Some people are fans of the St. Louis Rams. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the St. Louis Rams. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: St. Louis Rams
Your 2013 record: 7-9
Your coach: Generic Southern coaching prototype Jeff Fisher, who hasn't ever posted a winning record with this team, but is a steadying influence, or something. Jeff Fisher could go 4-12 but it would be a quiet 4-12, and his bosses would be like, "Well, no one died. GOOD JOB, FISH!" No one's better at projecting the illusion of competence. Fisher has molded the Rams in the Titans' image: unfathomably boring and built to pull off a lucky 10+-win season once every five years or so.
Also, Gregg Williams is still here, and he is rocking the single worst facial hair dye job I've ever seen:
Jesus. He looks like a disgraced magician. And lemme tell you something, Rams Twitter: You don't get TWO hashtag mottos. You can't defend your turf and be sack city. Pick one. Both mottos are outright lies anyway. You play in the EJ Dome. No one defends the EJ Dome. An asteroid shower could hit the area, and that Dome would be the last place people would fortify. I bet Gregg came up with both those stupid slogans and barfed them onto a Powerpoint deck.
Your quarterback: Sam Bradfo… Really? Another year of him? Why keep doing this to yourselves, Rams? Bradford has played a full season once in the past three years. Jake Locker is less injury-prone. The Rams had 400 picks in the last three drafts thanks to the Redskins being idiots, and they didn't bring in anyone to challenge Bradford. Instead, Shaun Hill is your backup, which means Shaun Hill is your starter. They built a sports car and forgot to put the engine inside.
I know Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell will forever be the biggest QB busts ever, because of both their expense and their notoriously terrible work habits. But Bradford was the most expensive rookie in NFL history, the guy who compelled the NFL to force a rookie a wage scale down its players' throats, and he sucks. They paid $50 million to waste their time, and every year they keep Bradford around is another year-long delay of the rebuilding process.
What's new that sucks: Oh hey, did you hear about the race war nearby? That's newish. Congrats, Missouri! YOU ARE NOW OFFICIALLY SEC COUNTRY. We're roughly three hours away from all of St. Louis being covered in an invisible dome. It'll become a permanent race riot art installation. Come, everyone! Come and see all the dickhead farmland cops who are both overarmed and undertrained! Marvel at the handful of violent protestors who spoil it for the peaceful ones! Gaze with awe upon the media members rushing to the area so that they can tweet out, "Guys, this is SCARY." Watch as government officials look around helplessly, with no idea what to do! SAY HI TO BOSS HOGG! All of that is far better than watching a Rams game, so I salute St. Louis for its newfound approach to the tourist industry.
On the football field, the Rams drafted an offensive tackle with the second overall pick and promptly moved him to guard, because it's important to use your flashy top pick on a boring player and then shift him over to an even less influential position. They also brought in Kenny Britt, whose suspension history will nicely coincide with Bradford's injury history. Britt has 73 catches in the past three years, and yet here are the Rams blowing smoke up his ass:
"He loves the game," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's not afraid to voice his opinion and he's pulling the young guys along with him. He practices one speed and that's full."
Yes, soon all the wideouts will know how to throw up some homemade porn on Instagram (NSFW). The Rams must think you are the dumbest fans in the world (you are!) if they expect you to buy all this shit about Britt being mature and ready to be a leader. All that boilerplate preseason hype nonsense that will go flying out the window three weeks from now, when Britt gets into a fight with a cop at Sonic. This is St. Louis, after all. You fight with the cops eventually.
Also, they drafted the gay guy.
What has always sucked: Last year I wrote a quick post explaining why the Cardinals were fucking annoying (they still are) and the entire city acted as if someone had dumped a pile of anthrax on the highway. "Our quaint little burg? HOW DARE YOU!" They had no idea they were so insufferable, which makes them all the more insufferable. Don't you people realize what a galactic shithole you live in? Did the events of the past week not clue you in? The only time white people go into St. Louis is when they're itching to put on riot gear and beat up minorities at will. I bet Cardinals fans are just aching for it to be legal to throw beanballs at protestors. GO GET 'EM, WAINO!
Have you guys BEEN to other cities? There are other cities out there and they are ALL better than St. Louis. They have restaurants and museums and no riots and everything. St. Louis' main tourist attraction is half a McDonald's logo, and their chief culinary export is toasted ravioli, which is not toasted but fried. So typical. HEY HONEY, GOIN' TO THE CARDS GAME! FRY ME UP SOME TOAST, WILL YA? It's all of the racism and violence and small-minded provincialism of Chicago, with none of the culture. Also, Nelly.
This isn't even a football town. This is a baseball town first, a cops-in-tanks town second, and a football town 95th. The Rams' stadium lease ends by the end of this season (unless the Ed Dome ranks as a top-eight stadium, which NOPE), and the owner has already gobbled up a parcel of land in LA to airlift the team out before the cops can tear gas every player. Then the city can convert the Dome from a metaphorical detention center to a real one. People don't even tell this team they're leaving face-to-face. They call it Sack City because you'd rather live in a sack. The Rams are going to LA, and they'll play second fiddle to the Raiders because even the Raiders are cooler than the Rams.
What might not suck: The left side of the line is heavily fortified now. The defense has a handful of studs like Robert Quinn and Janoris Jenkins. And maybe Tavon Austin can spread his TDs out this season, instead of scoring them all against the Colts. This team could easily win 10 games… if they played in pretty much any other division.
Hear it from Rams fans!
They'll go 7-9 again and Kroenke will move them to LA where even fewer people give a shit. This team and that city deserve each other.
Because this was the height of their creativity last year.
1. The Fans: The Rams have the methiest fan base in the NFL and I say this as someone who has attended multiple Chiefs home games. When we saw them a few years ago and every person in Rams gear at the game had a mullet, a mustache, and/or a facial deformity. And half of them were wearing Cardinals hats.
2. Owner Stan Kroenke: Kroenke, who married into Walmart money, has no interest in keeping the team in St Louis. The city and state have neither the money nor the inclination to cave into his stadium demands, so he tries to buy the Dodgers and a piece of land you could put a football stadium on in LA. Unless the Chargers or Raiders move soon I doubt the Rams finish out the decade in St Louis.
3. The Edward Jones Dome: It's a dank, dark hole, it should be a notoriously loud place to play but everyone is at the Cardinals games until it's so late in the season that the Rams are already out of it.
4. Sam Bradford: Can't stay healthy, coming off an ACL, backed up by Shaun Hill. They had two first round picks again this year and didn't address this. I mean Sack City is fun and all but what has Bradford ever done to show he could be a successful QB?
Because a bunch of spoiled Cardinal fans get bored in the winter and turn their attention to these derelicts and EVERY SINGLE YEAR play up their chances. How many Rams could start on the Seahawks or 49ers? Quinn no doubt. After that? You've gotta stretch to make a case for anyone. But despite this you listen to talk radio in St. Louis and people are talking playoffs. It's insane.
Also: FEAR THE STACHE. Fuck that. Jeff Fisher blows.
This organization is such a piece of shit. EVERYONE that works for this organization is convinced that Sam Bradford is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. My buddy worked as an intern there one season and said that the Cult of Sam Bradford is so strong that you will be fired for fucking questioning if Sam Bradford should be the quarterback.
The owner is a fucking moron. If they want a new stadium they are more than welcome to move to LA or anywhere else. Granted, the stadium is a shithole that is only fun to go to if you enjoy getting shot in the parking lot.
The fan base is a horrible. 80% of the fans are casual fans who wouldn't give a shit if the team left. The other 20% are complete assholes who think the team is going to win the Super Bowl every year. Last year some of these people were shocked we didn't make the playoffs.
Sam Bradford is the most boring person on the planet. When he signed his $80 million dollar rookie contract, he was interviewed about his favorite purchase and he started talking about a Ping Pong table he bought. I don't know if that douche has a girlfriend but if he does I can guarantee she's only in it for the money.
FUCK THE RAMS.
The only Ram more fragile than Sam Bradford is the man we are paying $36 million to protect Sam Bradford: Jake Long. Jake Long will probably play five games this season before he tears his ACL walking to the sideline after a three and out. In case anyone didn't see Jake Long tear his ACL and MCL last year (you didn't because no one watches the Rams) let me recap it for you: He took a step backwards. That's it. I'm not making this up.
Sometime around midseason, Kenny Britt will be suspended and our passing game will consist of ignoring Tavon Austin and throwing two yard slant passes to Austin Pettis on 3rd and 10. Chris Givens led the Rams in receiving yards last season but failed to score a single touchdown.
Stan Kroenke could fart and the local media and fans would find a way to somehow connect it to the team moving to LA.
We haven't had a receiver top 700 yards in a season since Torry Holt in 2008. Meanwhile, last season saw over 50 (!) players top 700 yards.
I was watching a juggalo festival documentary on YouTube as one does occasionally, and saw a juggalo wearing a Rams hat.
I look forward to Monday mornings. I get up, kiss my beautiful wife goodbye and ride my bicycle to my work through a national treasure of a park and in those 20 minutes I get to pretend I live in a fine city that is well known and full of cosmopolitan nice people and I breathe a sigh of pleasure for living in St. Louis...and then I get to work and realize it's mostly a bunch of mouthbreathers who drove in from the country and do nothing but complain about traffic and talk about the St. Louis Cardinals, then plan their next fast food outing for lunch.
I hate the Rams because they embody everything I know about being a St. Louisan. You're overlooked completely by the national media, virtually identical shitty mid-markets talk down to you like somehow they're better (I'm looking at you Kansas City/Indy/Cincy/Detroit/Cleveland/Denver/Memphis/Minneapolis/Denver/Green Bay/every other fucking town that's the same shit in a different zip code), had success for a short period of time which quickly went away leading to historical amounts of sucking, located in a downtown where hard-working honest people are trying to make something of themselves, while miles away the children of racists who left the city in the 1960s write racist things on the internet, and face a division of Urban vs Suburban because if you live outside the city limits, you're only allowed to like baseball apparently. If St. Louis were to hold a "Name the Team" competition today the top two choices would have to be "Urban Sprawl" or "Racial Division"
At least there's plenty of good craft beer being made in St. Louis to drown our collective inferiority sorrows. Cardinals fans driving home drunk in the "Cardinal Way" ala Josh Hancock or a David Freese-U-I, while hypocritically making fun of Cubs fans for being drunks. And for fuck's sake Cardinals fans stop rooting for other city's NFL teams and defending the practice like you're not all bandwagon hopping assholes.
Sam Bradford is more overpaid than a Mormon Party bartender. I'm pretty sure Jeff Fischer created Les Snead ala the 1987 classic "Mannequin" if only to harvest his hair for future mustache replacements.
And lucky me, this year I get to hear "Super Bowl Champion Seahawks" which has about the same ring to it as "President Elect Hitler Clone."
Sam Bradford could throw eleven touchdowns in a game while servicing four supermodels, and the city would still treat him with contempt because he's not Kurt Warner. He can't win. He's a little dopey-looking, he's not the most talented guy in the league and he's vastly overpaid, but he's by no means a terrible QB. We could and have done worse. Yet everyone treats him like Quasimodo because Dick Vermeil didn't pluck him out of a grocery store.
And that's the only thing on people's minds when it comes to the Rams: The current crop of players are not Warner or Issac Bruce or Marshall Faulk or Torry Holt, so the general public simply doesn't care about them. According to most people, if the Rams don't go 13-3 or 14-2, which will probably never happen again in my lifetime, the team sucks, end of discussion.
Whenever the franchise moves to greener pastures in LA or London or wherever, five people will care because the rest of the city will be too busy jerking it to the thought of Super Bowl XXXIV, or the Cardinal Way (which now features tons of "home-grown" players like A.J. Pierzynski and John Lackey), or the Stanley Cup potential of this Blues team that definitely won't shit itself in the playoffs this season.
The actual organization doesn't make things much better. Stan Kroenke's a deaf mute when it comes to talking about the Rams as a business, the marketing department has no idea how to make the most popular sport in America popular in a city that's pretty passionate about sports, and do I even have to bring up Rams Rules?
Our biggest move this offseason outside of the draft was getting Rodger Saffold back from the Raiders because Oakland's management is just a bit dumber than ours. The Rams haven't signed a big name, on-the-ball free agent since I can remember.
The biggest shenanigan about the Rams is the fact that they'll look like gods one game, like last year when they lit up Indianapolis and Houston, and then they turn around and lose to Tennessee and make Chris Johnson look like a stud.
Michael Sam has probably sold more Rams jerseys than the entire team combined in the last decade. He may not even make the team.
St. Louis is so devoid of anything fun to do, that citizens flock to Nashville for crazy bachelor / bachelorette party weekends, guy's weekends, etc. People from here call it "Nash-Vegas". That's how bad St. Louis is.
Fuck Steve Spagnuolo.
Is there a fanbase that is happier about their team even finishing near .500 than Rams fans? I swear the last 2 seasons when the team has won seven games, people act like we won the fucking Super Bowl. This is probably because the Rams haven't had a winning record since 2003. 2003! Maybe Gregg Williams can institute a team wide bounty system to get Rams players to play like they actually give a shit. Don't worry though, we have Brian Schottenheimer's horizontal offense to take us to the promise land with Sam 'Make or Break' Bradford throwing bubble screens to our undersized 1st round pick Tavon Austin. Can't wait to watch this team fall ass backwards into 7 wins again this year scoring 16 points a game.
And fuck all of the people that want the Rams back in LA. The Rams would have sucked just as much the last decade in LA as they have in St Louis.
The Rams don't serve Coke or Pepsi at the Edward Jones Dome, they serve RC Cola. They're basically the NFL equivalent to the kid who always brought Hydrox cookies for lunch instead of Oreo's.
Ask 10 Rams fans their opinion on Bradford, you're gonna get 11 different answers.
In a preseason game, Sam Bradford connected with Kenny Britt on a pass. Yes, Kenny Britt plays for the Rams. The official Rams twitter account (which I follow because I am an idiot) used the hashtag #BradfordToBritt. Yes, we've finally found our Brady and Moss connection! Truly, this is a hashtag worthy duo. I hope we see it 25 times before one of them goes down for the year.
The most fucked thing about this, though, is the implication that Britt is supposed to get us excited. Britt sucks. Everyone knows this, right? Our biggest moves to bolster the receiving game in the past two years have both been adding busts out of Jeff Fisher's old team. We'll probably get Chris fucking Johnson next year.
The best part about the Rams sucking is that haughty Cardinals fans don't get to be that way about the Rams. There is so much apathy about the Rams in St Louis that the only time I've ever heard anyone talk about the team is when they are discussing the team leaving or Michael Sam. Overheard this conversation my redneck neighbor had on Easter morning with his family (three generations of racists were there, small children playing at their feet).
"It's going to make the crowd totally different, now it's going to be a bunch of faggots cheering on their own"
"Yeah I can't believe they showed that all on TV, with his boyfriend all over him, disgusting"
"They report all that, but what I'm really wondering is if he's a bottom or a top"
I really hope that the first MLB player to come out is a Cardinal. What would happen if neck-tats (YADIIIIII) were to come out? All the rich people would instantly explode from being so offended and the poor people will have to rename their dogs. And that sums up St Louis fans pretty well: the best compliment they can pay their favorite player is naming their dog after him.
The best thing about the Rams is that they suck. This city doesn't deserve the NFL.
I've had an existential crisis about spending time watching football when I know damn well I could be volunteering and making other people and myself happier.
Brian Schottenheimer is our OC. He's basically the chastity device of offensive coaches. He keeps us from doing anything dangerously stupid, but also ensures we do absolutely nothing of remote interest. I'd rather bareback it with Mike Martz to be honest with you.
Thank God for Robert Quinn.
Fuck Jay Zygmunt.
Fuck Scott Linehan.
Fuck Billy Devaney.
Fuck Steve Spagnoulo with his 4 pillars.
Fuck Scott Linehan.
Fuck Mardy Gilyard.
Fuck Jason Smith.
Fuck Tye Hill.
Fuck Alex Barron.
Fuck Adam Carriker.
I have season tickets and last year saw the same guy wearing a San Fran jersey to the 9ers game and a Saints jersey to the NO game. The worst part is that, both times, he was wearing a Cardinals (baseball) hat. It took everything in me not to strangle him.
I still don't really know what to think about Stan Kroenke, because he has never said anything to anyone ever.
Rams fans are the fucking worst. They're almost always also Cardinals fans — which translates to mostly mouth-breathing, racist, jorts-wearing asswipes — but without the same undying loyalty they extend to the Birds on the Bat. By the end of Week 8, the Rams will probably be 2-5 and every dipshit who spent the preseason telling me this is the year Sam Bradford FINALLY has the proper weapons to lead this club to the playoffs won't even be watching the games anymore, let alone attending.
Yet the Rams will probably win four in a row late in the season (when the division is already lost) to push themselves back around .500, thus boning themselves out of a decent draft pick. So the fans will AGAIN convince themselves Bradford is something other than a slightly-below-average NFL quarterback and that next year is "the year" … which is kind of ironic when you realize these fuckwits are the same type of people who think it's such a riot to make "wait 'til next year" jokes about Cubs fans.
Also, if Michael Sam has a good season, be prepared to hear Rams fans coo about how their franchise was classy enough to draft him and make him feel welcome. St. Louis sports fans are pretty hung up on being classy, in case you're living under a rock and haven't noticed yet. Of course, that won't stop them from hurling every gay slur in the book at him if he should happen to get on the field and have a tough time of it. In fact, I'd wager most of them are quietly hoping he is a disaster just because it would serve as some sort of perverse justification of their underlying homophobia.
There is no worse place on God's green Earth to view a football game. No natural light, half-empty, and as quiet as a morgue. The ushers actually force patrons to sit down if a person complains to them that their view is being blocked. This results in little old ladies controlling the crowd participation at an NFL game. Any fans that would be boisterous and add to the gameday environment in any way stopped bothering to come long ago.
But most of all, Fuck Steve Spagnuolo. Three years they stuck with that moron.
I refused free, 10th row tickets to a Rams game last season because I didn't feel like paying protection money to the hobos that scratch your car in all the lots near the Edward Jones Dome.
Back when I used to work for the upstanding company that is Wal-Mart, the store one year made this massive Rams themed section for the beginning of the regular season. Everything you'd need as a fan was there, from shirts and hats to novelty items like a Rams logo BBQ spatula or an official Rams garden gnome. Come the season, the section just sat there untouched. It stayed that way for the longest time, so the store put the stuff on clearance to get rid all of it. Even then, nobody touched the stuff. In fact, I'm sure a lot of that stuff is still lingering in that clearance section to this day.
The Rams had a marginally better record in games started by Kellen Clemens (4-5) than in games started by Sam Bradford (3-4).
We drafted our janitor in the 4th round. No really. Defensive back Mo Alexander worked as a janitor at the Edward Jones Warehouse—err—"Dome" after being suspended from Utah State for fighting. I imagine, "Good Will Hunting" style, he was making his rounds in the locker rooms emptying trash cans when he stumbled upon a chalk board. Here was written one of Brian "Let's Run Up the Middle on 3rd & 15" Schottenheimer's ingenious Tavon Austin double-reverse-handoffs with the inscription "UNSTOPPABLE!!". Mo no doubt picked up the chalk and drew a line showing the safety/OLB tackling Austin for a 7 yard loss. Shottenheimer returned the next day flabbergasted, and once Jeff Fisher heard that the man who solved it had a disciplinary problem, he was immediately interested.
I haven't met another Rams fan since the Rams blew it in Super Bowl XXXVI to the Patriots in early 2002.
My brother's girlfriend is a Rams fan, and she's dumb as fuck.
The Rams play in a depressing, crumbling shithole cheered on by a never more than half capacity crowd of diehards/masochists, winners of radio contests/trivia night door prizes, and those who became trapped while trying to return discarded tickets found on the sidewalk.
Bill Bidwill can eat every single dick.
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: THE CARDINALS.