St. Louis Stallions

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The St. Louis Stallions was the name of a proposed National Football League (NFL) franchise which was to have been located in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1990s. There were two attempts to get a team with that name in St. Louis, which had been without a professional football franchise since the end of the 1987 season, when the Cardinals left the city to move to Phoenix, Arizona.[1]

Expansion attempt[edit]

The first attempt to get a team back in St. Louis came in 1991, when the city submitted a package to the NFL. The NFL was looking to add two teams in time for the 1994 season (later pushing this idea back one year), and St. Louis was one of the finalists. The others were Baltimore, which like St. Louis had seen its team, the Colts, move out of town in 1983; Charlotte, which had been seeking a team since 1987 and had already seen an expansion NBA team awarded to the city; Jacksonville, which had seen several aborted attempts at relocation in recent years; and Memphis, who had been trying to get an NFL team since the folding of the United States Football League cost the city its only professional sports team, the Memphis Showboats.[2]

St. Louis was to have placed the Stallions in Busch Stadium, where the football and baseball Cardinals played, for a brief period while a new domed stadium was constructed near the city's America's Center. Although St. Louis had been considered a favorite to land a team, the NFL instead announced in 1993 that the Charlotte and Jacksonville groups were declared the winners and that the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars would begin play in 1995.[3]

Relocation attempt[edit]

After St. Louis came up short in its expansion bid, it appeared that the city might land a new team anyway. Advertising executive James Orthwein, a St. Louis native and member of the Busch family, bought the New England Patriots in 1992 from Victor Kiam to resolve a debt between the two men. Immediately upon purchase, Orthwein made it clear that he wanted to relocate the team from its Foxborough, Massachusetts home to the Midwest. With the city of St. Louis having begun construction on the new domed stadium that they had discussed in their expansion bid, Orthwein was set to leave New England at the end of the 1993 season. However, the owner of the team's stadium, Robert Kraft, refused to let Orthwein out of his lease. Orthwein did not want to own the team if he could not move it, and Kraft initiated a hostile takeover that resulted in his purchase of the Patriots in 1994.

St. Louis finally gets a team[edit]

During the 1994 season Georgia Frontiere, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams, was having trouble finding a new stadium for her team as the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding area was not willing to have taxpayer money pay for it. At the time, the Rams were playing in Anaheim Stadium, to which the team had moved in 1980 from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and which had required a massive reconstruction in order for the Rams to be able to play in what was originally only intended to be a home for the California Angels. Frontiere, who inherited control of the team following the death of her husband Carroll Rosenbloom in 1979, decided that relocation was the only option and initially considered Baltimore, the city where her husband originally owned the Colts before he traded ownership of the team with Robert Irsay, before deciding on St. Louis (her home city) as the domed stadium that was originally intended for the Stallions franchise was nearing completion. The NFL initially was unwilling to allow the move out of Los Angeles, and in fact had voted to reject it, but acquiesced after Frontiere threatened to sue the league.[4] Unlike the Patriots/Stallions proposal, Frontiere opted to keep the Rams name.

Shortly after the Rams left, the Raiders also left to move back to Oakland, where they had last played in 1981. The Trans World Dome, which the completed stadium became known as, opened on November 12, 1995 with a game against the expansion Carolina Panthers.

Departure[edit]

A major problem with St. Louis was that their fixed-roof domed stadium was built at a time when domes were going out of style and retractable roofs were becoming the norm; Rams games were noted for their dark and dreary appearance, a situation made even worse by the Rams deciding to switch to even darker shades of blue and gold on their uniforms in the early 2000s. The stadium also continued to use AstroTurf, a long-outdated brand of artificial turf that was used primarily for its ability to be moved and rolled up into storage, even after its most recent renovations (most other stadiums had already gone to permanent FieldTurf or similar installations by this point). By the early 2010s, the dome was consistently considered one of the worst stadiums in the NFL.[5][6][7][8] On January 12, 2016, the NFL approved a request by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to move the Rams back to the Greater Los Angeles Area. The Rams plan to play in a new stadium in Inglewood, California due to open in 2019. The team's move left St. Louis with no team and no realistic prospects of gaining one in the immediate future, barring future expansion or relocation.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (March 16, 1988). "N.F.L. Approves Team Shift". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ Allen, Scott (December 11, 2011). "11 Expansion Teams That Just Missed the Cut". Mental Floss. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ Litsky, Frank (December 1, 1993). "PRO FOOTBALL; N.F.L. Expansion Surprise: Jacksonville Jaguars". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  4. ^ Simers, T.J. (April 13, 1995). "NFL Owners OK Rams' Move to St. Louis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Edward Jones Dome listed as one of 10 worst stadiums". KTRS. St. Louis. May 11, 2012. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/10/best-worst-nfl-stadiums-capacity-rankings-lambeau-field-solder-field-size-super-bowls
  7. ^ Carbone, Nick (May 10, 2012). "7. Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis | Top 10 Worst Stadiums in the U.S.". Time. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ "NFL Stadium Rankings". Sports Illustrated. 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ Hanzus, Dan (January 12, 2016). "Rams to relocate to L.A.; Chargers first option to join". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 

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