QUARTERBACK VINCE FERRAGAMO JULY 20, 1981

July 20, 1997

Ask Vince Ferragamo why he thinks one of his former teams, the
Los Angeles Rams, bolted to St. Louis in 1995 and he offers a
not-so-surprising answer. "Money," he says. "Plus, maybe there
wasn't such a great sense of loyalty. It's a business, you know."

Ferragamo has long known that. In April 1981, a little more than
a year after quarterbacking the Rams to a near upset of the
Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV, Ferragamo also left L.A.,
signing two one-year, $400,000 contracts with the Montreal
Alouettes of the CFL. "It was strictly business on my part,"
says Ferragamo, who turned down a one-year, $300,000 offer from
the Rams. "The emotional stuff was taken out of the equation. I
love California, but I was thinking about my career."

Ferragamo, who had been a college star at Nebraska, thought
wrong. In his one CFL season, he played less like Vince
Ferragamo and more like Vince Neil, throwing 25 interceptions in
13 games. "It was more like a minor league," he says of the CFL.
"We had a team on the downside with a lot of players who weren't
going to be around much longer."

Ferragamo left Canada and re-signed with the Rams for three more
seasons, but he failed to rediscover the Super Bowl magic. He
ended his career in 1986 after less-than-memorable stints with
the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers. Ferragamo was, to a
considerable degree, an athlete who could've been but never
really was. There were sparks of greatness--30 touchdown passes
in '80 (he first appeared on SI's cover in December of that
year, next to the words RAM POWER)--but also injuries and
inconsistency as he battled for the Rams' starting job.
Ferragamo still goes through the what-ifs. "My whole career was
spurts," he says. "When I got the chance, I'd always play well.
But I was given only short periods to do it. It could've been
different. I really think so."

Nowadays Ferragamo, 43, divides his time among his family (his
wife, Jodi, and daughters Venessa, 15, Cara, 13, and Jenna, 12),
his Touchdown Real Estate company in Anaheim Hills, Calif., and
the Vince Ferragamo Foundation, which raises money for the
Special Olympics. As busy as he is, he nonetheless feels
something is missing. "The thrills I had on the field in L.A.
and even Montreal--you can't duplicate those in the corporate
world," he says. "Sometimes I'll do a motivational speech, and
that's the closest I come in terms of getting fired up. I'll be
honest. I miss playing the game."

--JEFF PEARLMAN

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO [Cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED featuring Vince Ferragamo]

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