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It Hurts But I Still Love The Rams

Here we are nearing the end of another abysmal season.  Here I am surprised, no astonished, that it is happening again.  What brings this astonishment?  It can only be explained by sentimentality.  It comes from the wishful thinking of a devoted fan.  Statistically, it’s certainly no surprise.  If we took a look back over the last 25 completed seasons we would see a great deal of disappointment.

In the last 25 years of completed seasons, the Rams have had winning seasons 32% of the time.  That is a total of 8 winning seasons shared by 3 coaches (Robinson, Martz, and Vermeil).  It is important to note that in 7of the 8 seasons the Rams had winning seasons they jumped out to what I would call a ‘great start’.  I am defining ‘great start’ as starting the season with at least 3 straight victories.  This happened twice with Mike Martz (started 6-0 in 2000 and 5-0 in 2001), 4 times with John Robinson (7-0 in 1985, 3-0 in 1986, 4-0 in 1988, and 5-0 in 1989), and once for Dick Vermeil in his Super Bowl winning season (6-0 in 1999).  John Robinson is the winning-est Rams coach during this 25 year period (he also coached the Rams for the longest period of time) 5-3.

Although it has been very important for the Rams to get a good start, their losing has come in many different ways.  The Rams had a losing record in 60% of their seasons during this time (8% went to ties, 8-8 in 2006 under Linehan and 8-8 in 2004 under Martz).  In the losing seasons, 33% were started with what I would classify as a ‘very bad’ start.  This is using the same criteria as above.  Very Bad = losing at least the first 3 games of the season.  With out beating the numbers to death, I’ll just share that the worst of which came in 2007 when Linehan’s St Louis Rams went 0-8 before they got their first victory of the season (thank you New Orleans Saints).

Beloved Chuck Knox came back to coach the Rams in 1992 after having an amazing 5 year run with the Rams in the late 70’s.  Knox took the Rams to the post season 1973-1977.  The ‘90s were much less tolerant with Coach Knox.  In 1992 with QB Jim Everett, RB Cleveland Gary, and WR Henry Ellard, The Rams finished the season 6-10.  The very next year with QB Jim Everett, 1993 Pro Bowl RB Jerome Bettis, and WR Henry Ellard they achieved only 5-11.  The final year of Coach Knox’s return the Rams finished a disappointing 4-12.  This occurred even though Jerome Bettis had another Pro Bowl year.  Of course that year the Rams QB was the very forgettable Chris Miller (who?).  Miller was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1991, but most of his career was spent losing with the Atlanta Falcons.

The winning-est coach, Robinson, was also the losing-est coach.  Again he also coached the Rams for the longest period of time (8 years).  Coach Robinson had 3 losing seasons with the Rams before vacating his position.  Only he and Coach Knox have this distinction. Of course Vermeil had 2 terrible seasons before pulling a Super Bowl out of his hat.  To give a little hope and perspective, the Rams had 9 straight losing seasons before that very glorious Super Bowl victory in 1999.

A finally thought, only once prior have the Rams had even an 0-5 start (not to mention 0-11).  This occurred in 2002 under Mike Martz.  The Rams ended up 7-9 that season.  So there is hope.  My new forecast for the year is 5-11.  (It could happen.)  I never thought I’d say this, but “Mike Martz, I miss you man.”  And to Rams fans…   never give up!!!

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