Given Wisconsin’s dairy industry, it makes sense that fans of the Green Bay Packers are “Cheeseheads,” with hats shaped like cheese wedges.
But why do fans of the Los Angeles Rams wear watermelons on their heads? Why not wear hats with, say, ram horns?
After all, it’s not like L.A. is some great watermelon producer. Neither is St. Louis, Mo., the NFL team’s home from 1995 to 2015.
Turns out, you can thank a superfan named Lance Goldberg. According to an explainer on the Rams website, Lance has been showing up to Rams games with watermelons on his head since 1982, and he’s the first of the team’s “Melonheads.”
Lance started wearing watermelons on his head to make Rams fans less “inhibited.”
According to the explainer, Lance went from Rams fan to superfan at age 10, while watching the team take on the St. Louis Cardinals — now the Arizona Cardinals — in a playoff game in Miami, Fla.
“As I was watching, [former Rams defensive end] Jack Youngblood tipped, then intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Right at that very moment, the Rams became my team. Game over!”
After moving from Miami to Los Angeles, though, Lance found the Rams crowd to be a bit … lackluster. “My opinion of the crowd was that it was very inhibited,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2016. “I thought: Let me put a melon on my head. Let me show it’s OK to show some emotion.”
Lance said people will “yell their butts off when you have produce on your head.”
Believe it or not, Lance’s watermelon antics paid off. “I wanted to show the crowd that it’s OK to be wild and fanatical, and that making some noise can actually help our team win!” he said in the Rams article. “It’s amazing how many people will follow your lead and yell their butts off when you have produce on your head!”
In 1984, some of Lance’s friends also started wearing watermelons to Rams games, forming the “Melon Patch.”
Even though football commentator John Madden once questioned the Melonheads’ mental health during a telecast, the Patch got a vote of confidence from former Rams president John Shaw, as the Times reported. When the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, John flew the Melonheads to Missouri to help support the team.
Lance's daughter and some of his favorite Rams players are Melonheads, too.
These days, the Patch has grown to include a new generation of Melonheads. “I am known as ‘Big Seed’ and my 8-year-old daughter, Sofia, is ‘Lil Seed,’” Lance said in the Rams article.
And for all these years, the Melon Patch has been seeding energy — pun attended — among fans, coaches, and players, including late Rams star Kevin Greene.
“We strategically had season seats right by the Rams tunnel so we could pump up the players as they came onto the field,” Lance said. “Kevin Greene actually put one of our watermelons on his head after a victorious game and ran into the tunnel and headed to the locker room … on two separate occasions!”
John Johnson, a free safety who played for the Rams from 2017 to 2020, also showed Melonhead pride. “Besides being an all-pro talent, he has a great personality and supports the Melonheads,” Lance said. “He once wore a Melonheads t-shirt on the field during pregame warm-ups at the Coliseum.”
So, watermelons were just an arbitrary choice of headwear for Lance and his buddies. “People always ask: ‘Why melons? What do melons have to do with the Rams?’” he told the Times. “And the answer is, nothing.”