Los Angeles Rams
The St. Louis Rams are one of the oldest teams in the NFL: 1936, they were founded in Cleveland as a team in the short-lived NFL competition league AFL. The team became part of the NFL after winning the runner-up title in the AFL and called Cleveland, St. Louis Los and Angeles their home.
In the NFL, however, the Rams didn’t have much success in the beginning, most of the time they had to be content with one of the last positions in the league. In 1943, they even had to stop playing for one season because of the lack of players during the second world war. In 1944, the Rams returned and a year later there was a power explosion: Led by rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield the Cleveland Rams won the NFL Championship Game against the favored Washington Redskins.
But the people of Cleveland could not rejoice at the NFL titles of their team for long, because – against great resistance – owner Dan Reeves moved his team to Los Angeles. And Reeves continued to create quite a stir: In 1946, he signed Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, the first two black players since the early days of the NFL. The Rams owner was also innovative in other areas: He initiated programs for junior players and was the first team owner to contract professional scouts who were on the lookout for new players at college.
The start in Los Angeles was anything but easy for the Rams. Because of the competition with the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC, the Rams almost went bankrupt. However, thanks to players like quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, running back Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch and wide receiver Tom Fears, the Rams were able to get back on track and finally win their second NFL championship in 1951.
In the mid-1950s, the Los Angeles Rams weren’t among the top teams of the league and more and it took until the late 1960s before they were able to reach the playoffs again. In 1972, Rams owner Bob Irsay swapped his team against the Baltimore Colts, whose owner Carroll Rosenbloom took the Rams. After Rose Blooms death his widow Georgia Frontiere took over the team.
The Rams had their best times in the 1970s and 1980s: Between 1973 and 1979 they won seven division titles in a row under the head coaches Chuck Knox and Ray Malavasi and in the years between 1973 and 1989, they reached the playoffs 14 times in 17 seasons. The highlight of this year was the participation in Super Bowl XIV, where the Rams were defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers with 31:19, though.
Then in the 1990s came the crash: Between 1990 and 1999, the Rams – who were located in St. Louis since 1995 – lost 99 games and were only able to win 45 games. With this performance, the St. Louis Rams earned the title of the worst team of the decade.
However, they ended the lousy decade with a spectacular triumph: Led by completely unknown quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk and the fans could watch the Rams overrun their opponents with an explosive offense – which was enthusiastically celebrated as “The Greatest Show on Turf” – and won the first Super Bowl in the team’s history. Two years later, the St. Louis Rams reached the Super Bowl again, but were defeated by the New England Patriots although they were high.
In 2010, the successor of the former Rams owner Georgia Fontiere sold the franchise to entrepreneur Stan Kroenke. He soon set himself the target to move the Rams back to Los Angeles and in the beginning of 2016 he reached his goal: The NFL agreed to the stadium project in Inglewood, a Los Angeles suburb, and the St. Louis Rams became the Los Angeles Rams again.