By Tammy Rae Matthews (PhDJour, ex’20) and Stephanie Cook (MJour’18)
The numbers alone were eye-popping: 105 combined points, over 1,000 rushing yards, 56 first downs and 10 passing touchdowns.
With less than 2 minutes remaining in the final quarter, the Los Angeles Rams made a game-clinching 40-yard touchdown pass, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 54-51 in the highest-scoring game in Monday Night Football history.
That November 2018 game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a career highlight for Jay Rothman (Jour’84), lead producer of Monday Night Football—mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with the stats.
“The highlights of my career have been when events I’ve produced—and intimately been involved in—have united people and a region, more than the game itself,” he says.
During the weeks leading up to the game, a gunman killed 12 people at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. Meanwhile, a string of fires—including the Camp Fire near Sacramento and the Woolsey Fire in L.A.—had already killed 80 people and forced hundreds of thousands of evacuations. Among the evacuees were several Rams players.
In response, the team passed out thousands of free tickets to local emergency, aid and law enforcement officials. The game brought together survivors of the shooting and fires, and gave exhausted firefighters and rescue workers a moment of reprieve. The night’s theme, LA Together, became a rallying cry for the entire city. It also showed how sports are about more than just a game—or even a season.