As Super Bowl 50 brought an end to the 2015 NFL Season, a new season awaits with a team in Los Angeles for the first time in 22 years. Here are 8 things to know about the new-old-Los Angeles Rams.
1. They Started in Cleveland
The Cleveland Rams were founded in 1936 and played their last game in Cleveland in December 1945 when they beat the Redskins for the NFL Championship in −8 °F temperatures.
2. They Broke the NFL Color Barrier
They moved to Los Angeles the next year and immediately broke the NFL color barrier since it was required under their lease with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams signed Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, both of whom played with Jackie Robinson on UCLA’s football team. Robinson broke the baseball color barrier the next year with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers.
3. LA’s First Champions
From 1949-1955, the Rams won 4 division titles and played in 4 NFL Championship games – winning once. In 1951 they beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17 before 59,475 at the Coliseum, giving the city its first championship.
4. 70’s Heartbreak
When I first started watching football, the Rams were one of the premier teams.
They won the NFC West seven consecutive seasons (1973-1979), played in four NFC Championship Games in five seasons but just could not win the big one. The Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys each beat them twice by a combined score of 103-30.
Finally in 1979, the Rams instead faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won 9-0 in Tampa winning a trip to their first Super Bowl.
In Super Bowl XIV, things looked promising for the Rams as they entered the 4th Quarter with a 19-17 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Terry Bradshaw, who had thrown three interceptions earlier in the game, connected twice deep to John Stallworth for 73 and 45 yards as the defending champs won 31-19.
This would be the Rams last season in Los Angeles, as they would play in Anaheim starting in the 1980 season. In Anaheim they would return to the NFC Championship twice, losing by a combined score of 54-3.
After losing in the NFC Championship in 1989, the Rams went 23-57 their last five seasons in SoCal. It came to end on Christmas eve 1994, as the Rams faced a 2-13 Washington Redskin team in Anaheim. Chris Miller’s 36-yard touchdown pass would be the Ram’s last score in SoCal, giving them a 21-17 lead just before halftime. The Rams, however, would blow the lead and finish the season 4-12.
5. St Louis Blues
At the end of the 1994 season, both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders left Southern California, with the Rams moving to St. Louis which had been abandoned by the Cardinals in 1988. In St. Louis the team finally won the Super Bowl with the “Greatest Show on Turf” led by Quarterback Kurt Warner and Running Back Marshall Falk in 1999.
They would return again the following year, only to be upset by the New England Patriots.
6. This Team Kind of Stinks
This team has not been to the playoffs in 11 years and has not had a winning season in 12 years. In 2015 they finished 7-9 with an offense that was ranked 29th in the league. On the bright side – rookie All-Pro Todd Gurley ran for 1,106 yards.
After a 4-8 start, the team benched starting QB Nick Foles (passer rating of 69.0) in favor of unknown Case Keenum. They closed the season strong winning three in a row – including a win at Seattle for the first time since 2004 in Week 16, before losing the finale at San Francisco in overtime.
They had no turnovers in their last three games.
|1||September 13||W||OT||1-0||Seattle Seahawks||34||31|
|2||September 20||L||1-1||@||Washington Redskins||10||24|
|3||September 27||L||1-2||Pittsburgh Steelers||6||12|
|4||October 4||W||2-2||@||Arizona Cardinals||24||22|
|5||October 11||L||2-3||@||Green Bay Packers||10||24|
|7||October 25||W||3-3||Cleveland Browns||24||6|
|8||November 1||W||4-3||San Francisco 49ers||27||6|
|9||November 8||L||OT||4-4||@||Minnesota Vikings||18||21|
|10||November 15||L||4-5||Chicago Bears||13||37|
|11||November 22||L||4-6||@||Baltimore Ravens||13||16|
|12||November 29||L||4-7||@||Cincinnati Bengals||7||31|
|13||December 6||L||4-8||Arizona Cardinals||3||27|
|14||December 13||W||5-8||Detroit Lions||21||14|
|15||December 17||W||6-8||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31||23|
|16||December 27||W||7-8||@||Seattle Seahawks||23||17|
|17||January 3||L||OT||7-9||@||San Francisco 49ers||16||19|
7. Rams Off-season Priorities
The Rams had the least productive quarterback group of any team in the NFL in 2015 and a new QB will be a priority for 2016. Analysts also say the Rams need to upgrade in receivers, cornerbacks and need some added depth on the offensive line. They draft 15th.
Update — The Rams were able to trade for the #1 pick and drafted Cal sensation Jared Goff as their future franchise QB.
8. Look Who’s Coming to LA
The 2016 Rams will host division rivals Arizona Cardinals (13-3), San Francisco 49ers (5-11) and the Seattle Seahawks (10-6), plus the Atlanta Falcons (8-8), Carolina Panthers (15-1), New York Giants (6-10), Buffalo Bills (8-8), Miami Dolphins (6-10). Single game seats will not go on sale until July.
They will also face division rivals Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle on the road, in addition to the New Orleans Saints (7-9), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10), New England Patriots (12-4) and New York Jets (10-6). Gulp.