Buck Waterfield’s hallway is a like a trip into Rams history.
On the walls in his Santa Maria home are numerous black and white photos of the team during their days in Cleveland and Los Angeles.
They are a reminder that Waterfield is no ordinary Rams fan.
“I think Rams was probably the first words I said before I said mom or dad,” said Waterfield.
“That was taken right after they won the 1951 championship,” Waterfield points out to one picture in particular. “Dad is in the middle.”
His father, Hall of Fame Rams quarterback Bob Waterfield.
“He was the best in the NFL,” said Waterfield. “Last of the three-way quarterbacks. He punted, he kicked extra points, he kicked field goals and played defense.”
A Los Angeles native, Bob Waterfield led the then-Cleveland Rams to the world title as rookie in 1945.
“They went 9-1 and beat Washington in the World Championship game,” said Waterfield. “He was most valuable player and rookie of the year that year. That’s pretty good to come into the NFL as a rookie quarterback and take your team 9-1 and win a world title.”
After the team relocated to Los Angeles in 1946, Waterfield guided the Rams to another NFL championship in 1951.
“Dad was Mr. Ram because that’s what got the Rams franchise going,” said Waterfield. “When they came to LA and did so well. It just kind of solidified the Los Angeles Rams.”
He retired in 1952 after a stellar career in which he established several NFL records.
In 1965, Waterfield became one of the first players to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
His #7 is one of just eight numbers that is retired by the Rams.
Bob Waterfield died in 1983 of respiratory failure at the age of 62.
As famous as his dad was on the football field, Waterfield’s mom was just as well-known, if not more.
Waterfield’s also the son of legendary Hollywood actress Jane Russell.
“My parents’ friends were people like Clark Gable and (NFL legend) Elroy Hirsh and both sides of the coin, we had Hollywood people at our house and NFL players at our house,” said Waterfield.
Even with two famous parents, Waterfield recalls what he described was a normal childhood.
“From my perspective it was normal,” said Waterfield. “There really wasn’t anything different. I always ask people, when you did something wrong at home, did you get in trouble for it? They go, yeah, and I say, so did I.”
While his home life may have been typical, he was able to hang out with many Hollywood and football legendaries.
“It was special having and seeing other people and having access,” said Waterfield. “Had to access to a lot of things that most people wouldn’t have. That part was a lot of fun.”
Waterfield also fondly recalls many family trips to the Central Coast.
“My dad and my mom would come up,” said Waterfield. “We spent quite a bit of time in Santa Maria and the surrounding area here.”
Russell died in Santa Maria in 2011 at the age of 89.
It’s been 68 years since Bob Waterfield led the Rams to their first and only championship in Los Angeles.
With this year’s team in Super Bowl LIII just one win away from matching that feat, there’s no doubt who Waterfield will be rooting for this coming Sunday.
“I hope the Rams can win this game,” said Waterfield. “I think it would be great now that they’re back. I think it’s going to mean a lot to have another world title and in LA.”
As much as he would like the Rams to win the title, he said it will a very difficult task.
“I do believe the Rams can beat them if they play their game, but I don’t wouldn’t count on Bill Belichick and the Patriots out,” said Waterfield. “The Rams will definitely have their hands full after the Patriots lost last year to the Eagles. I don’t think Bill Belichick is planning on having two losses in row at the Super Bowl.”
Waterfield said he will be at his Santa Maria home on Sunday and will certainly watch the Rams take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.