Yet, there are times when even the best work of a villain can backfire. Paul, for instance, is still distressed over his setback in a big game against the Lions last year. Late in the fourth quarter, the Rams led 24-20, and Detroit had third down and 14 to go on its own 25. Bobby Layne got off a pass and Paul bumped him a moment after he had cut loose the ball.
The pass was wide of the mark and Los Angeles fans let out a happy roar, assuming the Lions would be forced to punt. But an official cited Paul for roughing the passer. The 15-yard penalty gave the Lions a first down and new hope, and they drove for the touchdown that won the game, 27-24. The loss eliminated the Rams from title contention.
"Our pictures showed Layne looking intently at his receiver downfield," says Paul, "but when he saw the pass was going to miss, he suddenly remembered I had brushed him and he began Bumsteading all over the joint. The ironic thing is, what I did to Layne was the mildest thing I had done all afternoon."