assassinated are in some drawer tucked away in the bowels of the Smithsonian, and that among the assorted items is a newspaper clipping that complimented the sitting president, which is particularly interesting once you remember his unpopularity at the time. It seems that even a great leader like Lincoln needed to remember that his efforts were not entirely unappreciated.
As I sat in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum a week ago with my lovely wife and listened to the disgruntled fans voice their disgruntled-ness, I thought about what poor Case Keenum should do. Backpacking across Europe is an option, as is a noise-canceling helmet. Instead, I suggest that Mr. Keenum keep an encouraging note in his pocket and continue to give everything he has to his work—I don’t think he has to go so far as to avoid the theater.