History of the Los Angeles Rams

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Los Angeles Rams
Established 1946
Ended 1994
Played in Los Angeles, California (1946–1979)
Anaheim, California (1980–1994)
Los Angeles Rams logo
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (19461994)

Uniform (1981–1994)
LA Rams Uniforms.png
Team colors Royal Blue, California Gold, White
Fight song Los Angeles Rams Marching Song
Owner(s) Georgia Frontiere (1979–1994)
Carroll Rosenbloom (1972–1979)
Robert Irsay (1971–1972)
Daniel Reeves (1946–1971)
Team history
  • Cleveland Rams (1936-1942)
  • Suspended operations (1943)
  • Cleveland Rams (1944-1945)
  • Los Angeles Rams (1946–1994)
  • St. Louis Rams (1995-present)

League championships (1)

Conference championships (4)

  • NFL National: 1950, 1951
  • NFL Western 1955
  • NFC 1979

Division championships (11)

  • NFL West: 1949
  • NFL Coastal: 1967, 1969
  • NFC West: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985
Playoff appearances (21)
NFL: 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989
Home fields

The professional American football team now known as the St. Louis Rams previously played in the Greater Los Angeles Area from 1946 to 1994. This article chronicles the team's history during their time as the Los Angeles Rams, from playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum between 1946 and 1979, to playing at Anaheim Stadium (now Angel Stadium of Anaheim) in Anaheim from 1980 to 1994.


1946–48: Starting over in Los Angeles[edit]

Dan Reeves, owner of the Los Angeles Rams, 1946–1971

On January 12, 1946, Dan Reeves was denied a request by the other National Football League (NFL) owners to move his team, the Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles and the then-103,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[1] Reeves threatened to end his relationship with the NFL and get out of the professional football business altogether unless the Rams transfer to Los Angeles was permitted.[1][2][3] A settlement was reached and, as a result, Reeves was allowed to move his team to Los Angeles.[1][4][5][6] Consequently, the NFL became the first professional coast-to-coast sports entertainment industry.[1] At the time, the NFL did not allow African Americans to play in the league.[citation needed] 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.[7][8][9][10] Subsequently, the Rams signed Kenny Washington on March 21, 1946,[11][12][13] and racial segregation in the NFL was completely ended.[14]

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 proved 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 (the Dons merged with them in late 1949),[15] 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.[16]

The Rams had a play-by-play announcer Robert J. "Bob" Kelley from 1937 through 1965, known as "The Voice of the Rams," also broadcast for NCAA teams Notre Dame and Michigan football as well as the Los Angeles Angels Pacific Coast League team and American League team. Kelley had an early evening talk show on L.A. radio station KMPC, that was considered by most sports enthusiasts as highly entertaining. Kelley was generally considered a Legend and a true professional, one of the great radio, play-by-play announcers of our time. At the beginning of the 1951 World Championship game after the kickoff, Kelley was able to cite every player on the field prior to the first snap from scrimmage, an 80-yard touchdown ("and I think he's going to go all the way").

1949–1956: Three-end formation[edit]

Elroy Hirsch spent nine seasons with the Los Angeles Rams from 1949–1957.

The Rams' first heyday in Southern California was from 1949 to 1955, when they played in a pre-Super Bowl era NFL Championship Game four times, winning once in the 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.

1957–1964: Newcomers to LA and record attendance[edit]

Los Angeles Times clipping documenting the Rams' 1957 record attendance of 102,368 on November 10, 1957

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."[17]

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 (.407), 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.[18][19]

1965–69: The Fearsome Foursome[edit]

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 would become the first NFL team to surpass one million spectators in a season, a feat the Rams would repeat 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.

1970–72: Changes[edit]

Quarterback Roman Gabriel played eleven seasons for the Rams dating from 1962–72. From 1967-71, 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.

1973–79: NFC West champions[edit]

Jack Youngblood giving his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech in 2001.

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[edit]

Ironically, 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.

1980–1982: The Move to Anaheim[edit]

Anaheim Stadium, the home of the Los Angeles Rams from 1980–1994

Prior to the 1979 NFL season, owner Carroll Rosenbloom died in a drowning accident, and his widow, Georgia Frontiere, inherited 70% 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. As a result, the Rams declined sharply in popularity during the 1980s.

1983–1991: Robinson takes over the Rams and the Dickerson era[edit]

Eric Dickerson, one of the best running backs in history, was most famous for his time with the Los Angeles Rams. In 1984, Dickerson rushed for 2,105 yards in the season, a record that still stands today.

Therefore, 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.

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. Late in the title game, Everett collapsed to the turf untouched by San Francisco defenders.[20] Everett's reputation never recovered from what became known as the "phantom sack," and from then on he was perceived to shy away from hits by Rams fans. As a result of this reputation, Southern California sports talk host Jim Rome, would refer to Everett as "Chris Everett," referring to the female tennis player Chris Evert, on his radio and television show. During a live interview on Rome's ESPN2 show, Talk2, Everett challenged Rome to call him "Chris" to his face. When Rome responded by calling him "Chris," the seated Everett abruptly stood up, overturned a table, and pushed the startled host to the floor.[21] Everett then walked off the set.

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.

1992–1994: The fall of the L.A. Rams[edit]

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 plams 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 it has became 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.

1995: Things fall apart[edit]

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 to St. Louis. However, on March 15, 1995, the other league owners rejected Frontiere's bid to move the franchiseby 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."[22][23]

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 teams 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."[24]

List of seasons[edit]

Season Team League Conference Division Regular Season Attendance Postseason Results Awards
Finish Wins Losses Ties Rams Average NFL Average
Los Angeles Rams[25]
1946 1946 NFL West 2nd 6 4 1 42,834 (2/10) 34,397
1947 1947 NFL West 4th 6 6 0 32,130 (5/10) 30,226
1948 1948 NFL West 3rd 6 5 1 28,258 (5/10) 26,240
1949 1949 NFL West 1st 8 2 2 44,043 (1/10) 24,798 Lost NFL Championship (Eagles) 14–0
1950 1950 NFL National 1st 9 3 0 26,341 (6/13) 27,070 Won National Conference Playoff (Bears) 24–20
Lost NFL Championship (Browns) 30–28
1951 1951 NFL National 1st 8 4 0 44,196 (1/12) 28,741 Won NFL Championship (2) (Browns) 24–17
1952 1952 NFL National 2nd 9 3 0 53,157 (1/12) 31,278 Lost National Conference Playoff (Lions) 31–21 Hamp Pool (COY)
1953 1953 NFL Western 3rd 8 3 1 54,744 (1/12) 32,895
1954 1954 NFL Western 4th 6 5 1 54,734 (1/12) 33,769
1955 1955 NFL Western 1st 8 3 1 66,159 (1/12) 37,796 Lost NFL Championship (Browns) 38–14
1956 1956 NFL Western T-5th 4 8 0 61,190 (1/12) 38,293
1957 1957 NFL Western 4th 6 6 0 74,296 (1/12) 42,160
1958 1958 NFL Western T-2nd 8 4 0 83,681 (1/12) 44,690
1959 1959 NFL Western 6th 2 10 0 74,069 (1/12) 46,134
1960 1960 NFL Western 6th 4 7 1 61,724 (1/21) 32,150
1961 1961 NFL Western 6th 4 10 0 47,992 (7/22) 33,874
1962 1962 NFL Western 7th 1 12 1 41,572 (9/22) 35,355
1963 1963 NFL Western 6th 5 9 0 42,302 (9/22) 36,610
1964 1964 NFL Western 5th 5 7 2 55,764 (5/22) 40,636
1965 1965 NFL Western 7th 4 10 0 40,333 (13/22) 43,489
1966 1966 NFL Western 3rd 8 6 0 49,776 (10/24) 45,732
1967 1967 NFL Western Coastal 1st 11 1 2 60,000 (6/25) 48,606 Lost Conference Playoff Game (Packers) 28–7 George Allen (COY)
Deacon Jones (DPOY)
1968 1968 NFL Western Coastal 2nd 10 3 1 65,127 (4/26) 48,777 Deacon Jones (DPOY)
1969 1969 NFL Western Coastal 1st 11 3 0 71,242 (3/26) 51,053 Lost Conference Playoff Game (Vikings) 23–20 Roman Gabriel (MVP)/(Rams MVP)
1970 1970 NFL NFC West 2nd 9 4 1 71,242 (2/26) 54,375 Merlin Olsen (Rams MVP)
1971 1971 NFL NFC West 2nd 8 5 1 72,453 (3/26) 56,935 Isiah Robertson (DROY)
Marlin McKeever (Rams MVP)
1972 1972 NFL NFC West 3rd 6 7 1 72,461 (4/26) 58,416 Merlin Olsen (Rams MVP)
1973 1973 NFL NFC West 1st 12 2 0 74,168 (2/26) 55,339 Lost Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys) 27–16 Chuck Knox (COY)
John Hadl (NFC)/(Rams MVP)
1974 1974 NFL NFC West 1st 10 4 0 75,492 (2/26) 52,098 Won Divisional Playoffs (Redskins) 19–10
Lost Conference Championship (Vikings) 14–10
Lawrence McCutcheon (Rams MVP)
1975 1975 NFL NFC West 1st 12 2 0 65,284 (4/26) 52,754 Won Divisional Playoffs (Cardinals) 35–23
Lost Conference Championship (Cowboys) 37–7
Jack Youngblood (DPOY)/(Rams MVP)
1976 1976 NFL NFC West 1st 10 3 1 63,141 (4/26) 53,983 Won Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys) 14–12
Lost Conference Championship (Vikings) 24–13
Jack Youngblood (Rams MVP)
1977 1977 NFL NFC West 1st 10 4 0 53,585 (10/28) 52,711 Lost Divisional Playoffs (Vikings) 14–7 Lawrence McCutcheon (Rams MVP)
1978 1978 NFL NFC West 1st 12 4 0 53,388 (14/28) 53,983 Won Divisional Playoffs (Vikings) 34–10
Lost Conference Championship (Cowboys) 28–0
Jim Youngblood (Rams MVP)
1979 1979 NFL NFC West 1st 9 7 0 52,970 (17/28) 55,960 Won Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys) 21–19
Won Conference Championship (Buccaneers) 9–0
Lost Super Bowl XIV (Steelers) 31–19
Jack Youngblood (Rams MVP)
Kent Hill (Rams ROY)
1980 1980 NFL NFC West 2nd 11 5 0 62,550 (8/28) 56,667 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Cowboys) 34–17 Vince Ferragamo (Rams MVP)
Johnnie Johnson (Rams ROY)
1981 1981 NFL NFC West 3rd 6 10 0 60,503 (11/28) 57,665 Nolan Cromwell (Rams MVP)
Jairo Penaranda (Rams ROY)
1982[26] 1982 NFL NFC 14th 2 7 0 51,690 (16/28) 52,527 Vince Ferragamo (Rams MVP)
Barry Redden (Rams ROY)
1983 1983 NFL NFC West 2nd 9 7 0 52,780 (15/28) 54,364 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Cowboys) 24–17
Lost Divisional Playoffs (Redskins) 51–7
Eric Dickerson (OROY)/NFC/Rams MVP/Rams ROY
1984 1984 NFL NFC West 2nd 10 6 0 54,455 (17/28) 55,528 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Giants) 16–13 Eric Dickerson (NFC)/(Rams MVP)
Ron Brown (Rams ROY)
1985 1985 NFL NFC West 1st 11 5 0 56,242 (15/28) 55,408 Won Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys) 20–0
Lost Conference Championship (Bears) 24–0
LeRoy Irvin (Rams MVP)
Dale Hatcher (Rams ROY)
1986 1986 NFL NFC West 2nd 10 6 0 59,285 (10/28) 56,872 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Redskins) 19–7 Eric Dickerson (OPOY)(NFC)/(Rams MVP)
Jim Everett (Rams ROY)
1987[27] 1987 NFL NFC West 3rd 6 9 0 47,356 (18/28) 48,639 Charles White (Rams MVP)
Cliff Hicks (Rams ROY)
1988 1988 NFL NFC West 2nd 10 6 0 54,469 (17/28) 56,727 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Vikings) 28–17 Henry Ellard (Rams MVP)
Robert Delpino (Rams ROY)
1989 1989 NFL NFC West 2nd 11 5 0 58,846 (11/28) 57,257 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Eagles) 21–7
Won Divisional Playoffs (Giants) 19–13
Lost Conference Championship (49ers) 30–3
Jim Everett (Rams MVP)
Darryl Henley (Rams ROY)
1990 1990 NFL NFC West 3rd 5 11 0 59,920 (12/28) 59,665 Buford McGee (Rams MVP)
Bern Brostek (Rams ROY)
1991 1991 NFL NFC West 4th 3 13 0 51,586 (22/28) 58,926 Robert Delpino (Rams MVP)
Todd Lyght (Rams ROY)
1992 1992 NFL NFC West 4th 6 10 0 47,811 (25/28) 58,734 Jackie Slater (Rams MVP)
Sean Gilbert(Rams ROY)
1993 1993 NFL NFC West 4th 5 11 0 45,401 (25/28) 59,352 Jerome Bettis (OROY)(Rams MVP)/(Rams ROY)
1994 1994 NFL NFC West 4th 4 12 0 43,312 (28/28) 60,107 Shane Conlan (Rams MVP)
Isaac Bruce (Rams ROY)
11 Division Titles
4 Conference Titles
1 NFL Title (1951)
364 297 18 (regular season)[28]
12 20 0 (playoffs)
376 317 18 (regular season and playoffs)[28]

Major developments in Los Angeles since 1995[edit]

Within months of the moves of the Rams and Raiders, several NFL teams were rumored to be replacements. They included the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Seattle Seahawks. However, the Browns moved to become the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 amid major controversy, and a new Browns team occupied a new stadium in 1999. The Bengals, Buccaneers and Seahawks, meanwhile, used L.A.'s vacancy as leverage to convince their cities to help finance new stadiums.

Seattle Seahawks[edit]

Since the Rams departure, the closest Los Angeles has come to getting a new NFL franchise was the Seattle Seahawks. In March 1996, Seahawks owner Ken Behring moved office equipment and some athletic gear to the elementary school in Anaheim that once held Rams practices, hoping to get approval for a permanent move to Southern California.[29] Because of an owners' revolt, Behring halted the process and moved the equipment back to Seattle. Eventually, Paul Allen bought the team and kept it in Seattle by building Seahawks Stadium, now known as CenturyLink Field.

1999 NFL expansion[edit]

Los Angeles again came close to regaining an NFL team in 1999, when the NFL approved a new franchise, the league's 32nd, for Los Angeles, on the condition that the city and NFL agree on a stadium site and stadium financing.[30] Those agreements were never reached, and in October 1999, the franchise was awarded to a Houston ownership group instead, which formed the Houston Texans.

Using Los Angeles as leverage[edit]

Los Angeles has been used on many different occasions as leverage to finance new stadiums or upgrade existing venues. An excellent example of this was when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay's airplane appeared at Van Nuys Airport,[31] presumably for meetings with local officials on moving his team to Los Angeles. He eventually signed a deal to build a new venue in Indianapolis and Los Angeles continued to be without representation in the National Football League.

Stadium proposals[edit]

Coliseum renovation[edit]

A renovated Coliseum would seat 65,000 for most major events, expanding to about 80,000 for Super Bowls and University of Southern California (USC) home games. The Coliseum would retain the peristyle section and columns that are part of the current stadium, in a design similar to Soldier Field in Chicago, which is the home of the Chicago Bears. This stadium was supported by then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Los Angeles City Council approved a preliminary financing plan and environmental impact report in 2006. But the Exposition Park area still carries safety concerns among some fans.

In October 2006, a new doubt was cast over the Coliseum's future as a possible venue, as reports surfaced that the Coliseum Commission was negotiating to hand over control of the stadium to USC, which could preclude any plans to renovate the stadium for the NFL.[32][33] Pat Lynch, the Coliseum's general manager, claimed in a panel discussion in December 2006 that the true cost of a new Coliseum would be closer to $650 million.[34]

Dodger Stadium site[edit]

The Dodger Stadium parking lot has been discussed by NFL owners, in private, as possibly being the best site in Southern California to build a new professional football stadium. Officials with the Dodgers and the NFL met in secret twice in 2005 to discuss the possibility of constructing a stadium and retail complex adjacent to Dodger Stadium. The 49ers' new home, Levi's Stadium, was also being planned to be built in the parking lot of a venue. After the Boston Herald reported the details of the plan, political pressure forced both the NFL and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to deny that either party was aggressively pursuing the idea.[35]

City of Industry[edit]

Main article: Los Angeles Stadium

Edward P. Roski, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, has announced plans for a new stadium on the northern side of the interchange of State Routes 57 and 60 (almost 22 miles (35 km) east of downtown LA) with the purpose of attracting a team to the Los Angeles region. Roski, who built the Staples Center, stated that the new 75,000-seat stadium, which is part of a 600-acre entertainment and retail project, would all be privately financed and would be the centerpiece of a new entertainment complex in the City of Industry.[36][37] The project is cleared to begin construction though it is waiting on the negotiations of the NFL's commitment to relocate a team (or possibility two) to Los Angeles.

Downtown Los Angeles[edit]

Main article: Farmers Field

Casey Wasserman and Tim Leiweke had investigated the probability of building a 72,000-seat stadium behind Staples Center, where the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center now sits. In December Leiweke set a deadline anticipating a cleared negotiation with Los Angeles over control of the current convention center and ownership of the land and an agreement with the NFL over the likelihood of a team moving to Los Angeles.[38] AEG owner Philip Anschutz currently is not in support of the project.[39][40][41] Anschutz has discussed potential relocation with three teams: former Los Angeles teams: San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, and Oakland Raiders. The Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and San Francisco 49ers are no longer candidates for relocation.[42][43] On August 9, 2011, the LA City Council approved plans to build Farmers Field in a 12-0 vote. If an NFL team relocates to Los Angeles, the stadium could open in 2016. Recently, AEG has released renderings of a new design plan for Farmers Field. These renderings show Farmers Field being an open sided retractable dome stadium, with a clear membrane acting as the retractable roof. On March 9 however AEG announced that the Farmers Field project has been cancelled after falling behind with two other stadiums proposals one in Inglewood involving the St. Louis Rams and other in Carson involving the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers thus rendering the Farmers Field project dead.

Potential Return to Los Angeles[edit]

Rally held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in support of the Rams moving back to Los Angeles.

On January 5, 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that Stan Kroenke and Stockbridge Capital Group are partnering up in developing a new NFL stadium on the Inglewood property owned by Kroenke. The project will include a stadium of 80,000 seats and a performance venue of 6,000 seats while reconfiguring 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. The stadium would likely be ready by 2018.[44] In lieu of this, St. Louis countered with a stadium plan for the north riverfront area of downtown, with the hope of persuading Missouri native Stan Kroenke to keep the Rams in the city.

City of Champions Revitilization Initiative[edit]

On January 31, 2014, both the Los Angeles Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased approximately 60 acres of land adjacent to the Forum in Inglewood, California. The purchase price was rumored to have been between $90 million and $100 million. Commissioner Roger Goodell represented that Mr. Kroenke informed the league of the purchase. As an NFL owner, any purchase of land in which a potential stadium could be built must be disclosed to the league. Kroenke subsequently announced plans to build an NFL stadium on the site, in connection with the owners of the adjacent 238-acre Hollywood Park site, Stockbridge Capital Group.[44] This development has further fueled rumors that the Rams intend to return its management and football operations to Southern California. The land was initially targeted for a Walmart Supercenter but Walmart could not get the necessary permits to build it. Kroenke is married to Ann Walton Kroenke who is a member of the Walton family and many of Kroenke's real estate deals have involved Walmart properties.

On January 5, 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that Stan Kroenke and Stockbridge Capital Group are partnering up in developing a new NFL stadium on the Inglewood property owned by Kroenke. The project will include a stadium of 80,000 seats and a performance venue of 6,000 seats while reconfiguring 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. The stadium would likely be ready by September 2018. On February 24, 2015, the Inglewood City Council approved the stadium plan and the initiative with construction on the stadium planned to begin in mid-December 2015. [45][46]

Stadium issues in St. Louis[edit]

The Rams and the St. Louis CVC began negotiating deals to get the Rams home stadium, the Edward Jones Dome into the top 25% of stadiums in the league (i.e., top eight teams of the 32 NFL teams in reference to luxury boxes, amenities and overall fan experience). Under the terms of the lease agreement, the St. Louis CVC was required to make modifications to the Edward Jones Dome in 2005. However, then-owner, Georgia Frontiere, waived the provision in exchange for cash that served as a penalty for the city's noncompliance. The City of St. Louis, in subsequent years, made changes to the scoreboard and increased the natural lighting by replacing panels with windows, although the overall feel remains dark. The minor renovations which totaled about $70 million did not bring the stadium within the specifications required under the lease agreement; thus, keeping the Dome in a state of uncertainty. On February 1, 2013, an Arbitrator (3 panel) selected to preside over the arbitration process found that the Edward Jones Dome was not in the top 25% of all NFL venues as required under the terms of the lease agreement between the Rams and the CVC. The Arbitrator (three panel) further found that the estimated $700 million in proposed renovations by the Rams was not unreasonable given the terms of the lease agreement. Finally, the City of St. Louis was ordered to pay the Rams attorneys' fees which totaled a reported $2 million.

Publicly, city, county and state officials have expressed no interest in providing further funding to the Edward Jones Dome in light of those entities, as well as taxpayers, continuing to owe approximately $300 million more on that facility. As such, if a resolution is not reached by the end of the 2014 NFL season and the City of St. Louis remains non-compliant in its obligations under the lease agreement, the Rams would be free to nullify their lease and go to a year-to-year lease.

Pro Football Hall of Famers[edit]

Former Rams in the Pro Football Hall of Fame include Jerome Bettis (36), Joe Namath (12), Ollie Matson (33), Andy Robustelli (84), Dick "Night Train" Lane (81), and general manager Tex Schramm. GM and later NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and coach Sid Gillman are also members of the Hall of Fame, but were elected on the basis of their performances with other teams or (in the case of Rozelle) NFL administration.

Los Angeles Rams Hall of Famers
No. Player Class Position(s) Years played
George Allen 2002 Coach 1966–1970
36 Jerome Bettis 2015 RB 1993–1994
76 Bob Brown 2004 OT 1969–1970
29 Eric Dickerson 1999 RB 1983–1987
55 Tom Fears 1970 End 1948–1956
40 Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch 1968 RB, WR 1949–1957
75 Deacon Jones 1980 DE 1961–1971
65 Tom Mack 1999 G 1966–1978
74 Merlin Olsen 1982 DT 1962–1976
Dan Reeves 1967 Owner 1946–1971
67, 48 Les Richter 2011 LB, K 1954–1962
78 Jackie Slater 2001 OT 1976–1994
25 Norm Van Brocklin 1971 QB, P 1949–1957
7 Bob Waterfield 1965 QB, DB, K, P 1946–1952
85 Jack Youngblood 2001 DE 1971–1984

Radio and television[edit]

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).

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d MacCambridge, 2005, pp. 15–16.
  2. ^ Littlewood, 1990, p. 160.
  3. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 118.
  4. ^ Yost, 2006, p. 57–58.
  5. ^ Davis writes Halas engineered the approval of the Rams move to Los Angeles, Davis, 2005, p. 201–202.
  6. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 117–118.
  7. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 19.
  8. ^ Levy, 2003, p. 92–93.
  9. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 202.
  10. ^ Strode, 1990, p. 140.
  11. ^ Coenen, 2005, p. 123.
  12. ^ MacCambridge writes he was signed on May 4, 1946. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 19.
  13. ^ Ross, 1999, p. 82.
  14. ^ Rams Fun Facts: Rams Famous Firsts. Official Website of the St. Louis Rams. Retrieved September 13, 2006[dead link]
  15. ^ James P. Quirk and Rodney D. Fort, Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports, p. 438, ISBN 0-691-01574-0
  16. ^ Rams Fun Facts: The Rams Horns. Official Website of the St. Louis Rams. Retrieved September 13, 2006[dead link]
  17. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/30/sports/la-sp-dwyre30-2009nov30
  18. ^ http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-rams-plaschke-20150107-column.html
  19. ^ http://www.losangelesrams.org/about/statistics/attendance.html
  20. ^ Van Brocklin, Roman (April 24, 2000). Jim Everett & the Phantom Sack. The Herd's "E-Zine". Retrieved September 14, 2006.
  21. ^ Jim Everett interview by Jim Rome on YouTube Jim Rome's ESPN2 show, Talk2 (1994) Retrieved January 29, 2007.
  22. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/16/sports/pro-football-nfl-owners-reject-rams-bid-to-move-to-st-louis.html
  23. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1995-03-16/news/mn-43466_1_ram-st-louis
  24. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1995-04-13/news/mn-54268_1_rams-owner
  25. ^ Dan Reeves moved the team due to poor attendance at and competing against the Cleveland Browns, the Rams became the first NFL team based on the West Coast.
  26. ^ 1982 was a strike-shortened season so the league was divided up into two conferences instead of its normal divisional alignment.
  27. ^ The strike of 1987 reduced the regular season schedule from sixteen to fifteen games.
  28. ^ a b 1946–1994
  29. ^ Nightengale, Bob – Without Disney, Angels could become X-rated. (sale of California Angels to Walt Disney Co in jeopardy). Sporting News, March 25, 1996
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  31. ^ Fenno, Nathan; Farmer, Sam (2015-01-07). "NFL teams often use L.A. to get better deals to stay where they are". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  32. ^ Los Angeles Times, Oct. 10, 2006, page D1
  33. ^ Farmer, Sam (June 6, 2007). "Coliseum panel mulls options". Los Angeles Times. [dead link]
  34. ^ Regardie, Jon (December 8, 2006). "A Trip Down Ugly Memory Lane". LAdowntownnews.com. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  35. ^ Shaikin, Bill (January 18, 2012). "Frank McCourt might keep Dodger Stadium parking lots". Los Angeles Times. 
  36. ^ Orange County Business Journal Online[dead link]
  37. ^ Sharma, Chandra (June 17, 2008). "CA will benefit overall as Roski and NFL move toward LA Stadium deal". Fox & Hounds Daily. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  38. ^ Regardie, Jon (December 8, 2010). "Leiweke Wants Framework on NFL Plan Within Three Months". LAdowntownnews.com. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  39. ^ Lacter, Mark (December 22, 2010). "More doubts raised about downtown stadium plan". LAobserved.com. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  40. ^ Cole, Jason (December 21, 2010). "2 NFL stadium plans complicate L.A. landscape". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  41. ^ Florio, Mike (December 16, 2010). "Downtown L.A. stadium far from a sure thing". NBCSports.com. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Vikings stadium approved by state lawmakers". Fox Sports. May 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  43. ^ Los Angeles stadium planner: Talks held with five NFL teams - Sports Illustrated, June 10, 2011
  44. ^ a b Farmer, Sam; Vincent, Roger (5 January 2015). "Owner of St. Louis Rams plans to build NFL stadium in Inglewood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  45. ^ http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nfl/story/_/id/10380150/st-louis-rams-owner-stan-kroenke-buys-60-acres-land-los-angeles
  46. ^ http://www.ksdk.com/story/sports/nfl/rams/2014/01/30/stan-kroenke-plot-of-land-california-st-louis-rams/5069985/

External links[edit]