Ryan Plisga (99) and brother Josh pose at You Know Whos’s Pub in downtown Waterville on Wednesday. The brothers from Winslow are big Los Angeles Rams fans.

If Joe Plisga had his way in 1980, his oldest son would be named Vincent, in honor of Vince Ferragamo, then-quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams.

“My ex-wife put the kibosh on that,” Joe said.

As it turned out, the son who was in Sue Plisga’s womb as Joe watched his beloved Rams lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV became Ryan Plisga. A couple years later, Ryan was joined by little brother Josh. Growing up in Winslow, the Plisga brothers inherited their father’s passion for the Rams. That love followed the team from Los Angeles to St. Louis and back to L.A. Sunday, Ryan, 38, and Josh, 36, will join their father at the Pointe Afta in Winslow to watch their Rams play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

This is the first Rams Super Bowl the Plisga brothers will be able to watch together. When the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV Ryan was in the Army, stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana for training. When the Rams lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI, Ryan was at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

“It’s going to be great. It’s something we’ve never experienced together,” Josh said. “We’ve experienced a lot together, but he was in the Army both times. It’s going to be really special to watch it with my brother.”

On Friday, Joe said he planned to join his sons at the Pointe After for the Super Bowl. He started this, after all.

“I try not to get too hyped up,” Joe said. “They act like I did 30 years ago.”

Joe became a Rams fan growing up in Waterville. They were an NFL power in the 1960s, and Joe loved the Fearsome Foursome defensive line — Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy and Deacon Jones. Later, Joe’s favorite player was defensive lineman Jack Youngblood. After he graduated from Waterville Senior High School in 1973, Joe hitchhiked to Los Angeles. He had to see the LA Coliseum, the home of the Rams.

“Have you been to the LA Coliseum? It takes your breath away,” Joe said.

Ryan and Josh followed in Dad’s footsteps, but in the days before NFL Sunday Ticket, which made viewing out of market games simple, unless the Rams were on Sunday Night or Monday Night Football, their window to the team was ESPN.

“When we were younger, all we could do was watch highlights. NFL Primetime with Chris Berman. That’s how we got to watch the Rams,” Ryan said.

Their childhood had few big Rams wins to cheer. There was Flipper Anderson’s 30-yard touchdown catch from Jim Everett to beat the New York Giants in the 1989 NFC semifinals. That was pretty much the list, until the Greatest Show on Turf arrived in St. Louis a decade later.

About that move to St. Louis. When the Rams abandoned LA in the mid-90s, did the Plisga brothers consider abandoning the Rams? Not really.

“We were like ‘Dad, what do we do?’ He said you never leave your team,” Ryan said.

“I didn’t like it,” Joe said of the move. “LA is my favorite city. I was disappointed. But it was a good move for them at the time.”

Josh remembered watching the Super Bowl win over the Titans with Joe.

“Trent Green was supposed to be the second coming for the Rams, and he blew his knee out in the preseason. Kurt Warner was pulled in from stocking shelves or whatever. No one even knew who he was,” Josh said. “I remember watching that whole season with my dad. It was my father, and he’s acting like a 12-year-old on Christmas morning. That’s the biggest thing I remember. I just remember my dad being so excited. That’s what made me the happiest.”

Ryan has a less-pleasant memory of Super Bowl XXXVI.

“I remember calling my dad when Ricky Proehl scored the touchdown against the Pats to tie it up. His first words were ‘Too much time.’ I’ll never forget it,” Ryan said.

Each Plisga predicts a Rams win Sunday night.

Ryan (Rams, 31-28): “I think they need to get to Brady. I love the tight end matchups against (Patrick) Chung. Belichick’s going to take away your best weapons. I think he’s going to try to shut down (Todd) Gurley and he’s going to make Jared Goff beat him. Goff’s going to have to have a perfect game.”

Josh (Rams, 31-20): “I think the Rams D is going to show up. I’ll be honest. I was more worried about the Saints and Cowboys than I am the Pats.”

Joe (Rams, 31-28): “I’m very excited. They’ve got a good young team, and a good, young coach. It will come right down to who has the ball at the end.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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