Rams Final Game at Coliseum
By Earl Heath. Contributing Sports Writer
The Los Angeles Coliseum has been a special place over the years. It hosted concerts, soccer matches and two Olympics. It is also the home of USC football and has been the home of the L.A. Rams for 38 seasons. It will be the second time the Rams have left the internationally known venue.
They returned in 2016, and last week vs the Arizona Cardinals it was the 38 game played since. Now the team will exit to So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood.
It will be the centerpiece for a nearly 300 acre sports and entertainment district being developed by Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke.
The Rams made the final game special. The National Anthem was done by Keith Williams Jr. the gospel singer who worked for several years at the Coliseum for CSC. He was stationed at sections 21 and 22 during USC home football games as well as multiple events at the Galen Center.
His version of the Anthem was passionate enough to receive a standing ovation from the 68,665 in attendance.
The Rams recognized 15 high school coaches who won Coach of The Week honors. Saugus High Head Coach Jason Bornn was named Coach of the Year. “It’s really humbling to be selected with all these great coaches.” said Bornn. “We don’t do it (coaching) for the money, we do it because we love kids.”
Kenny Washington was honored as the Ram “Legend of the Game”. The L.A. native played football and baseball at UCLA from 1937-1939. He was the first UCLA athlete to be named All-America during that era. He was also a baseball teammate of Jackie Robinson. After graduating from UCLA he was passed over by the NFL due to a 12 year ban of African-American players. He return to coach the freshman team at UCLA.
It was after his graduation the NFL lifted its ban of African American players. That’s when he and Woody Strode would both be signed by the Rams joining the team in it’s inaugural season at the Coliseum. Washington still holds the Rams record for the longest touchdown run 92 yards vs Chicago in 1947. Four members of his family were at the Coliseum including his daughter Karen Washington- Cohen.
Ram greats Jackie Slater was on hand with Super Bowl QB Vince Ferragamo. It was Slater who brought the crowd to its feet after his farewell comments.
“When we played here we didn’t sellout every game, the NFL had a blackout rule.” said the 20 year Ram veteran to the crowd. “People would drive to Bakersfield to watch us play on television. So when you all go home, tell your parents, grand parents, your aunts, and your uncles that Jackie said thanks for cheering us on.”