It was indeed a feel-good item, from the bad old days of November 1997. It came in the form of a letter to the Post-Dispatch from the American Diabetes Association about a 9-year-old lad named Nathan who had been diagnosed with cancer. His parents had taken him to a Rams game to cheer him up, but not long after, his cancer had spread and an operation was needed at Cardinal Glennon Hospital.
"A half hour before the surgery, Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins appeared and showed Nathan how to kick a football through the uprights. Nathan had been really scared before surgery until Jeff came in. Nathan was then so excited that he forgot to be afraid," the letter said.
It went on to thank the Rams, then on their way to a 5-11 season.
It's cited here because Wilkins -- nursing a knee injury and coming off a so-so season -- is widely thought to be the team's weakest link. If there's a chance any Ram could be the "goat" next Sunday, it's Wilkins, who could easily lose the game by missing a field goal or extra point.
Can you imagine what the loyal fans would say about him and his future here were that to happen? They won't be quoting Grantland Rice, and they won't be consulting the American Diabetes Association.
Winning is the only thing. It has made a lot of difference here.