The Rams are one of the least appealing teams in Super Bowl history, because their best players -- the ones who must play over their helmets to avoid a Steeler rout -- man the most anonymous positions.
Or are you familiar with Bubba, Bad Baby, General Hospital, Herk and Jackie Ray? Only devoted Ram followers, the sort who will follow them to Anaheim next season, and NFL junkies will recognize an offensive line as unknown as it is talented.
"I feel that the last few weeks were one of the best, if not the best, (offensive) line in football," said the Ram offensive line coach, Dan Radakovich, whose background allows him a unique perspective on NFL blockers. Before coming to L.A. this season, he was the Steeler offensive line coach for four years (1974-77).
"Pittsburgh has had the best since '74," he said, "but they've had a few problems with injuries lately, although I guess you'd still have to consider them No. 1 until proven otherwise."
Sunday, Rad's Wrecking Crew will try to prove otherwise.
And the task for Doug (Bubba) France, Kent (Bad Baby) Hill, Rich (General Hospital) Saul, Dennis (Herk) Harrah and Jackie Slater will be formidable. The Steeler front four is not the awesome Steel Curtain of several years ago, but the linebackers and secondary cover well enough to make up for any lost half steps.
The Ram blockers had better expect to be butting long and hard against Joe Greene and the Pittsburg front four, because the matchups of L.A. runners and receivers versus Steeler linebackers and secondary are decidely one-sided. Toward the defending Super Bowl champs.
Los Angeles receivers Billy Waddy and Preston Dennard are serviceable enough, though probably not as good as the Steelers' backup to Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, Jim Smith. Only an exceptional amount of time will allow them to shake the Steeler cornerbacks -- and if they catch the pass it will be their turn to shake.
"The Steeler defensive backs make you pay the price for anything you catch," said one NFC coach."They hit as hard as anyone in football. To counter them, you really need big receivers, the Charley Taylor kind who are big enough and tough enough to take punishment and also dish it out.
"L.A. just doesn't have anybody like that."
The Rams do have a swift runner, Wendell Tyler, who gained just 75 fewer yards than Franco Harris and had a better per-carry average. But Steeler linebackers are as mobile as most backs, Tyler included, even without All-Pro Jack Ham.
The Steelers have played exceptional defense for two playoff games without Ham and safety Mike Wagner. Ham's replacement, Dennis (Dirt) Winston has a large mean streak and can be counted on to keep company now and then with Ram quarterback Vince Ferragamo on blitzes.
Which means even more pressure on the Wrecking Crew, for young Ferragamo could melt rather quickly if the Steelers start rushing five or six men. Pittsburgh is skilled enough everywhere to be unpredictable as likely to blitz a safety as a linebacker, and from anywhere on the field.
If they can make Vince wince, Pittsburgh should dominate.
But the numbers Radakovich likes to offer are 216, 159 and 2. The largest one is the Ram rushing total against another fine defense, Tampa Bay's, in the NFC title game. L.A. prepped for that with 159 rushing yards the week before against Dallas. And the Cowboys and Bucs together sacked Ferragamo only twice.
The Steeler offense is as sophisticated and daring as any the Super Bowl will see, as evidenced by last year's four-touchdown performance by Terry Bradshaw. Lynn Swann always seems to save especially acrobatic catches for expecially important games.
But will there be time to coordinate this air show? The Rams hope not; hope that their defensive front four of Jack Youngblood, Mike Fanning, Larry Brooks and Fred Dryer will be able to whip the slightly undermanned Steeler offensive line and force Bradshaw to throw quicker than usual.
This 11-on-11 match up, the Steeler offense against the Ram defense, should be splendid, with Pittsburgh bold enough not to back off from the pass if one happens to end up in the hands of Dave Elmendorf or Nolan Cromwell. But the Ram corners, Rod Perry and Dwayne O'Steen, are smaller than the Steeler wide receivers.
The best trench match up of the day will be between Youngblood and Pittsburgh right offensive tackle Larry Brown, if Youngblood's broken small bone in his leg does not restrict him too much. The other -- and more famous Ram end, Dryer, is regarded within the league as highly overrated.
One of the reasons the Steelers have continued to run and pass so well despite injuries to important blockers, ironically, is Radakovich. As their offinsive line coach, he made every lineman learn every line position, just in case.
The tradition stayed when he left.
Steeler center Mike Webster is considered the best in the NFL and right tackle Brown perhaps the most underrated offensive tackle. He is another of Rad's makeovers, a tight end who was fattened and strengthened and moved a step inside and told to keep his hands to himself.
Sidney Thornton may be well enough to regain his starting halfback position from Rocky Bleier, and he is as valuable clearing a path for Harris as he is carrying the ball himself.