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Where Are They Now? Former Rams quarterback & 1979 NFC champion Vince Ferragamo

Raised in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, Vince Ferragamo was not unlike the other local kids who enjoyed sports.

"I grew up watching Roman Gabriel and Jack Snow and got interested in football," Ferragamo said. "Of course, I was always a Lakers fan, a Rams fan and a Dodgers fan. We had a lot of great memories and great years with those teams. But the Rams were always kind of impregnated in our mind."

Those thoughts became reality in 1977, when Ferragamo, who was the quarterback for his brother and coach, Chris, at Banning High School before playing at Cal and then transferring to Nebraska, was drafted by the Rams in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

Rams Legend QB Vince Ferragamo
Rams Legend QB Vince Ferragamo

"I was excited. I think I was finally relieved in anticipation. Because during the Draft, you don't know what team you're going to go with and in what round," Ferragamo said. "So I was lucky to get picked to the team that I could call my hometown team. And my parents lived here, so it was much better to be coming home and playing for the Rams."

Arriving for training camp, Ferragamo met another first-year Ram, Joe Namath. Acquired in a trade after 12 seasons with the New York Jets, the Super Bowl III icon proved to be invaluable not only as a teammate, but also as a mentor.

"I learned a lot from Joe. The way he operated and took charge," Ferragamo said. "To watch a player like that, with his charisma and the way he could control the mindset of the team, was pretty special. He just had a knack of conveying a real confident message to the team when he called his plays.

"And then I learned from (second-year veteran) Pat Haden. I always tried to learn from each quarterback and each coach that I played for, tried to take the best and put it to use for my own job, and become a better player.

"Pat and I played alongside of each other, and I eventually got the nod when he went down with a (broken hand in 1979) and then tried to make the best of things. I always thought in the back of my mind, when you get the opportunity, you've got to make it happen."

After doing more watching than playing during his first two seasons, Ferragamo's first opportunity to start came during a nationally-televised Monday Night Football game againstAtlanta on November 19 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"They were a blitzing team, and my memory was basically standing in there, in the heat of the battle, with people trying to come at you and just picking them apart," Ferragamo laughed. "I had the great offensive line and no one ever got through the middle of that line. That was kind of a cardinal sin.

"I would stand in there and deliver the ball quickly. Get the ball out, recognize the blitz, and with the help of all the coaching that I had, was able to roll. And the team responded. They responded to the quarterback."

Winning four of five starts under center, the hometown kid helped the Rams post a 9-7 record and make the playoffs.

"Everybody got excited for me, my family and friends. But my dad was probably my worst critic," Ferragamo laughed. "I always had to do something better and that always kept me on my toes because I always wanted to make my dad proud when I was playing.

"Maybe being home and in front of him every week was a blessing in disguise. I know it pushed me to my limits. And when you're not the greatest athlete and you don't have all the tools, you've really got to be sharp with what you have. And so I was able to bring that out."

In the divisional round, the Rams traveled to Dallas and beat the Cowboys, 21-19. Next, they shut out the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay for the NFC Championship, 9-0.

"I think we actually gelled. I mean, the entire team was a fraternity of guys that liked each other and we played for each other," Ferragamo said. "We didn't play for ourselves, really, we played for the guy next to us. And we had a really good makeup of a veteran team and young players.

"We took the lead from the experienced players like Jack Youngblood and Jim Youngblood and Jack Reynolds and Dave Elmendorf. And then always recognizing the fact that we were just going to go out there and play smash mouth football."

Playing for the league title for the first time since they fell to Cleveland in the 1955 NFL Championship Game, the Rams met Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl. The Steelers prevailed, 31-19.

"Talking with Freddy Dryer after we won the NFC Championship, we went back on the field when the entire fanbase was removed from the stadium. He said, 'Vinnie, look up. We just made history.' It was the first time the Los Angeles Rams were playing in a Super Bowl game,"Ferragamo said. "And so taking that as one of the memories, and going into the Super Bowl playing against 13 Hall of Famers, that was probably one of the best teams of all time. They could do everything.

"You, as the opponent, you have to prepare and just bring your best game to them. And we did. We just we fell short because we lacked the experience of being in a huge game like that. Where they had three, four years of Super Bowl experience. And they were that good.

"But we went toe-to-toe with them. That's the way we wanted to play it and make the game fun. Obviously, it would have been more fun if we would have won."

Rams Legend QB Vince Ferragamo
Rams Legend QB Vince Ferragamo

Following a nine-year career in the NFL – Seven with the Rams and one each with Buffalo and Green Bay, plus, one season with Montreal in the CFL – Ferragamo has been a winner in his second career, as well.

"I think real estate was a natural thing to fall into," Ferragamo said. "I was able to get licensed(in 1987) and became a broker, and each and every year that I practiced real estate, I did a little better and better. And then in 1995, I started my Touchdown Real Estate Company. And now it's Vince Ferragamo Real Estate (in Anaheim Hills). We also have Endzone Mortgage.

"It was my friends; it was people that were close to me over the years that were in business that was a great network for me to be successful. Because without a network like that, it's tough to do it all on your own. It's almost like teamwork. I helped other people, and then in return, they helped me."

While well known in the Los Angeles area for being a Rams Legend as well as for his broadcasting work, Ferragamo hasn't relied on that notoriety to draw and retain clients to his real estate business.

"I don't expect them to know Vince Ferragamo was a former athlete," he said. "I just would hope they would remember me as someone who was helpful and serviced them for their home needs. Whether it be on a purchase or sale or refinance. But people who obviously were football fans, it's a little bit easier to attract them as clients than people who didn't know you.

"Our company has always done a good job servicing our clients and that speaks volumes for what we do. I enjoy helping people. I've owned the company for 30 years, and the realtors that have worked for me, I enjoy the fact that I'm helping them be successful and make a living doing real estate."

Making their home in Orange County, Ferragamo and his wife, Jodi, have three daughters: Venessa, Cara and Jenna; and three grandchildren.

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