Los Angeles Rams
|Los Angeles Rams|
First season: 1936
Play in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, California
Headquartered at California Lutheran University
Thousand Oaks, California
Training camp at the University of California, Irvine
|General manager||Les Snead|
|Head coach||Jeff Fisher|
Conference championships (10)
Division championships (15)
|Playoff appearances (27)|
In St. Louis
In Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Rams are a professional American football team based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Rams compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Rams franchise has won three NFL championships, and is the only franchise to win championships while representing three different cities (Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951, and St. Louis in 1999).
The franchise began in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The club was owned by Homer Marshman and featured players such as William "Bud" Cooper, Harry "The Horse" Mattos, Stan Pincura and Mike Sebastian. Damon "Buzz" Wetzel joined as general manager.
After winning the 1945 NFL Championship Game, the franchise moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1946, making way for Paul Brown's Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference and becoming the only NFL championship team to play the following season in another city. The club played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a reconstructed Anaheim Stadium in nearby Anaheim in 1979.
After the 1994 NFL season, the Rams left California and moved east to St. Louis, Missouri. Five seasons after relocating, the team won Super Bowl XXXIV in a 23–16 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Rams continued to play in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis until the end of the 2015 NFL season, when the team filed notice with the NFL of its intent to pursue a relocation back to Los Angeles. The move was approved by a 30–2 margin at an owners' meeting in January 2016, with the Rams returning to the city for the 2016 NFL season.
Cleveland Rams (1936–1945)
The Cleveland Rams were founded in 1936 by attorney Homer Marshman and player-coach Damon Wetzel, a former Ohio State star who also played briefly for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Pirates (now the Pittsburgh Steelers). Their name, the Rams, comes from the nickname of Fordham University. "Rams" was selected to honor the hard work of the football players that came out of that university. They were part of the newly formed American Football League and finished the 1936 regular season in second place with a 5–2–2 record, trailing only the 8–3 record of league champion Boston Shamrocks.
The Rams joined the National Football League on February 13, 1937, and were assigned to the Western Division. The Rams would be the fourth in a string of short-lived teams based in Cleveland, following the Cleveland Tigers, Cleveland Bulldogs and Cleveland Indians. From the beginning, they were a team marked by frequent moves, playing in three stadiums over several losing seasons. However, the team did feature the MVP of the 1939 season, rookie halfback Parker Hall.
In June 1941, the Rams were bought by Dan Reeves and Fred Levy, Jr. Reeves, an heir to his family's grocery-chain business that had been purchased by Safeway, used some of his inheritance to buy his share of the team. Levy's family owned the Levy Brothers department store chain in Kentucky and he also came to own the Riverside International Raceway. Levy owned part of the Rams, with Bob Hope another of the owners, until Reeves bought out his partners in 1962.
The franchise suspended operations and sat out the 1943 season because of a shortage of players during World War II and resumed playing in 1944. The team finally achieved success in 1945, which proved to be their last season in Ohio. Quarterback Bob Waterfield, a rookie from UCLA, passed, ran, and place-kicked his way to the league's Most Valuable Player award and helped the Rams achieve a 9–1 record and winning their first NFL Championship, a 15–14 home field victory over the Washington Redskins on December 16. The victory was provided by a safety: Redskins great Sammy Baugh's pass bounced off the goal post, then backward, through his team's own end zone. The next season, NFL rules were changed to prevent this from ever again resulting in a score; instead, it would merely result in an incomplete pass.
Los Angeles Rams (1946–1994)
1946–48: Starting over in Los Angeles
On January 12, 1946, Reeves was denied a request by the other NFL owners to move the Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles and the then-103,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He threatened to end his relationship with the NFL and get out of the professional football business altogether unless the transfer to Los Angeles was permitted. A settlement was reached and, as a result, Reeves was allowed to move his team to Los Angeles. Consequently, the NFL became the first professional coast-to-coast sports entertainment industry.
From 1933, when Joe Lillard left the Chicago Cardinals, through 1946, there were no Black players in American professional football. After the Rams had received approval to move to Los Angeles, the Rams entered into negotiations to lease the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams were advised that a precondition to them getting a lease was that they would have to integrate the team with at least one African-American; the Rams agreed to this condition. Subsequently, the Rams signed Kenny Washington on March 21, 1946. The signing of Washington caused "all hell to break loose" among the owners of the NFL franchises. The Rams added a second black player, Woody Strode, on May 7, 1946, giving them two black players going into the 1946 season.
The Rams were the first team in the NFL to play in Los Angeles (the 1926 Los Angeles Buccaneers were strictly a road team), but they were not the only professional football team to play its home games in the Coliseum between 1946 and 1949. The upstart All-America Football Conference had the Los Angeles Dons compete there as well. Reeves was taking a gamble that Los Angeles was ready for its own professional football team – and suddenly there were two in the City of Angels. Reeves was proven to be correct when the Rams played their first pre-season game against the Washington Redskins in front of a crowd of 95,000 fans. The team finished their first season in L.A. with a 6–4–1 record, second place behind the Chicago Bears. At the end of the season Walsh was fired as head coach. The Coliseum would be the home of the Rams for more than 30 years, but the facility was already over 20 years old on the day of the first kickoff.
In 1948, halfback Fred Gehrke painted horns on the Rams' helmets, making the first modern helmet emblem in pro football. Late in 1949, the Dons were folded into the Rams when the All-America Football Conference ceased operations.
1949–56: Three-end formation
The Rams' first heyday in Southern California was from 1949 to 1955, when they played in the pre-Super Bowl era NFL Championship Game four times, winning once in 1951. During this period, they had the best offense in the NFL, even though there was a quarterback change from Bob Waterfield to Norm Van Brocklin in 1951. The defining Offensive players of this period were wide receiver Elroy Hirsch, Van Brocklin and Waterfield. Teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Tom Fears, Hirsch helped create the style of Rams football as one of the first big play receivers. During the 1951 Championship season, Hirsch posted a then stunning 1,495 receiving yards with 17 touchdowns. The popularity of this wide-open offense enabled the Los Angeles Rams to become the first pro football team to have all their games televised in 1950.
1957–64: Newcomers to L.A. and record attendance
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Los Angeles Rams went from being the only major professional sports franchise in Southern California and Los Angeles to being one of five. The Los Angeles Dodgers moved from Brooklyn in 1958, the Los Angeles Chargers of the upstart AFL was established in 1960, the Los Angeles Lakers moved from Minneapolis in 1960, and the Los Angeles Angels were awarded to Gene Autry in 1961. In spite of this, the Rams continued to thrive in Southern California. In the first two years after the Dodgers moved to California, the Rams drew an average of 83,681 in 1958 and 74,069 in 1959. The Rams were so popular in Los Angeles that the upstart Chargers chose to relocate to San Diego rather than attempt to compete with the immensely popular Rams. The Los Angeles Times put the Chargers plight as such: "Hilton [the Chargers owner at the time] quickly realized that taking on the Rams in L.A. was like beating his head against the wall."
During this time, the Rams were not as successful on the field as they had been during their first decade. The team's combined record from 1957 to 1964 was 24–35–1 (.408), but the Rams continued to fill the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a regular basis. While the National Football League's average attendance ranged from the low 30,000s to the low 40,000s during this time, the Rams were drawing anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 fans more than the league average. In 1957, the Rams set the all-time NFL attendance record that stood until 2006 and broke the 100,000 mark twice during the 1958 campaign.
1965–69: The Fearsome Foursome
The 1960s were defined by the Rams great defensive line of Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, and Lamar Lundy, dubbed the "Fearsome Foursome." It was this group of players who restored the on-field luster of the franchise in 1967 when the Rams reached (but lost) the conference championship under legendary coach George Allen. That 1967 squad became the first NFL team to surpass one million spectators in a season, a feat the Rams repeated the following year. In each of those two years, the L.A. Rams drew roughly double the number of fans that could be accommodated by their current stadium for a full season.
George Allen led the Rams from 1966 to 1970 and introduced many innovations, including the hiring of a young Dick Vermeil as one of the first special teams coaches. Though Allen would enjoy five straight winning seasons and win two divisional titles in his time with the Rams he never won a playoff game with the team, losing in 1967 to Green Bay 28–7 and in 1969 23–20 to Minnesota. Allen would leave after the 1970 season to take the head coaching job for the Washington Redskins.
Quarterback Roman Gabriel played eleven seasons for the Rams dating from 1962 to 1972. From 1967 to 1971, Gabriel led the Rams to either a first- or second-place finish in their division every year. He was voted the MVP of the entire NFL in 1969, for a season in which he threw for 2,549 yards and 24 TDs while leading the Rams to the playoffs. During the 1970 season, Gabriel combined with his primary receiver Jack Snow for 51 receptions totaling 859 yards. This would prove to be the best season of their eight seasons as teammates.
In 1972, Chicago industrialist Robert Irsay purchased the Rams for $19 million and then traded the franchise to Carroll Rosenbloom for his Baltimore Colts and cash. The Rams remained solid contenders in the 1970s, winning seven straight NFC West championships between 1973–79. Though they clearly were the class of the NFC in the 1970s along with the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, they lost the first four conference championship games they played in that decade, losing twice each to Minnesota (1974, 1976) and Dallas (1975, 1978) and failing to win a league championship.
1973–78: NFC West champions
The Rams' coach for this run was Chuck Knox, who led the team through 1977. The Chuck Knox-coached Rams featured an unremarkable offense carried into the playoffs annually by an elite defensive unit. The defining player of the 1970s L.A. Rams was Jack Youngblood. Youngblood was called the 'Perfect Defensive End' by fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen. His toughness was legendary, notably playing on a broken leg during the Rams' run to the 1980 Super Bowl. His blue-collar ethic stood in opposition to the perception that the Rams were a soft 'Hollywood' team. However, several Rams players from this period took advantage of their proximity to Hollywood and crossed over into acting after their playing careers ended. Most notable of these was Fred Dryer, who starred in the TV series Hunter from 1984 to 1991, as well as Olsen, who retired after 1976. During the 1977 offseason, the Rams, looking for a veteran quarterback, acquired Joe Namath from the Jets. In spite of a 2-1 start to the regular season, Namath's bad knees rendered him nearly immobile and after a Monday night defeat in Chicago, he never played again. With Pat Haden at the helm, the Rams won the division and advanced to the playoffs, but lost at home to Minnesota. Chuck Knox left for the Bills in 1978, after which Ray Malavasi became head coach. Going 12-4, the team won the NFC West for the sixth year in a row and defeated the Vikings, thus avenging their earlier playoff defeat. However, success eluded them again as they were shut out in the NFC Championship by the Cowboys.
1979: First Super Bowl appearance
It was the Rams' weakest divisional winner (an aging 1979 team that only achieved a 9-7 record) that would achieve the team's greatest success in that period. Led by third-year quarterback Vince Ferragamo, the Rams shocked the heavily favored and two-time defending NFC champion Dallas Cowboys 21-19 in the Divisional Playoffs, then shut out the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0 in the conference championship game to win the NFC and reach their first Super Bowl. Along with Ferragamo, key players for the Rams were halfback Wendell Tyler, offensive lineman Jackie Slater, and Pro Bowl defenders Jack Youngblood and Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds.
The Rams' opponent in their first Super Bowl was the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The game would be a virtual home game for the Rams as it was played in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. Although some oddsmakers set the Rams as a 10½ point underdog, the Rams played Pittsburgh very tough, leading at halftime 13-10 and at the end of the third quarter 19-17. In the end, however, the Steelers finally asserted themselves, scoring two touchdowns in the 4th quarter and completely shutting down the Rams offense to win their fourth Super Bowl, 31-19.
1980–82: The move to Anaheim
Prior to the 1979 NFL season, owner Carroll Rosenbloom died in a drowning accident, and his widow, Georgia Frontiere, inherited 70 percent ownership of the team. Frontiere then fired stepson Steve Rosenbloom and assumed total control of Rams operations. As had been planned prior to Rosenbloom's death, the Rams moved from their longtime home at the Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium in nearby Orange County in 1980.
The reason for the move was twofold. First, the NFL's blackout rule forbade games from being shown on local television if they did not sell out within 72 hours of the opening kickoff. As the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum seated 92,604 at the time, it was rarely possible to sell that many tickets even in the Rams' best years, and so most Rams home games were blacked out. Second, this move was following the population pattern in Southern California. During the 1970s and 1980s, the decline of manufacturing industries in the northeastern United States combined with the desire of many people to live in a warmer climate caused a large-scale population shift to the southern and western states. As a result, many affluent new suburbs were built in the Los Angeles area. Anaheim Stadium was originally built in 1966 to be the home of the California Angels. To accommodate the Rams' move, the ballpark was reconfigured and enclosed to accommodate a capacity of 69,008 in the football configuration. With their new, smaller home, the Rams had no problem selling out games.
In 1980, the team posted an 11-5 record, but only managed a wild card spot and were sent packing after a loss to the Cowboys. Age and injuries finally caught up with the Rams in 1981, as they only won six games and missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years. After the 1982 season was shortened to nine games by a strike, the Rams went 2-7, the worst record in the NFC.
In 1982, the Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles and took up residence in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The combined effect of these two moves was to divide the Rams' traditional fanbase in two. This was coupled with the early 1980s being rebuilding years for the club, while the Raiders were winners of Super Bowl XVIII in the 1983 season. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers won championships in 1980 and 1982 en route to winning five titles in that decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 1981 and 1988, and even the Los Angeles Kings made a deep run in the playoffs in 1982, and acquired fan interest following the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in 1988. As a result, the Rams declined sharply in popularity during the 1980s.
1983–91: Robinson takes over the Rams and the Dickerson era
The hiring of coach John Robinson in 1983 provided a needed boost for pro football in Orange County. The former USC coach began by cutting the aged veterans left over from the 1970s teams. His rebuilding program began to show results when the team rebounded to 9-7 in 1983 and defeated Dallas in the playoffs. However, the season ended after a rout at the hands of the soon-to-be champion Redskins. Another trip to the playoffs in 1984 saw them lose to the Giants. They made the NFC Championship Game in 1985 after winning the division, where they would be shut out by the eventual champion Chicago Bears 24-0.
The most notable player for the Rams during that period was running back Eric Dickerson, who was drafted in 1983 out of SMU and won Rookie of the Year. In 1984, Dickerson rushed for 2,105 yards, setting a new NFL record. Dickerson would end his five hugely successful years for the Rams in 1987 by being traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a number of players and draft picks after a bitter contract dispute, shortly after the players' strike that year ended. Dickerson was the Rams' career rushing leader until 2010, with 7,245 yards. Despite this trade, the Rams remained contenders due to the arrival of the innovative offensive leadership of Ernie Zampese. Zampese brought the intricate timing routes he had used in making the San Diego Chargers a state-of-the-art offense. Under Zampese, the Rams rose steadily from 28th rated offense in 1986 to 3rd in 1990. The late 1980s Rams featured a gifted young QB in Jim Everett, a solid rushing attack and a fleet of talented WRs led by Henry Ellard and Flipper Anderson.
After a 10-6 season in 1986, the Rams were booted from the playoffs by Washington. After one game of the 1987 season was lost to the players' strike, the NFL employed substitutes, most of which were given derogatory nicknames (in this case the Los Angeles Shams). After a 2-1 record, the Rams' regulars returned, but the team only went 6-9 and did not qualify for the postseason.
The Rams managed to return in 1988 with a 10-6 record, but then were defeated by Minnesota in the wild card round. Los Angeles won the first five games of 1989, including a sensational defeat of the defending champion 49ers. They beat the Eagles in the wild card game, then beat the Giants in overtime before suffering a 30-3 flogging at the hands of the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Although it wasn't apparent at the time, the 1989 NFC Championship Game was the end of an era. The Rams would never have another winning season in Los Angeles. They crumbled to 5-11 in 1990, followed by a 3-13 season in 1991.
1992–94: Exit from Southern California
Robinson was fired at the end of the 1991 season. The return of Chuck Knox as head coach, after Knox's successful stints as head coach of the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, would not boost the Rams' fortunes. His run-oriented offense marked the end of the Zampese tenure in 1993. Knox' game plans called for an offense that would be steady, if unspectacular. Unfortunately for the Rams, Knox's offense was not only aesthetically unpleasing but dull as well, especially by 1990s standards. The Rams finished last in the NFC West during all three years of Knox' second stint, and were never a serious contender during this time.
As the losses piled up and the team was seen as playing uninspired football, the Rams' already dwindling fan base was reduced even further. By 1994, support for the Rams had withered to the point where they were barely part of the Los Angeles sports landscape. With sellouts becoming fewer and far between, the Rams saw more of their games blacked out in Southern California. One of the few bright spots during this time was Jerome Bettis, a bruising running back from Notre Dame. Bettis flourished in Knox' offense, running for 1,429 yards as a rookie, and 1,025 in his sophomore effort.
As has become increasingly common with sports franchises, the Rams began to blame much of their misfortune on their stadium situation. With Orange County mired in a deep recession resulting largely from defense sector layoffs, the Rams were unable to secure a new or improved stadium in the Los Angeles area, which ultimately cast their future in Southern California into doubt.
By 1995, the Rams franchise had withered to a mere shadow of its former self. Accusations and excuses were constantly thrown back and forth between the Rams fan base, ownership, and local politicians. Many in the fan base blamed the ownership of Georgia Frontiere for the franchise's woes, while ownership cited the out-dated stadium and withering fan support.
Frontiere finally gave up and decided to move the Rams franchise to St. Louis. However, on March 15, 1995, the other league owners rejected Frontiere's bid to move the franchise by a 21–3–6 vote. Then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated after rejecting the move, "This was one of the most complex issues we have had to approach in years. We had to balance the interest of fans in Los Angeles and in St. Louis that we appreciate very much. In my judgment, they did not meet the guidelines we have in place for such a move." The commissioner also added: "Once the bridges have been burned and people get turned off on a sports franchise, years of loyalty is not respected and it is difficult to get it back. By the same token, there are millions of fans in that area who have supported the Rams in an extraordinary way. The Rams have 50 years of history and the last 5 or so years of difficult times can be corrected."
Georgia, however, responded with a thinly veiled threat at a lawsuit. The owners eventually acquiesced to her demands, wary of going through a long, protracted legal battle. Tagliabue simply stated that "The desire to have peace and not be at war was a big factor" in allowing the Rams move to go forward. In a matter of a month, the vote had gone from 21–6 opposed to 23–6 in favor. Jonathan Kraft, son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, elaborated on the commissioner's remarks by saying that "about five or six owners didn't want to get the other owners into litigation, so they switched their votes." Only six franchises remained in opposition to the Rams move from Los Angeles: the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, and Washington Redskins. After the vote was over, Dan Rooney publicly stated that he opposed the move of the Los Angeles Rams because "I believe we should support the fans who have supported us for years."
St. Louis Rams (1995–2015)
1995–98: Starting over in St. Louis
The 1995 and 1996 seasons were under the direction of head coach Rich Brooks. Their most prolific player from their first two seasons was the fan-favorite Isaac Bruce. Then in 1997, Dick Vermeil was hired as the head coach. That same year, the Rams traded up in the 1997 NFL draft to select future All-Pro offensive tackle, Orlando Pace.
1999–2004: The Greatest Show on Turf
The 1999 season started with quarterback Trent Green injuring his leg in preseason play, which would leave him sidelined for the entire season; the starting job fell to backup Kurt Warner, who came out of college an undrafted free agent and whose career had included stints with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League and the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. Vermeil told the public that the Rams would "Rally around Kurt Warner, and play good football." Warner synced up with Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce to lead the Rams to one of the most historic Super Bowl offenses in history, posting 526 points for the season. This was the beginning of what would later become known around the league as The Greatest Show on Turf. Warner shocked the league by throwing for 41 touchdowns. This would lead the Rams to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they beat the Tennessee Titans, 23–16. Warner was named the MVP. Following the Rams' win, Vermeil retired and Vermeil's offensive coordinator Mike Martz was hired as head coach. He managed to take the Rams to Super Bowl XXXVI, where the team lost to the New England Patriots 20–17. Martz helped the Rams establish a pass-first identity that would post an NFL record number of points forged over the course of 3 seasons (1999–2001). However, in the first round in the 2004 draft, the Rams chose Oregon State running back Steven Jackson as the 24th pick of the draft.
2005–11: Playoff drought
Although the Rams were one of the most productive teams in NFL history at the time, head coach Mike Martz was criticized by many as careless with game management. He often feuded with several players as well as team president and general manager, Jay Zygmunt. However, most of his players respected him and went on record saying that they enjoyed him as a coach. In 2005, Martz was ill, and was hospitalized for several games, allowing assistant head coach Joe Vitt to coach the remainder of the season, although Martz was cleared later in the season, team president John Shaw would not allow him to come back to coach the team. After the Rams fired Martz, former Minnesota offensive coordinator Scott Linehan took control of an 8–8 team in 2006. In 2007, Linehan led the Rams to 3–13.
Following the 2007 season, Georgia Frontiere died January 18, 2008 after a 28-year ownership that began in 1979. Ownership of the team passed to her son Dale "Chip" Rosenbloom and daughter Lucia Rodriguez. Chip Rosenbloom was named the new Rams majority owner. Linehan was already faced with scrutiny from several players in the locker room, including Torry Holt and Steven Jackson. Linehan was then fired on September 29, 2008, after the team started the season 0–4. Jim Haslett, defensive coordinator under Linehan, was interim head coach for the rest of the 2008 season.
John Shaw then resigned as president, and personnel chief Billy Devaney was promoted to general manager on December 24, 2008, after the resignation of former president of football operations and general manager Jay Zygmunt on December 22.
On January 17, 2009 Steve Spagnuolo was named the new head coach of the franchise. In his previous post as Defensive Coordinator with the New York Giants, Spagnuolo masterminded a defensive scheme that shut down the potent offense of the previously undefeated and untied New England Patriots, the odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl that year. In one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history, the New York Giants defeated the Patriots 17–14. In spite of his success as Defensive Coordinator with the New York Giants, Spagnuolo's first season as Head Coach of the Rams was terribly disappointing as the team won only once in 16 attempts.
On May 31, 2009, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the majority owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez officially offered their majority share of Rams for sale. They retained the services of Goldman Sachs, a prominent investment banking firm, to help facilitate the sale of the Rams by evaluating bids and soliciting potential buyers. The sale price was unknown, but at the time Forbes magazine's most recent estimate listed the Rams' value at $929 million. On the final day to do so, then-minority owner Stan Kroenke invoked his right of first refusal to buy the 60% of the team that he did not already own. The original intended buyer, Shahid Khan, would later acquire the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2011 season. Pursuant to NFL rules, owners are prohibited from owning other sports teams in markets where there is already an NFL team. At the time of purchase, Kroenke (d/b/a Kroenke Sports Enterprises) owned the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rapids, and the Pepsi Center (home to the Nuggets and the Avalanche). Kroenke, a real estate and sports mogul married to a Walmart heir, also owned Altitude Sports and Entertainment. These interests violated the NFL's cross-ownership rule. Nevertheless, on August 25, 2010, NFL owners unanimously approved Stan Kroenke as the owner of the franchise contingent upon his eventual divestment of his Colorado sports interests. Kroenke complied with the rule when he transferred ownership of the Nuggets, Avalanche, the Pepsi Center, and the Altitude to his son Josh Kroenke.
The Rams received the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft after finishing the 2009 season with a 1–15 record. The team used the pick to select quarterback Sam Bradford from the University of Oklahoma. The Rams finished the 2010 season second in the NFC West with a record of 7–9. Bradford started all 16 games for the Rams after earning the starting QB position during the preseason. On October 24, 2010, running back Steven Jackson passed Eric Dickerson as the franchise's career rushing leader.
On February 4, 2011, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year. Sam Bradford received 44 out of 50 possible votes from the nationwide panel of media members. After a solid rookie campaign by starting quarterback Sam Bradford and strong finish to the 2010 season, the team and fans held high expectations for the upcoming season. Unfortunately for the team, due to injuries to starters and poor execution, the Rams fell to a 2–14 record for the 2011 season. On January 2, 2012, head coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney were fired. McDaniels also left the team and returned to New England to become their offensive coordinator for the 2012 season.
2012–15: Final years in St. Louis
Under the terms of the lease that the Rams signed in St. Louis, the Edward Jones Dome was required to be ranked in the top tier of NFL stadiums through the 2015 season. The Rams were free to break the lease and either relocate without penalty or continue to lease the Dome on a year-to-year basis. In May 2012, the Dome was ranked by Time magazine as the 7th worst major sports stadium in the United States. In a 2008 Sports Illustrated poll, St. Louis fans ranked it the worst of any NFL stadium with particularly low marks for tailgating, affordability and atmosphere.
On January 20, 2012, it was announced that the Rams would play one home game a season at Wembley Stadium in London for the next 3 seasons. The first game was played against the New England Patriots on October 28, 2012. On August 13, 2012, it was announced that the Rams had withdrawn from the 2013 and 2014 games.
On March 10, 2015, the Rams were involved in a rare trade of starting quarterbacks as they traded quarterback Sam Bradford along with a fifth-round pick in 2015 to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the Eagles' quarterback Nick Foles along with a fourth-round pick in 2015 and a second round pick in 2016. Foles had a 14-4 record as starter of the Eagles and an impressive TD-INT ratio of 46-17, while Bradford had an 18-30-1 record with the Rams. In the 2015 NFL draft the Rams drafted running back Todd Gurley, offensive tackles Andrew Donnal, Jamon Brown, and Rob Havenstein, quarterback Sean Mannion, wide receiver Bud Sasser, guard Cody Wichmann, inside linebacker Bryce Hager, and defensive end Martin Ifedi, After Gurley was drafted Rams traded Zac Stacy to the New York Jets on May 2 for a 7th round pick. Stacy had led the team in rushing in 2013. On December 17, 2015, the Rams (then known as the St. Louis Rams) played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what was their final home game in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles the next season.
Los Angeles Rams (2016–present)
2016: Return to Los Angeles
On January 5, 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that Stan Kroenke and the Stockbridge Capital Group were partnering to develop a new NFL stadium on an Inglewood, California property owned by Kroenke. The project would include an 80,000-seat stadium and a 6,000-seat performance venue, while re-configuring the previously approved Hollywood Park plan for up to 890,000 square feet of retail, 780,000 square feet of office space, 2,500 new residential units, a 300-room hotel and 25 acres of public parks, playgrounds, open space and pedestrian and bicycle access. In lieu of this, St. Louis countered with a stadium plan for the north riverfront area of downtown, with the hope of keeping the Rams franchise in the city. On February 24, 2015, the Inglewood City Council approved the stadium and the initiative with construction on the stadium planned to begin in December 2015. The stadium would likely be ready by 2019. The Rams planned to relocate to their new stadium in Inglewood in 2019.
The day following the conclusion of the 2015 regular season, the Rams, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers all filed to relocate to Los Angeles. The same day, the NFL announced that any franchise approved for relocation would need to pay a $550 million relocation fee. On January 12, 2016, the NFL owners voted 30–2 to allow the Rams to return to Los Angeles. The Rams are the second NFL franchise to return to a city in which they had previously played. The first NFL franchise to relocate to a previous city was the Raiders, who had left Los Angeles, along with the Rams, in 1995; the Raiders relocated back to Oakland, California. The Rams are the first major league sports team to relocate since 2011 when the Atlanta Thrashers left Atlanta and became the new Winnipeg Jets. The team held a press conference at The Forum in Inglewood on January 15, 2016, to officially announce its return to Los Angeles to start play in the 2016 season and on that day the Rams began a season ticket deposit campaign that lasted from January 15 to February 8 which resulted in more than 56,000 season ticket deposits made. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the temporary home stadium of the Rams for three seasons (2016 to 2018) until the Inglewood Stadium is opened for the 2019 season.
On February 4, 2016, the Los Angeles Rams selected Oxnard, California to be the site of their minicamp, offseason team activities, and offseason program that began on April 18. In March, it was announced that the Rams would be featured on HBO's Hard Knocks. On March 30, California Lutheran University and the Rams reached an agreement that allowed the team to have regular-season training operations at CLU's campus for the next two years. The Rams will pay for two practice fields, paved parking, and modular buildings constructed on the northwestern corner of the campus.
On April 14, 2016, the Rams traded with the Tennessee Titans for the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, along with a fourth and sixth-round pick in the same draft. To acquire the picks, the Rams traded away their first-round pick, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick in 2016. They also traded away their first and third-round picks in the 2017 NFL draft. On April 28, 2016, the Rams made their first selection in the 2016 NFL draft by selecting quarterback Jared Goff first overall.
In June 2016, it was reported that the Rams had sold 63,000 season tickets, which was short of their goal of 70,000. Later on July 12, 2016, it was reported that they had sold 70,000 tickets, reaching their goal. In July 2016, the Rams signed a three-year agreement with UC Irvine to use the university's facilities for training camp, with an option to extend it to two more years. On July 29, 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Rams would host their first training-camp practice and "Rams Family Day" on Saturday, August 6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which was open to the public.
The Rams played their first game in the Los Angeles area since 1994, a 22-year absence, with a preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 13. The Rams defeated the Cowboys 28–24 in front of a crowd of 89,140, a record attendance for a pre-season game.
On September 12, 2016, the Rams played their first regular season game since returning to Los Angeles, where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers 28–0 at Levi's Stadium. On September 18, in front of over 91,000 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks 9–3 in their first home regular season game in Los Angeles since 1994, and their first game at the Coliseum since 1979.
Forbes estimated the worth of the team in 2015 as $1.45 billion, which at the time were the 28th most valuable NFL team and 44th most valuable sports team in the world. However, after relocating back to Los Angeles, it was reported by CBS Sports that the Rams' value shot up to $2.9 billion (doubling in value) placing them third in the NFL (only behind the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots). On September 15, 2016, Forbes released their 2016 "The Business of Football" valuations list the Los Angeles Rams value was $2.9 billion making the team the 6th most valuable team in the NFL.
Logo and uniforms
The Rams were the first NFL team to have a logo on their helmets. Ever since halfback Fred Gehrke, who worked as a commercial artist in off-seasons, painted ram horns on the team's leather helmets in 1948, the logo has been the club's trademark.
When the team debuted in 1937, the Rams' colors were red and black, featuring red helmets, black uniforms with red shoulders and sleeves, tan pants, and red socks with black and white stripes. One year later they would switch their team colors to gold and royal blue, with gold helmets, white pants, royal blue uniforms with gold numbers and gold shoulders, white pants with a royal stripe, and solid royal blue socks. By the mid-1940s the Rams had adopted gold jerseys (with navy blue serif numerals, navy blue shoulders, gold helmets, white pants with a gold-navy-gold stripe, and gold socks with two navy stripes). The uniforms were unchanged as the team moved to Los Angeles. The helmets were changed to navy in 1947. When Gehrke introduced the horns, they were painted yellow-gold on navy blue helmets. In 1949 the team adopted plastic helmets, and the Rams' horns were rendered by the Riddell company of Des Plaines, Illinois, which baked a painted design into the helmet at its factory. Also in 1949 the serif jersey numerals gave way to more standard block numbers. Wider, bolder horns joined at the helmet center front and curving around the earhole appeared in 1950; this design was somewhat tapered in 1954–1955. Also in 1950 a blue-gold-blue tri-stripe appeared on the pants and "Northwestern University-style" royal blue stripes were added to jersey sleeves. A white border was added to the blue jersey numerals in 1953. So-called "TV numbers" were added on jersey sleeves in 1956. In accordance with a 1957 NFL rule dictating that the home team wear dark, primary-colored jerseys and the road team light shirts, the Rams hurriedly readied for the regular season new royal-blue home jerseys with golden striping and golden front and back numerals with a white border. The white border was removed in 1958. The Rams continued to wear their golden jerseys for 1957 road games, but the following year adopted a white jersey with blue numerals and stripes. In 1962–63 the team's road white jersey featured a UCLA-style blue-gold-blue crescent shoulder tri-stripe.
In 1964, concurrent with a major remodeling of the team's Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum home, the colors were changed to a simpler blue and white. The new helmet horns were white, wider, and separated at the helmet center front. The blue jersey had white numerals with two white sleeve stripes. The white jersey featured blue numerals and a wide blue crescent shoulder stripe. A 1964 league rule allowed teams to wear white jerseys for home games and the Rams were among several teams to do so (the Dallas Cowboys, who introduced their blue-white-silverblue uniform that season, have worn white at home ever since), as owner Dan Reeves felt it would be more enjoyable for fans to see the various colors of the rest of the league as opposed to always having the Rams in blue and the visiting team in white. The pants were white with a thick blue stripe. In 1970, in keeping with the standards of the fully merged NFL and AFL, names appeared on the jersey backs for the first time. The sleeve "TV numbers", quite large compared to those of other teams, were made smaller in 1965. From 1964 to early 1972 the Rams wore white jerseys for every home league game and exhibition, at one point not wearing their blue jerseys at all from the 10th game of 1967 through the 1971 opener, a stretch of 48 games; it was a tradition that continued under coaches Harland Svare, George Allen, and Tommy Prothro. But new owner Carroll Rosenbloom did not particularly like the Rams' uniforms, so in pursuit of a new look the team wore its seldom-used blue jerseys for most home games in 1972. During that season Rosenbloom's Rams also announced an intention to revive the old blue and gold colors for 1973, and asked fans to send in design ideas.
The colors returned to blue and yellow-gold in 1973. The new uniform design consisted of yellow-gold pants and curling rams horns on the sleeves – yellow gold horns curving from the shoulders to the arms on the blue jerseys, which featured golden numerals (a white border around the numerals, similar to the 1957 style, appeared for two exhibitions and was then removed). Players' names were in contrasting white. The white jersey had similarly shaped blue horns, blue numerals, and names. The white jerseys also had yellow gold sleeves. The gold pants included a blue-white-blue tri-stripe, which was gradually widened through the 1970s and early 1980s. The blue socks initially featured two thin golden stripes, but these were rarely visible. From 1973 to 1976 the Rams were the only team to wear white cleats on the road and royal blue cleats at home. The new golden helmet horns were of identical shape, but for the first time the horn was not factory-painted but instead a decal applied to the helmet. The decal was cut in sections and affixed to accommodate spaces for face-mask and chin-strap attachments, and so the horn curved farther around the ear hole. Jersey numerals were made thicker and blunter in 1975. The Rams primarily wore blue at home with this combination, but after 1977 would wear white on occasion at home, often for games against the Dallas Cowboys. The team wore its white jerseys for most of its 1978 home dates, including its post-season games with the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys – though the latter is the only postseason game the Cowboys have ever won while outfitted in their blue jerseys. Standard gray face masks became dark blue in 1981. The Rams wore white jerseys exclusively in the 1982 and 1993 seasons, as well as other selected occasions throughout their 15 seasons in Anaheim.
On April 12, 2000, the then-St. Louis Rams debuted new logos, team colors, and uniforms. The Rams' primary colors were changed from blue and yellow to Millennium Blue and New Century Gold. A new logo of a charging ram's head was added to the sleeves and gold stripes were added to the sides of the jerseys. The new gold pants no longer featured any stripes. Blue pants and White pants with a small gold stripe (an extension off the jersey stripe that ended in a point) were also an option with the Rams only electing to wear the white set in a pre-season game in San Diego in 2001. The helmet design essentially remains the same as it was in 1948, except for updates to the coloring, navy blue field with gold horns. The 2000 rams'-horn design features a slightly wider separation at the helmet's center. Both home and away jerseys had a gold stripe that ran down each side, but that only lasted for the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
In 2003, the Rams wore blue pants with their white jerseys for a pair of early-season games, but after losses to the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks, the Rams reverted to gold pants with their white jerseys. In 2005, the Rams wore the blue pants again at home against Arizona and on the road against Dallas. In 2007, the Rams wore all possible combinations of their uniforms. They wore the Blue Tops and Gold Pants at home against Carolina, San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle, and on the road against Dallas. They wore the blue tops and blue pants at home against Arizona, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh on Marshall Faulk night. They wore the blue tops and white pants on the road in Tampa Bay and at home against Green Bay. They wore white tops and gold pants at New Orleans and San Francisco. They wore white tops and white pants at Seattle and Arizona. And they wore white tops and blue pants at Baltimore and Cincinnati. In 2008, the Rams went away with the gold pants. The gold pants were used for only one regular season game at Seattle. The blue jerseys with white pants and white jerseys with blue pants combination were used most of the time. For the 2009 season, the Rams elected to wear the white pants with both jerseys for the majority of the time except the games against the Vikings and Texans (see below) where they wore the throwback jerseys from the 1999 season, week 2 in Washington when they wore gold pants with the blue jersey, and week 12 against Seattle when they wore blue pants with the blue jersey.
Since moving to St. Louis, the Rams had worn blue at home. Like most other teams playing in a dome, the Rams did not need to wear white to gain an advantage with the heat despite the team's midwestern geographic location. The Rams wore their white jerseys and blue pants in St. Louis against the Dallas Cowboys, on October 19, 2008, forcing the Cowboys to wear their "unlucky" blue uniforms, and won the game 34–14. On October 21, 2012, the Rams wore white jerseys and white pants against the Green Bay Packers.
The NFL approved the use of throwback uniforms for the club during the 2009 season to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 1999 Super Bowl Championship Team. The Rams wore the throwback uniforms for two home games in 2009 – October 11 against the Minnesota Vikings and December 20 against the Houston Texans. The Rams wore their 1999 throwbacks again on October 31, 2010, when they beat the Carolina Panthers 20–10. In 1994, the team's last season in Southern California, the Rams wore jerseys and pants replicating those of their 1951 championship season for their September games with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.
On January 15, 2016, the Los Angeles Rams unveiled a new logo. The only change to the team's primary logo was the location name (from St. Louis to Los Angeles, to reflect the team's move; see logo at left). The team's colors were retained. The Rams also announced there would be no significant changes to the team's uniforms, apart from the newly updated logos with the Los Angeles location name.
In a March 21, 2016 interview with the Los Angeles Times, team COO Kevin Demoff said that there would be no uniform change for the team until 2019 (the same year the new stadium opens). On August 11, 2016, the team announced on Twitter that it would wear its all-white uniforms for six of the team's eight home games during the 2016 season as a nod to the Fearsome Foursome era; the Rams plan to wear their alternate royal blue throwback jerseys for the other two home games.
Los Angeles Rams roster
| Offensive linemen
| Reserve lists
Numbers that have been retired by the Rams:
|Los Angeles Rams retired numbers|
Pro Football Hall of Famers
Former Rams in the Pro Football Hall of Fame include Joe Namath (12), Marshall Faulk (28), Ollie Matson (33), Orlando Pace (76), Andy Robustelli (84), Dick "Night Train" Lane (81), and coach Earl "Dutch" Clark. Three other figures associated with the Rams are members of the Hall of Fame, but were elected more on the basis of their accomplishments outside the Rams:
- Sid Gillman, inducted as a coach, was head coach for five seasons, but had his greatest success in the same position with the San Diego Chargers.
- Pete Rozelle, inducted as a contributor, served the Rams as public relations director and later general manager, but his induction was based mainly on his 29 years as NFL commissioner.
- Tex Schramm, also inducted as a contributor, was a Rams executive for 9 years, but had his greatest impact as president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys for their first 29 years of existence.
|Cleveland/St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams Hall of Famers|
|40||Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch||1968||RB, WR||1949–1957|
|67, 48||Les Richter||2011||LB, K||1954–1962|
|11||Norm Van Brocklin||1971||QB, P||1949–1957|
|7||Bob Waterfield||1965||QB, DB, K, P||1945–1952|
St. Louis Football Ring of Fame
Former Rams were included in the St. Louis Football Ring of Fame, which was located in the The Dome at America's Center. All players included are Hall of Famers, but there have been a few exceptions for team executives and coaches.
Los Angeles Rams staff
Radio and television
The Rams were the first NFL team to televise their home games; in a sponsorship arrangement with Admiral television, all home games of the 1950 NFL season were shown locally. The Rams also televised games in the early 1950s. The 1951 NFL Championship Game was the first championship game televised coast-to-coast (via the DuMont Network). During the team's years in Los Angeles all games were broadcast on KMPC radio (710 AM); play-by-play announcers were Bob Kelley (who accompanied the team from Cleveland and worked until his death in 1966), Dick Enberg (1966–77), Al Wisk (1978–79), Bob Starr (1980–89, 1993), Eddie Doucette (1990), Paul Olden (1991–92), and Steve Physioc (1994). Analysts included Gil Stratton, Steve Bailey, Dave Niehaus (1968–72), Don Drysdale (1973–76), Dick Bass (1977–86), Jack Youngblood (1987–91), Jack Snow (1992–94), and Deacon Jones (1994).
From 2009 until 2015, the Rams' flagship radio station while in St. Louis was 101.1 FM WXOS, a sports station in St. Louis affiliated with ESPN Radio. Steve Savard, served as the play-by-play man with D'Marco Farr in the color spot and Brian Stull reporting from the field. From 2000 to 2008 KLOU FM 103.3 was the Rams' flagship station with Savard as the play-by-play announcer. Until October 2005, Jack Snow had been the color analyst since 1992, dating back to the team's days in the Los Angeles area. Snow left the booth after suffering an illness and died in January 2006. Former Rams offensive line coach Jim Hanifan joined KLOU as the color analyst the year after Jack Snow's departure. Before the Rams moved to KLOU, from 1995 to 1999 the Rams games were broadcast on KSD 93.7 FM. Preseason games not shown on a national broadcast network were seen on KTVI in St. Louis; preseason games are produced by the Kroenke-owned Denver-based Altitude Sports and Entertainment, which shares common ownership with the Rams.
Months after the Rams returned to Los Angeles, it was announced on June 9, 2016, KCBS will air preseason games that are not nationally aired. Under the league's current national TV contracts for regular season games, KTTV will carry the bulk of the team's games due to Fox holding the rights to the NFC contract. KCBS-TV, under CBS' NFL contract, will air selected Thursday Night Football games, as well as Sunday afternoon games in which the Rams host an AFC team (pending any Rams Sunday game that the league later decides in mid-season to "cross-flex" between Fox and CBS). KNBC will then air NBC Sunday Night Football and some selected Thursday night games. As for games that will air on ESPN's Monday Night Football, KABC simulcasts these cable games as the two channels share common ownership, since they simulcast ESPN's telecast of their first preseason game back in Los Angeles. The league's blackout policy isn't in effect for the season, meaning that besides road games, all Rams home games are televised in the Los Angeles market, no matter the attendance.
On June 20, 2016, the Rams announced their Los Angeles area radio broadcasting rights agreements. The team's new official flagship radio partner is KSPN-AM ESPN LA 710 AM, while the team's official FM radio partner is KSWD The Sound 100.3 FM. On July 19, 2016, the Rams announced that they had reached an agreement with KWKW for Spanish-language coverage of the team. On August 5, 2016, the Rams announced their radio broadcast teams are J.B. Long (play-by-play announcer), Maurice Jones-Drew (color analyst), and D'Marco Farr (sideline reporter) and the Spanish broadcasting team consisting of Mario Solis and Troy Santiago. ESPN 710 will also broadcast a three-hour broadcast show featuring Steve Mason, Kirk Morrison (former NFL linebacker) and Eric Davis as well as a two-hour post game show with Travis Rodgers, Morrison, and Davis, Jeff Biggs will cover the Rams during halftime. On August 10, 2016, the Los Angeles Rams announced the broadcast team for their 2016 season games with KCBS-TV providing English-language telecasts of all the team's preseason games (with the exception of contests broadcast by the NFL's national television partners) and Spanish-language sister stations Univision 34 (one home game) and UniMás 46 (two away games) in Spanish. The KCBS broadcasting team includes Andrew Siciliano (play-by-play), Pro Football Hall of Fame former running backs Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk providing color commentary with CBS' Jill Arrington and Rams reporter Dani Klupenger providing insight; a pre-game show airs half-hour before each game in addition former Rams quarterback Jim Everett and former defensive back and sports anchor/director Jim Hill provides an inside look into each upcoming game with player profiles, live interviews from booth and sideline updates and a thirty-minute postgame that provides game breakdown, film analysis, and press conference look-ins with head coach Jeff Fisher and select players. Also, Rams' news and highlights are shown on Rams Primetime Live on KABC-TV on Saturday nights after college football games during the regular season, hosted by sports anchor Rob Fukuzaki, sports reporter Ashley Brewer and traffic reporter Alysia Del Valle.
|Los Angeles, California (Flagship station)||KSPN||710 AM|
|Los Angeles, California (Flagship station)||KSWD||100.3 FM|
|Bakersfield, California||KHTY||970 AM|
|Banning, California||KMET||1490 AM|
|Fresno, California||KKBZ||105.1 FM|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||KBAD||920 AM|
|Palm Springs, California||KKUU||103.9 FM|
|Reno, Nevada||KPLY||630 AM|
|Ridgecrest, California||KWDJ||1360 AM|
|Riverside, California||KTIE||590 AM|
|San Bernardino, California||KTIE||590 AM|
|Santa Maria, California||KSMA||1240 AM|
|Los Angeles, California (Flagship station)||KWKW||1330 AM|
|Bakersfield, California||KWAC||1490 AM|
|Fresno, California||KGST||1600 AM|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||KENO||1450 AM|
|Oxnard, California||KXLM||102.9 FM|
|Oxnard, California||KOXR||910 AM|
|Pomona, California||KTMZ||1220 AM|
|Riverside, California||KCAL||1410 AM|
|Sacramento, California||KMJE||980 AM|
|San Bernardino, California||KCAL||1410 AM|
|Ventura, California||KXLM||102.9 FM|
|Ventura, California||KOXR||910 AM|
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