SSome people are fans of the St. Louis Rams. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the St. Louis Rams. This 2013 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the 2013 NFL previews so far right here.
Your team: St. Louis Rams
Your 2012 record: 7-8-1. Congrats on your finest season since 2006, Rams fans. The Rams haven't had a winning season in a decade. I remember when Tim McDonald played for the 49ers a long time ago. After they handed the Rams a particularly stern asswhipping, McDonald said in the locker room afterward: "Same Niners. Same Rams." It was an absolutely withering putdown. And even though the Niners were bafflingly incapable of beating St. Louis last season, I always think about that McDonald quote whenever the Rams sink back down into mediocrity. After that blip of greatness at the turn of the century, they're back to being the same Rams they've always been.
Your coach: Jeff Fisher, who is apparently happy to let every offensive drive bog down before midfield so that he can test his kicker's leg strength. Sure, Greg Zuerlein pushed that 73-yarder wide left, but it had the distance! SO COOL! Jeff Fisher must think that the NFL adheres to fantasy scoring when it comes to the kicking game.
Your quarterback: Sam Bradford. Shouldn't he be better by now? I know he has virtually nothing to work with, but still. When you're the #1 overall pick and you get paid more guaranteed money than any NFL rookie will ever be paid again, you should be a Pro Bowler by your second season. You should be turning shitty wideouts into stars and making hot reads that help mask your offensive line's wretchedness and willing your team to 10 wins. You shouldn't have a passer rating close to room temperature, and you shouldn't let Ryan Fitzpatrick throw more touchdowns than you. The only major accomplishment of Sam Bradford's career thus far is that he made it through all of last season without dying.
Bradford has a shiny new left tackle (Jake Long) and a stud rookie wideout (Tavon Austin) to help out this year. If he can't break 4,000 yards and throw more than 25 touchdown passes (and he won't), then the Rams basically drafted the second coming of Steve Bartkowski.
Your two fantasy players everyone will hate: Daryl Richardson/Isaiah Pead. Take it from someone who had Richardson on his roster last season: He's not some bargain basement C.J. Spiller waiting to happen. The Rams are replacing Steven Jackson with a platoon of backs who are all demonstrably worse. Austin is the only real weapon they have. Beyond that, they are Cleveland's offense with spiffier uniforms.
Why your team sucks: The Rams' stadium lease expires at the end of next season, which means we are two seasons away from the Rams either moving back to Los Angeles, or using the L.A. threat force St. Louis taxpayers to replace a stadium that is less than 20 years old. NFL owners cannot abide having stadiums or mistresses that have existed for longer than two decades.
Late Rams owner Georgia Frontiere got a sweetheart lease and guaranteed PSL and season ticket sales to move the team to St. Louis. And now here comes current Rams owner and apparent Fred Armisen character Stan Kroenke, asking for $700 million more in public funding from a town that is openly PROUD of not giving a shit about the NFL. By the way, even without a new stadium, the Rams are worth over $875 million. No franchise gained more value in the past year than the Rams (really?). So what the fuck does this asshole need a new crib for?
You St. Louis people should tell Kroenke to take his shitty toupee and walk. You got your token Super Bowl trophy. You've done football now. Leave football to other, better, cleaner American cities. Time for you to focus full-time on being baseball's best fans! Best Twitter account EVER.
Well if the cardinals loose this game I will no longer watch baseball— Whit3 Chocolat3 (@Dubbl3_D3ucer) August 14, 2013
Trust me: It's not worth $700 million to keep the NFC West's doormat around for another 20 years. Let them go back to LA, where they will have a fanbase of roughly six people while the rest of town chooses to be LA Raiders 2.0 fans instead. Even though the Raiders suck, no one's rooting for the Rams instead of them. One team is the Silver and Black. One team has a spirograph on their helmets. It's an easy choice.
Why your team doesn't suck: Compared to the Rams' last two head coaches (okay, last three), Fisher is a model of competence. I assure you that, with studs like Janoris Jenkins on defense, he will grind out as many unwatchable 12-9 victories out of this group as he can over the next few years. It won't be fun to watch. Like, at all. But at least PUJOLS IS STILL A FUCKING TRAITOR, AMIRITE?
The nine worst Rams ever:
1) Lawrence Phillips. I bet Dick Vermeil NEVER liked him.
2) Eric Crouch. Throw a crucifix around that guy's neck and you have Tim Tebow.
3) Trung Canidate. Never let Mike Martz draft for you.
5) Alex Barron
6) Drew Bennett. $10 million in bonuses. For Drew Bennett.
7) Jimmy Kennedy
8) Steve Spagnuolo
9) Keith Null. With a last name like that, you know what you're not getting.
Emails from Rams fans!
You've never heard someone get the "HE JUST NEEDS MORE WEAPONS" crap thrown their way as often as Sam does (and now Steven Jackson is gone! This will be so much fun!), and it drives me crazy. The sad thing is, I'm totally with them. Every so often, my brain will get the idea that maybe he just isn't anything special, but moments later it will be overwhelmed either by sentimentality or a great block by some undrafted OL that makes me scream "SEE? LOOK AT WHAT HE DOES WHEN HE HAS TIME TO THROW!" I'll probably be saying this about him 5 years from now, too.
The other guy to look to is Jeff Fisher. The team proceeds to go 7-8-1, or, as close to .500 as you can possibly be without actually getting there. What's the response? "COACH OF THE YEAR!" My fellow Rams fans and I could not possibly be more thrilled with a finish that was only slightly below average. The worst part is, I just know we're gonna go 4-12 next season. I mean, that's what we deserve for wondering, OUT LOUD, if this team might make the postseason. Fucking Rams fans. I just want to appreciate mediocrity.
Only reason to go to a Rams game is to make note of the mullets and guys wearing Kurt Warner jerseys with zubaz pants.
Remember when the Rams won that Super Bowl? No? Literally no one does because the Rams have been the asshole of the NFL for almost a decade. A homeless guy would rather sleep outside in the cold wearing nothing than wear a St Louis Rams shirt. I know this because a homeless guy in St Louis told me that while I was walking back to my car from the shithole they call a stadium after the Rams got their shit pushed in by the Packers last year.
And fuck Billy Devaney.
I was at the Rams game in 2007 where Favre set the passing yards record. About 95% of the fans sold their tickets to out-of-town Packers fans. Reminder: this is a team that still had Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Steven Jackson playing. Admittedly, Mark Bulger was in the pocket.
In 2011, the year the Cardinals won the World Series, when it looked like they wouldn't make the playoffs with 2 weeks left in the season, I couldn't GIVE Cardinals tickets away. No joke, dozens of people turned down free box seats. Then they won the title and everyone acted like they had been fans all along. It was hilarious. During the Greatest Show on Turf years, everyone pretended to be Rams fans, then when the team started to suck, the city collectively stopped caring. How bad are Rams fans? Jacksonville outdraws the Rams by nearly 9,000 fans per home game.
The Rams already have one foot out the door; they should leave this midwestern dumpster fire and never look back. Don't worry, St. Louisans will still have a shitty, Belgian-owned beer company and Adam Wainwright to jerk off to every night.
I've been to morgues that have better lighting and happier atmospheres than the Edward Jones dome.
I have never seen a team fall off the cliff of potential dynasty, into the catacombs of utter despair so fast in my life.
And fuck Steve Spagnuolo. Fuck you, and fuck everything you're worth, you useless, noncoaching piece of shit.
You watch these teams like New England and the Saints seemingly score TDs at will, then you watch the Rams offense struggle to perform basic rudimentary offensive tasks - blocking, catching the ball - it's like you're not even watching them play the same sport.
Sam Bradford has a wonky eye and everyone just acts like nothing weird is going on. The more I look at it, there more fake/bionic it looks.
We sent our best player packing and signed Jake Long. YippeFUCKyay
Losing a team once sucks. Twice? Feels like maybe you're to blame.
This team couldn't draft a competent lineman even if you gave them 7 RG3's to trade away for 21 first round picks.
Only us Rams fans would be excited about acquiring a head coach that has made 6 playoff appearances in 18 years.
I tailgated once at a Rams game. It was like a sad combination of half excited kids rooting for a home team in winter for a sport they don't play and their drunken dads spilling Bud Light all over themselves with necks of beads. Also, tailgating takes place in obscure restaurant and church parking lots located around the stadium. I'm honestly surprised there aren't more robbings/shankings/rapings/assaults.
By far the worst thing about St. Louis is the proliferation of Provel Cheese. This abomination, which cannot legally be called cheese, has the melting point of warm butter, and tastes like burnt plastic - is put on "St. Louis style" pizza and other Italian dishes and is universally loved by St. Louis natives but loathed by literally everyone else. Think about it. New York style pizza and Chicago style pizza can be found all over the country, because people from elsewhere try it, like it, and bring it back to their hometown. St. Louis style pizza, which tastes like a burnt saltine cracker with a thin layer of sauce and provel cheese on it, is found nowhere else because outsiders come to St. Louis, try it, and vow to never put such wretched filth in their mouths again.
We got rid of Kurt Warner so we could play Marc fucking Bulger.
One other thing: FUCK SCOTT LINEHAN AND FUCK JOSH MCDANIELS.
Any Rams message board has at least 4 dedicated LA trolls that interpret any god damned sign as an indication the Rams are "coming home". Rams decide to play three London games? Moving to LA. Rams pulled two of those back because of fan backlash in St Louis? Just preparing for the move in two years. Fuck you guys. There is no viable stadium option out there that the NFL likes and any new project that springs up is going to take a fucking decade to get approved. Stop hanging outside our window at night beating off. It's fucking creepy.
1.) Going to a Rams game is like watching football in a very poorly-lit CostCo, except the Edward Jones Dome makes CostCo seems reasonably priced.
2.) The most anticipated football game in St. Louis happened at Busch Stadium between Chelsea and Manchester City.
3.) When he was head coach, Mike Martz challenged the opening kickoff (on Opening Day) and lost HORRIBLY.
4.) Fuck Lawrence Phillips.
I'm not sure the fanbase deserves any better. They consist 85% of blue haired octogenarians that used to be St Louis Football Cardinal season ticket holders and now summon the usher to get any fan who dares to stand up on 3rd and 4 to sit back down in their seat.
And fuck Steve Spagnuolo with one of his "4 Pillars".
I live in St Louis and I don't know a single Rams fan.
In 2008, I saw Marc Bulger at a bar. I tried to start a conversation by asking him if he was Marc Bulger. He said no and left soon after. In all fairness, I would have said/done the same thing.
None of the players drafted by the Rams in 2006 are in the NFL.
They raised the beer prices to make the Edward Jones Dome one of the most expensive places in the NFL to drink. The beer, by the way, is made less than two miles away from the Dome.
According to Forbes, the reason their value increased is because of the chances of them moving to LA. Essentially, the title "St. Louis", makes them less valuable. That is a unique level of shit.
It cannot be emphasized enough the level of pure indifference that the Rams receive in this town. Ask your average Joe on the street to name THREE players, and I guarantee that a.) 90% will be unable to; and, b.) at least 60% of these people will name "Bruce" or "Warner" or "that big black guy with the dreads".
Did I mention how shitty the Dome is? There are at least 100 high schools in Texas that have nicer stadiums.
We play in an airline hangar of a stadium that, when the team isn’t winning (which is usually), is quieter than a funeral home. Downtown St. Louis is second only to Detroit in the “Steaming Shitpile” power rankings, and when our citizens aren’t too busy barking about the team moving to Los Angeles or being the best fans in baseball, most of them would rather spend their Sunday afternoons at a VFW Bingo game than in front of a television listening to Ron Pitts or Chris Myers mouth off for three and a half hours. I go to a university with pretty evenly split fandom between the Rams, Chiefs, and Bears, and on multiple occasions when I’ve mentioned being a Rams fan, I’ve got the ole’ one-two “get laughed at then apologized to” combo.
Since losing to the Pats in the Super Bowl, the Rams as an organization just don’t seem to care, which after awhile makes it hard for them to inspire anger in their fan base anymore.
Should we be mad that Martz almost got Warner killed before his renaissance with the Cardinals? Mad that the front office was so detached from the day-to-day running of the team because they were in California, because that’s where their owner was? Mad that they wasted the best years of Steven Jackson by overplaying him without a competent backup or offensive line? Mad that most of their high draft picks, especially on the defensive line, have been busts? Mad that their new owner may try to connive the city into $700M of stadium upgrades before the stadium is really that old, as a pretense to move the team? (I live in Edmonton, so I say yes to this last one.) Yes, yes, a thousand times yes … but who cares? Maybe it’s only because they’ve been in Missouri less than two decades, but after detesting how terrible they became in the middle of the last decade I’m pretty indifferent to all of it now.
I’ll hope they’ll be better … but I ain’t holding my goddamn breath.
Despite marvelous advances in high wattage stadium lighting, the Dome's atmosphere is comparable to my grandma's basement circa 1985. I challenge anyone to find their seat in the upper deck without night vision goggles.
Our glory days were as short lived as Downtown St. Louis gentrification efforts.
The Edward Jones Dome - or "The Ed" as people desperately trying to instill a personality into this team like to call it - is utterly fucking depressing. It is a shell of an NFL stadium. It's as if The Asylum had to model an NFL stadium after looking at a 6-second Snapchat of the Metrodome. We only hang arbitrary LA Rams banners in the rafters so there isn't enough space for the stadium personnel to hang themselves.
Fuck D’marco Farr. Right up the ass.
When you make your list of The Worst Rams Ever, just include everybody not named Steven Jackson or Chris Long that was drafted from 2000-2011. I'd take the time to list all of the awful players drafted by this team, but holy fucking shit.
I just realized that Kellen Clemens is still the Rams' back-up QB. Ugh.
Rams fans are so fucking pathetic that the team had to create a video explaining to fans how to cheer at games.
People like to shit on fanbases across the country, but as a Rams fan I don't think the people of St. Louis get enough attention on that front. With the Cardinals being consistently good and the Rams being consistently awful, it's basically counterculture to admit you actually like the hometown football team.
I've been out of high school for four years now, but I went to school in the city, and the bandwagoning I saw there was bizarre. The Rams were so detested by everyone at my school that they would bandwagon only on not-the-Rams teams. I knew a guy who would walk around in fucking Raiders gear for god's sake. Vikings, Panthers, you name it. Just not the Rams.
I was once talking football with an acquaintance during class and I said to him, "Which team do you follow?" That's probably not a question you have to ask at most high schools, but I had to. Anyway, his reply was a long sigh and he said "The Rams. I like the Rams."
I like the Rams too. And part of me dreads them ever becoming good again because the Facebook statuses of all my old high school friends, about what huge Rams fans they always were, would almost make the whole thing not even worth it.
Fucking Stan Kroenke. Rams fans had a chance to get away from this guy. After Georgia Frontiere died, her relatives were thiiiiiiis close to selling the team to Shad Khan, who lives in Illinois close to St. Louis. But no, minority owner Fucking Stan Kroenke had to exercise his "rights" to take over the team and add it to his "sports portfolio," thus ruining two franchises futures in the process. You can tell that owning the Jags is not exactly what Shad wanted and it's driving him mad. Anyway, now Fucking Stan Kroenke is jerking around the broke-ass City of St. Louis asking for ridiculous improvements to a 20 year old stadium that is, admittedly, kind of a shithole. But St. Louis is kind of a shithole city, so it fits, you know?
But the point is that Fucking Stan Kroenke has fucking WALMART MONEY behind him and he can't fork over a few hundred mil to upgrade his own stadium? What a fucking jag off.
But we already knew that. You could tell by the toupee.
1. That fucking soulless dome. It's like watching football in an airport terminal.
2. Everyone in St. Louis has deluded themselves into thinking this is a 12-4 team despite playing in the same division as SF and Seattle, and not having a single elite player on the team.
3. Racist-ass fans. When we had Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, two of the classiest and most talented wideouts ever, the fans' favorite WR was goddamned Ricky Proehl.
I really wanted to contribute to your write-up on the Rams, but I am actually from St. Louis so I don’t really know anything about them. I could give you a litany of problems regarding the baseball Cardinals though.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: Seattle Seahawks.
Art by Jim Cooke/Photo by Getty