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St Louis Rams, History, and Hope

When a team has had a tough time over a period of years you start to look for a reason to have hope.  You can look at trends or maybe make comparisons.  We could say something like, “well, Joe Montana didn’t have any success at QB until his third year with the 49ers in 1981 and this is Sam Bradford’s third year so this should be the year Bradford begins to make his mark on the history books.”  Or since the last decade has been so tough for the Rams, we could go back and look at how the Rams have started other decades.  For example:

1 We are 2 years into the latest decade.  If it were to stand on its own merit it won’t look so good, but perhaps we wouldn’t consider it tragic.  We begin the period with a rookie quarterback with high expectations taking an improved team to a record of 7-9.  We looked to be on track and we’re expected to win the conference the subsequent year.  Instead of continued improvement the team is decimated with injuries and takes a huge step backwards finishing the season a dismal 2-14.

2 Now, let’s go back to the start of the previous decade.  In 2000, we had just come down from the mountain top after winning the 1999 season Super Bowl Championship.  Our master head coach Dick Vermeil retires and give the reigns to heir apparent Mike Martz.  Most of the high powered players remain with the team and we make another run for it.  We won’t cry too much about the Patriots cheating, but we come up a little short in 2000.  Martz had a few very public behavioral slips as the team’s performance began to slide.  Martz was replaced by several inexperienced head coaches (Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo) and by 2007 the team had begun their biggest losing slide in the organization’s history (crossing into the next decade).

3 1990 began much like 2000.  Entering this decade we had just come off an 11-5 record and The (Los Angeles) Rams had made it all the way to the division championship game before being beat up by the SF 49ers (stupid 49ers).  The 1990 Rams had nothing but prosperity to look forward to with starting QB Jim Everett and wide receivers Flipper Anderson and Henry Ellard.  But that year the Rams were plagued by turnovers.  They would turn the ball over 2 or more times in 8 games.  As it turns out the Rams didn’t make it back to the post season until 1999.

4 In 1980 the Rams were pretty much at the peak of the organization’s history.  In 1980 the Rams went 11-5 and then suffered a disappointing loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild card game.  The Rams went on to have 2 losing seasons before firing head Coach Ray Malavasi and bringing in John Robinson.  Robinson brought the team back to the power house it had been in the 1970s.  From 1983 to 1989 the Rams went to the playoffs all but 1 year (1987).

5 The 1970 team also started out in a similar fashion to the 1980 team.  We had a winning season in 1970 (9-4), but failed to make the playoffs.  The next couple of years the Rams showed a slight decline (8-5 and 6-7 respectively).  Legendary head coach Chuck Knox was brought in and he began what I would consider to be the start of the Rams dynasty.  (By dynasty I mean the beginning of a winning tradition; the beginning of excellent football and recognizable star athletes in the modern era.)

If we can find a trend her it would have to be that the Rams, outside of 2000, tend to struggle at the beginning of a decade.  It happened in the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, and so far in our current decade.  How relative is this in predicting future performance?  Well, today I’m not looking to dispel statistics or prove the odd makers wrong.  I am looking for hope.  With that in mind, we’ll say this 3rd season of the 2010’s will be a turn-around season (just like it has been for us historically) and that just like Joe Montana, Sam Bradford will begin to make his mark on pro football.

Go Rams!!!


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