For the last 8 1/2 years I've had to endure some pretty oppressive conditions here at the Santa Maria Times and I've been quiet for far too long.
No, I'm not talking about the long and strange hours or the time I've spent covering games in the cold and rain.
I'm talking about Elliott Stern and his desk decor, particularly his Boston Red Sox World Series championship flag that's been hanging over my desk since for as long as I can remember.
Elliott is a true Boston homer. He pulls for the Red Sox and the Patriots. Meanwhile, I go for the Red Sox' arch nemesis, the Yankees, and another team that's developing quite a rivalry with his Patriots, the L.A. Rams.
Thankfully Elliott doesn't add an item to his desk every time a Boston team wins a title. I'm pretty sure there wouldn't be much room left, though honestly there probably isn't room right now anyway. (Somehow, the Patriot memorabilia has even leeched on to Kenny Cress, who for some reason has a Tom Brady bobblehead on his desk even though he doesn't like the Patriots).
I've been pulling for the Yankees and Rams (the same teams my dad roots for) as long as I can remember. (Yes even when the Rams left for St. Louis and even when they were consistently awful).
So, of course, Mr. Stern has needled me a few times about his precious Red Sox and Patriots winning a few titles since I started working with him in 2010.
But he's been nice about it. And I haven't said too much, mostly because he's the one who gave me my start in this wonderful world of newspapering.
My silence ends now. It's time for me to speak out against the evil Boston sports empires. And hopefully you will all join me and, after Sunday, I can pick up a Super Bowl champs flag in Rams colors for my desk and maybe add a Yankees one before the year is up.
I mean, after all, we are just a few hours away from the L.A. Coliseum and a county adjacent to the Rams' headquarters in Thousand Oaks.
The Rams are your hometown team, although the franchise likely alienated much of its SoCal fanbase when it moved to St. Louis. (Where they ended up winning a Super Bowl).
Now that they are back it only makes sense you all would be pulling for the Rams over Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Since the (St. Louis) Rams won their one-and-only Super Bowl 19 years ago, Brady and Bill Belichick are readying for their ninth (!!!) They've won five and are going for another.
Enough is enough. Now, I'm not going to sit here and really get into the reasons why you should go against Stern's Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl.
Instead, let's focus on all the reasons you should go for the Rams.
Not only are they based in California, but the Rams have a ton of California talent. Quarterback Jared Goff is from Marin County and both the Rams' top receivers are from California. (Brandin Cooks is from Stockton and Robert Woods hails from L.A. Yes, Brady is also a California kid).
Running back C.J. Anderson is perhaps the feel-good story of the Super Bowl after bouncing around three teams this season and he's from Vallejo and also went to Cal, like Goff. Defensive back Marcus Peters is Oakland through-and-through and reserve DB Troy Hill went to St. Bonaventure in Ventura.
The Rams have also had to endure so much losing before the Sean McVay era began two years ago. Between 2007 and 2016 they never won more than seven games and before last year hadn't won a division title since 2003.
The Patriots have won 15 of 18 division titles since 2003. They're 36-20 all-time in the playoffs.
So I think most people would agree that the Patriots have won enough and the Rams and their fans are due for some celebration.
The Rams have also woven themselves into the Southern California community, providing support after the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks this past November and during the wildfires in the fall.
Also, I'm sure Dodger fans could really go for an L.A. win in a big game after back-to-back losses in the World Series. In fact, the last time Southern California really celebrated a major title was with the Lakers in 2010.
In closing, it's just time. It's time for Southern California. It's time for the Patriots' dynasty to finally run out of steam.
And, after 19 years, it's just time for me to celebrate another Super Bowl win.
(We can only hope there won't be another officiating controversy).