What does an adorable but feckless baby panda have to do with the Rams? A helluva lot, actually.
Consider the panda -- we'll call him Oofta -- the Rams. That step Oofta is attempting to scale is a victory in the NFL.
Before you see Oofta feebly inching across the concrete, he seems cute and cuddly. He doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but damned if he isn't fun to look at and get excited about. Then, once he gets going, you realize that he is actually helpless, almost incapable of clearing just one step, and really just kind of sad. This is just like the Rams, who sold themselves as young and healthy and talented in the preseason only to end up being just as weak and pathetic as Oofta (or last year's team).
It's not as if Oofta isn't giving it his all. Hear his little squeals of effort? That is Steven Jackson "playing angry" at the end of yesterday's game, refusing to be subbed out, and taking a beating in the final minutes of a meaningless blowout loss so that he'll be injured later in the season and rip out the final ember of hope left in fans' souls and stomp it out.
It's Leonard Little huffing and puffing on the sideline. It's Steve Spagnuolo cursing up a storm at his incompetent roster. It's punter Donnie Jones being the only player with any talent whatsoever (and damn lucky too, since he kicks the ball at least six times a game, often from his own endzone) and still not making the Pro Bowl.
Maybe by the end of the year the Rams, like little Oofta the panda, will be able to haul themselves up over one tiny concrete step of victory. Maybe someday, a couple years from now, they'll grow up into a huge, fierce-looking panda capable of storming up those steps like there's a bamboo Lombardi trophy waiting at the top. Or maybe, and this is infinitely more plausible, a Lion or a Jaguar will come along and rip their hearts out during another 35-0 mauling. This is the NFL after all, not some wilderness preserve in China.