During a meaningless week 17 home game of the 2016 regular season, rumors began floating around the Edward Jones Dome. Players, coaches and fans alike were wondering if this would be the last home game played by the Rams in St. Louis.
The rumors turned out to be true. The Rams are returning to their old stomping grounds in the second largest city in the country: Los Angeles.
This move was questioned by most of the city of St. Louis, but if they don’t understand now, they will very soon. The move back to LA was one of the smartest moves the Rams could have made.
The 20-year stint the Rams had in St. Louis was sub-par for the franchise at best, and overall a disappointment. Their lone Super Bowl victory came 17 years ago, back when a young Kurt Warner was at the helm of their offense. Two years later against the New England Patriots, not everything went as planned. Patriots’ placekicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a game-winning field goal with seconds remaining, ending the Rams’ bid for two Super Bowl titles in three years by a 20-17 final score. Ever since their Super Bowl loss in 2002, the Rams have been a far cry from their glorious 1999-2000 team. Since they came to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams have made five playoff appearances — just five appearances in 20 seasons.
Over the past two seasons, the Rams have finished with at 7-9, a record that says “you didn’t make the playoffs, but you were two or three close games away.” However, it’s also a record that shows that this team has a promising future.
During this past season, the Rams beat the two of the top teams in the NFC: the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. Four of their losses during the season were by a touchdown or less. This team was much better than what their record showed by the end of the season. They even had a 1,000-yard rusher this year, a rising star in the NFL by the name of Todd Gurley. Gurley quickly became the centerpiece of this offense in his rookie campaign, showing flashes of a guy who has star potential.
A player like Gurley will be a match made in heaven in LA. Sports fans love hard working, up and coming players who have the potential to change the outcome of any game, and so Gurley should fit in well in LA.
On top of the solid core of young players the Rams have on both sides of the ball, recruiting players to come and play for them is going be a lot easier than it previously was. When the team was in St. Louis, it was incredibly difficult for the team to lure top notch free agents to come and play for the Rams. The major factor is that the location is not ideal. St. Louis is located right in the middle of the country. Not many players are going to give St. Louis a hard look if they are getting offers from big market franchises. St. Louis is just not where a star athletes wants to make their career.
Now that the Rams are located back in LA, it will be much easier to lure players to play there. After all, the team has a promising future. Now that they are in such a happening location like LA, players will absolutely be more inclined to play for the Rams. The Hollywood scene has attracted big name players from other professional sports too, like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Wayne Gretzky to name a few.
Led by their young talent, the Rams will return to their once former glory in the coming years. The move to LA signaled the end of the days where players used St. Louis as a weighing station when they came into the league. The Rams moving to LA resurrected this franchise, and now the sights are set on bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Hollywood.