Isaac Bruce knows all about dealing with Super Bowl hype as a Rams legend. After all, the legendary wide receiver played for the Vince Lombardi Trophy twice, laying his fingers on the 2000 title trophy.
What the 2021 Los Angeles Rams are facing involves what Bruce and “The Greatest Show on Turf” faced 20 years ago: Hearing the Super Bowl expectations from the outside world.
But on the recent “Bleav in Rams Ramblings” podcast that he co-hosts with former Ram and Memphis Tiger Doc Holliday, Bruce addressed the pressure and scrutiny the Rams are facing. He explained pressure can work two different ways.
“It can get to you. They say pressure busts pipes, but it also creates diamonds,” Bruce said.
‘What Are the Rams’ Expectations?’ Bruce Asks
The season Bruce experienced his first, plus the franchise’s first, Super Bowl win, the Rams weren’t expected to contend for the Lombardi Trophy. But expectations changed following the 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans as many media outlets and fans began to list the Rams as the gold standard and heavy favorite to claim the title.
This version of the Rams will be trying to end a two-decade title drought. Bruce asked this burning question though:
“Expectations are good. But it’s about what are the expectations of the Los Angeles Rams right now?” he asked Holliday.
Bruce, who will soon be the fourth member of the 2000 Super Bowl champs to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August (joining Orlando Pace, Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner), told the Rams that it is OK to have high expectations and standards.
“I sometimes understand when people don’t want to make a big fuss about stuff, but I also have a disdain for false humility. Where you ask the question and you say ‘Well, maybe we do this and maybe we do that.’ Nah. I like the same person that’s inside the locker room, that’s standing at the podium and on the football field. Have your expectation and your standards very high, and expect to supersede them,” Bruce said. “When you talk about the expectations of which teams can compete for the Super Bowl title and your team is right in the mix, I think that’s good for an organization. It’s good to talk about championships, it’s good to talk about winning the NFC West, having that type of conversations.”
Are All the Pieces in Place for a Run?
Fueling the Super Bowl hype are the offseason moves the Rams made. From trading away Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, to signing DeSean Jackson all the way to filling positional needs through the draft, L.A. was one of the more aggressive teams in improving their system between the months of January to June.
But have they topped things off or does Bruce believe the Rams could need an additional piece or two?
“There maybe some offensive linemen that you need, another backup on the defensive line, or another safety. We can always use extra safety help,” Bruce said. “We lost one of the better safeties in the league last year via free agency (John Jackson III to Cleveland). So just bringing back in a guy, a young safety who may fortify that defensive backfield, it’ll be good for us.”
Overall, the Rams’ all-time reception, yardage and receiving touchdowns leader believes it’s perfectly fine the Rams are carrying title winning projections.
“It gives guys expectations of when things may go bad during the season, you don’t take your eyes off the prize. When it’s going good during the season, you just remind yourself what the true goal is. So having those conversations and having those expectations inside the locker room should be good for the Los Angeles Rams. And it starts with (head coach) Sean McVay,” Bruce said.