There are superfans, and then there’s Lewis Lazarus. At 92, he has supported his beloved Los Angeles Rams for eight decades—including two when the team played in St. Louis—and has gone to some pretty astounding lengths to make sure he didn’t miss their games.
As a soldier in the U.S. Army, he once snuck out of his base in Fort Collins, Colorado, raced to LA in time for kickoff, and then returned for roll call on Monday morning. He has cheered on the Rams at 19 stadiums, and he and his late mother routinely made 150-mile round trips to home games.
“Sometimes when I’m struggling to fall asleep, I try to count back through all the places I’ve seen them play,” he said.
In February 2022, Lazarus was above the end zone at the Rams’ home, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, shouting “Hallelujah!” as his team scored a Super Bowl-sealing touchdown. The victory was also a fitting conclusion to his game-going days.
“The stadiums these days are just so huge,” Lazarus said, “and I can’t quite get around like I used to.”
But that doesn’t mean Lazarus needs to stop watching games in style, raucously celebrating every touchdown and turnover.
In a city full of celebrities, Lazarus is arguably the Rams’ No. 1 fan. His devotion to the team earned him a profile in the Los Angeles Times and attracted attention from Amazon, which begins streaming Thursday Night Football this week on Prime Video.
Amazon teamed up with rapper and TV personality Xzibit to trick out Lazarus’ fan cave in his Santa Monica apartment. Xzibit, a LA native and football fan himself, spent years tricking out cars, and is a master of turning the mundane into the fabulous. In August, he showed up at Lazarus’ door with a number of the latest Amazon devices to bring the superfan’s game experience to a new level.
“I try to stay away from things I’ve already done before, but this was right on the nose of what I enjoy,” Xzibit said. “It’s about bringing joy to someone, and when I heard Lewis’ story, when I heard that he considers the Rams his family, I was all in.”
In addition to showcasing his lifelong dedication to the Rams, and to his late wife and children, Lazarus’ sun-splashed apartment is also a cozy memento of a life well lived. While long trips to see the Rams are no longer possible, until recently, Lazarus was an athlete himself. Dozens of his tennis trophies fill space between photos of family and friends. In the kitchen, beneath photographs of Yosemite National Park—one of Lazarus’ favorite places—placards memorialize his three holes in one.
But Lazarus didn’t have Wi-Fi, his television was small, and he had no way to listen to the jazz music he loves. That’s where Xzibit, his helpers, a truckload of Rams’ memorabilia, and Amazon devices came in.
With Lazarus at a suite in a nearby hotel, Xzibit and his team got to work upgrading his fan cave. They helped set Lazarus up with a Wi-Fi router and Amazon devices, and ensured the router would be able to handle all Lazurus’ streaming and bandwidth needs by installing an eero TrueMesh Wi-Fi system. They removed the old TV and replaced it with an Amazon Fire TV 55” Omni Series 4K UHD smart TV with hands-free voice controls with Alexa. They also installed glass display cases—creating a new home for Lazarus’ favorite trophies and photos.
They added Philips Hue smart lights, and an Echo smart speaker landed on a new stand so that Lazarus can easily ask Alexa to play his favorite jazz cuts, control compatible lights, and play sports updates. They also installed smart plugs, which allow Lazarus to use Alexa to control everyday devices like his coffee pot, and mounted an Echo Show 15 on his wall to keep him updated on upcoming Rams games with the monthly calendar.
These devices form Amazon’s vision for the smart home, where Alexa works with compatible smart plugs, thermostats, lights, and more to make Lazarus’ home smarter, simpler, and more convenient. Smart home devices like the ones Xzibit and his team installed in Lazarus’ fan cave will help him to simplify daily routines and root even harder for his Rams.
But the makeover wasn’t just about technology. Xzibit and one of the designers spent weeks at flea markets and vintage stores around LA acquiring Rams memorabilia from the last 80 years: game-worn jerseys, autographed footballs, and a signed photo of Lazarus’ favorite player, Rams legend Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch.
After a long day of work, it was time to bring Lazarus back. Xzibit greeted him outside the apartment building, and as the two sat to briefly chat through the details of the reveal, Lazarus, who normally sits with relaxed, slumped-back poise, couldn’t help but lean forward, eager and excited to see his new fan cave.
The two walked down the alleyway to Lazarus’ door. Xzibit stepped in first, holding it open for Lazarus to enter, and … well, you’d forgive the neighbors for thinking the Rams had just won another Super Bowl.
“Holy Toledo! I can’t believe this!” Lazarus shouted, his eyes darting from the sleek new Fire TV on the wall to the accessible lounge chairs, beautifully smart-lit display cases, and vintage Rams gear. As he slowly examined the finer details of the room, Lazarus grew quiet, even emotional.
“It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful,” he murmured. “Hallelujah! You guys are really something!”
But Lazarus was only beginning to understand how truly tricked out his apartment was. Xzibit still needed to show him how to use Alexa.
“Alexa, when’s the next Rams game?” the rapper asked.
“The Rams will play the Falcons at home next Sunday, September 18 at 1:05 p.m.” replied the AI-powered voice assistant.
“Woah!” exclaimed Lazarus. It was time for a crash course.
So Xzibit got Lazarus comfortable on the couch, asked Alexa to play them some jazz music from Lazarus’ new Echo device, and walked him through all the ways Alexa can help make his life more convenient, and his football fandom even stronger. He told Lazarus all about Alexa Features, and most importantly for Lazarus, that all he has to do is say, “Alexa, play Thursday Night Football,” and his new smart TV will serve up the game without a click of a button.
For someone who didn’t even have Wi-Fi before Xzibit stepped in, Lazarus picked it all up really quickly. He turned to Xzibit, and asked, “Am I going to wake up now or what?”
Laughing, Xzibit and his crew said goodbye, and left Lazarus more prepared than ever to root his Rams to victory.
“I can’t believe this,” he beamed. “I can’t wait to bring my friends over so they can see it!”
Check out Lazarus' reaction to his new fan cave below:
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