Todd Lyght became interested in the Rams more than a decade before becoming a Ram.
"I grew up in Washington, D.C., and was a big Redskins fan and a big Steelers fan. But I believe it was Super Bowl XIV, when the Rams played the Steelers in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, that's the first time I really followed the Rams and became a fan of the organization," Lyght said.
"I thought that that team was really exciting even though they ended up losing. They had guys like Vince Ferragamo and Wendell Tyler, some really remarkable players, (Jack) Youngblood and all the rest of them. I thought, 'Yeah, that's s a team that I would like to follow in the future as a young fan of the NFL."
After the young fan became a young adult and a two-time All-American cornerback at Notre Dame, Lyght was chosen by the Rams in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft.
"I was really elated. The draft process really wasn't the super hyped spectacle that it is today," Lyght said. "Matter of fact, I was the only person in terms of being a student-athlete there at the Draft in New York. I was very excited about going to L.A. and playing for the Rams."
Lyght's move from Notre Dame's campus in South Bend, Indiana to Los Angeles went well. Thanks in part because there's seemingly a touch of the Irish everywhere.
"I was very fortunate because Frank Stams and Pat Terrell were my former teammates at school," Lyght said. "They were on the Rams, and so the adjustment of coming into that locker room and having teammates that I had already played with and already had friendships with, really eased my transition.
"But I also have to give a lot of credit to Jerry Gray, who was the older veteran within our locker room. He was the leader of the defensive back unit, and he really took me under his wing and helped me develop and become a young professional."
The first eight seasons of Lyght's career with the Rams could have been a reoccurring scene in the movie, "Groundhog Day." Losing was commonplace. Going through four head coaches from 1991-98 – John Robinson, Chuck Knox, Rich Brooks, and Dick Vermeil – their cumulative record was 40-88. How did Lyght and his teammates keep a positive attitude?
"It really was tough not having a lot of success," he said. "It's interesting because being a young athlete and playing on a lot of different teams, I had never been on a losing team. And so finally getting to the NFL, and getting to a situation where we're playing at the highest level and not having a lot of success was very difficult.
"But having gone through all the transitions with the different coaches, with the defensive coordinators, having to learn new defenses, I always knew that if I prepared the right way, just try to be the best player that I could possibly be, and be the best teammate that I could possibly be, that the situation would arise where we would have a chance to compete for a championship at some point."
That point came in 1999. Then in St. Louis, the Rams posted a 13-3 record, making the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, and went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans.
"When I look at that, obviously, we had great coaches led by Coach Vermeil. All of our assistant coaches were really locked in on putting our players in a position to be successful on Sundays," Lyght said. "I really think the key to our success, as a team, would have to be singled out to the competitive intensity that we had in practice. Some of those practices where we were competing against each other at a really high level, made it so that we were able to execute at a high level on game day.
"And I'd have to say the camaraderie of my teammates and the things that we built together, not only as an organization, but just the things that guys did to help the community become a better place (are among my fondest memories). I know the Rams do a great job with their outreach program to make sure that they're constantly giving back to the community and I'm really proud of that."
During his 10 seasons with the Rams, Lyght collected 31 interceptions, three which he returned for touchdowns, and added a fourth one in the 1994 season opener against Arizona with a 74-yard fumble return. What makes him most proud of his career?
"I think the high level of consistency and the leadership that I brought to the organization," said Lyght, who was selected to play in the 1999 Pro Bowl. "I prided myself on really being a great teammate and also making sure that I took care of the younger players in terms of what their responsibility was within the organization.
"And I think that at one time, I had started over 120 consecutive games. That's, I guess, like a touch over eight seasons of consecutive starts. When you look at the average career span of NFL players, it's only three to five years. And to be able to start for over eight years consecutively shows my professionalism, and also my ability to handle the adversity and still keep moving in a positive direction. Which was really tough at times. But I wouldn't trade it for anything for the world because it did make winning the championship that much sweeter."
Concluding his 12-year career with the Detroit Lions, Lyght retired from the game in 2003, and now finds himself as a rookie again. In February, he joined First Team Real Estate in Anaheim Hills, CA.
"I'm a third-generation realtor. My grandfather had a brokerage in New York, and he always wanted me to get into real estate. As a youth, I would spend my summers filing for him and running errands, whatever he needed me to do," Lyght said.
"My grandfather passed last year. He was 102. And before he passed, he said make sure that you get your real estate license. So I kept that promise. I got it and am really enjoying it. We work with a lot of young families buying their first home, and that's always really a special event when you're able to present them with the keys to their home where they can start a new life with their family."
Lyght and his family make their home in Southern California. He and his wife, Stefanie, have a son, Logan, and a daughter, Luca.
"I'm going to be a proud dad right now," Lyght said. "Logan is a very accomplished runner in track. He is a junior at Mater Dei High School, and this year he won the Laguna Beach Championship in the 110 high hurdles, the Orange County Championship in the 110 high hurdles, and the Trinity League Championship in 110 high hurdles. He was the CIF Southern Section Division II Champion, and then he also finished fifth in the state of California Championships.
"Luca is 13. She's an honor roll student at Cerro Villa Middle School and plays soccer and also runs track.
"And being able to take my family to the Rams games, just in terms of like spending quality time, has been tremendous. We got the chance to go to a couple of games and spend some time at SoFi Stadium. It's a really great way for families to get out. I know my family really enjoys it, being able to share the Rams' success."