Born of training room boredom, Rams' 'Mob Squad' moniker catches on

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- On the heels of a dominant performance in his team's season-opening win against the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald made an appearance on SportsCenter on Tuesday afternoon.

But nothing Donald said resonated with Rams fans more than what he was wearing. The soft-spoken, understated tackle made his appearance in a gray T-shirt bearing the words "Mob Squad" in blue letters, with the Rams logo in place of the "O" in "Mob."

The Rams' official Twitter account tweeted a picture with the hashtag #MobSquad and immediately got multiple replies asking where to buy the shirt.

Subsequent tweets from the account got similar replies and defensive end Chris Long followed by tweeting a picture of the television he was watching when Donald was on, accompanied by the words "Mob Squad."

Much like the team, Long was instantly inundated with requests for the Mob Squad T-shirt. But before we get into the possibilities the moniker brings, let us first dive into its origin.

This will come as a surprise to almost no one, but professional football players spend a lot of time in the training room. It's a part of the job, whether it's something as simple as getting an ankle taped or more serious, like a full-blown rehabilitation. As you could probably guess, the downtime in the training room leads to players having plenty of time on their hands to solve the world's problems ... or, you know, mess around on the Internet.

"You know how it goes; we spend a lot of time in there," Long said, laughing. "So somebody found something and made a T-shirt out of it."

Allow defensive tackle Michael Brockers to take you back to the training room at Rams Park about two years ago.

"We thought about how our defense plays and how we practice and stuff like that," Brockers said. "We might have looked on Wikipedia -- which is a terrible source -- but it said a flock of rams together is known as a mob. So we called ourselves the Mob Squad because we are a flock of Rams on the field."

As Brockers points out, Wikipedia is generally not considered a strong source, and as reporters we avoid it. But in this case, it seemed necessary to circle back to the site to see what it had to say about a mob of Rams. Sure enough, under the main article about sheep (a male sheep is known as a ram), it says the following: "A group of sheep is called a flock, herd or mob."

Rams linebacker Daren Bates said it just made sense to embrace the idea. After some discussion, the players and athletic trainers began to hatch the idea to have "Mob Squad" T-shirts made. It didn't happen right away, but Bates said he got his shirt last year.

"It's just a whole bunch of Rams coming to tear stuff up," Bates said. "We're going to be there and there's going to be a group of us as a collective unit. We are a squad and we are going to come and wreak havoc."

Until Donald wore it on national television on Tuesday, "Mob Squad" had mostly been an in-house moniker. Over the past 48 hours, it has picked up plenty of steam. The team's official Twitter account has made the hashtag a staple of many of its posts and the requests for shirts and other gear with the nickname have popped up.

As nicknames go, the Rams defense has been through a few in recent years including the #SackCity hashtag of a year ago. That fizzled after the Rams posted just one sack in five games. For their part, Long and teammates have avoided trying to give themselves a nickname.

"I'm not really a nickname guy," Long said. "You've got to be careful with those nicknames. It's a hell of a cool T-shirt and it'd be a cool thing to go buy, but I'm not really into self-appointing nicknames."

Now that the label has grown organically, it seems there's a commitment to making it stick.

"I think we are now fully committed to wearing the Mob Squad and getting people on the Mob Squad train," Brockers said.

The Rams say they have had a lot of people reach out in an effort to buy the shirt and they're in the process of examining league rules and working through copyright and approval processes. If that happens and it becomes available, don't be surprised if the line forms behind Long.

"It was a shirt that Aaron wore on national TV and now everybody wants to buy it," Long said. "People love it. I actually don't have one but I want one. They put in an order for it in the summer and now that my favorite player got one and he was on TV with it, I might have to put in an order."