By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
10/31/2004
The biggest upset in St. Louis pro football history is, was, and will always be prying away the Rams from southern California. This season marks the franchise's 10th in St. Louis. Periodically throughout the 2004 campaign, including every Sunday in the Rams Report, the Post-Dispatch looks at the first 10 years of "St. Louis" Rams football.

St. Louis Rams Team of the Decade

OFFENSE

Pos.-----Name--------Years in St. Louis

WR---Isaac Bruce--------1995-2004
"Mr. St. Louis Ram" has been here since Day One.

LT----Orlando Pace--------1997-2004
5 Pro Bowls and counting for the Big O.

LG----Tom Nutten--------1998-2002, 2004
Starter on '99 and '01 Super Bowl teams.

C-----Andy McCollum-----1999-2004
4th year as starting C after spending '03 at LG.

RG----Adam Timmerman----1999-2004
2-time Pro Bowler and '03 offensive captain.

RT----Ryan Tucker--------1997-2001
2-year starter gets slight nod over Fred Miller.

TE----Ernie Conwell-------1996-2002
Following severe knee injury started in '01-02.

WR---Torry Holt----------1999-2004
Led NFL in catches (117) and yards (1,696) in '03.

FB----James Hodgins-------1999-2002
The Hammer could bring it as a lead blocker.

RB----Marshall Faulk-------1999-2004
Topped 2,000 yards from scrimmage here 3 times.

QB----Kurt Warner---------1998-2003
2-time league MVP led Greatest Show on Turf.

DEFENSE

Pos.-----Name----------Years in St. Louis

DE-----Kevin Carter---------1995-2000
Rams 1st St. Louis draft pick led NFL in sacks in '99.

DT-----Ray Agnew----------1998-2000 S
olid three-year starter, and team spiritual leader.

DT-----D'Marco Farr---------1995-2000
Quick off the ball, and even quicker with a quip.

DE-----Leonard Little---------1998-2004
39 sacks in 41 regular-season games from '01-03.

OLB----Roman Phifer---------1995-98
The top Rams defender during early years here.

MLB----London Fletcher--------1998-2001
Intense, emotional tackling machine from '99-01.

OLB----Mike Jones-----------1997-2000
Scored 3 defensive TDs in '99, plus "The Tackle."

CB-----Todd Lyght----------1995-2000
Steady in coverage, willing run defender, and durable.

FS------Keith Lyle-----------1995-2000
Ballhawk had 9 INTs in '96, and 8 more in '97.

SS------Adam Archuleta-------2001-04
Emerging young player led '02 squad in tackles.

CB-----Aeneas Williams-------2001-04
Now at free safety, has made 2 Pro Bowls here.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Pos.-----Name-----------Years in St. Louis

K------Jeff Wilkins---------1997-2004
Tied NFL single-season record with 39 FGs in '03.

KOR----Tony Horne---------1998-2000
Owns all 5 St. Louis Rams kickoff return TDs.

P-------Sean Landeta--------1995-96; 2003-04
Still going strong in 2nd tour of duty with club.

PR------Az-Zahir Hakim------1998-2001
Often electric, sometimes disastrous, never boring.

* * *

St. Louis Rams 10 Most Memorable Games

1.) The Tackle Super Bowl XXXIV, Jan. 30, 2000, the Georgia Dome
Rams 23, Titans 16

- Kurt Warner's 73-yard TD pass to Isaac Bruce snapped a 16- 16 tie. But this dream season wasn't complete until Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson on the 1, on the final play of one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever.

- "It proves we did the right thing in going to St. Louis. This trophy belongs to our coach, our team, and our fans in St. Louis." - Georgia Frontiere, accepting the Lombardi Trophy from Paul Tagliabue.


2.) The Upset Super Bowl XXXVI, Feb. 3, 2002, the Louisiana Superdome
Patriots 20, Rams 17

- Sluggish early, the Rams rallied from a 17-3 deficit in the fourth quarter. The first overtime in Super Bowl history appeared imminent. But no. Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal ended the game. So much for that dynasty.

- "The season's a waste. I don't care what anybody says. Your goal is to win the Super Bowl. You don't come out and play for second place." - DE Grant Wistrom.


3.) A Catch for the Ages NFC Championship, Jan. 23, 2000, the Trans World Dome
Rams 11, Buccaneers 6

- In a matchup of the league's best defense against the league's top offense, it looked like the day belonged to defense and Tampa Bay. Until, that is, Ricky Proehl's 30- yard TD catch decided this ultra-intense struggle.

- "The magnitude of the game, the situation. No question. . .that's the catch I'll remember forever." - Proehl.


4.) Finally, Football Sept. 3, 1995, Lambeau Field
Rams 17, Green Bay 14

- In their first game as the "St. Louis" Rams, Rich Brooks' squad registered a big upset on one of the NFL's most storied playgrounds. Bruce blocked a punt late in the first quarter, then caught a TD pass on the very next play.

- "We got one for the 'Arch.' St. Louis can smile a little harder today." - DT D'Marco Farr.


5.) Martz Madness NFC Divisional Playoff, Jan. 10, 2004, the Edward Jones Dome
Panthers 29, Rams 23, (double overtime)

- The Rams had the ball at the Carolina 38, down by 3 at the 2-minute warning. But to the astonishment of nearly everyone, "Mad Mike" went conservative, running only three more plays to send this epic game into OT.

- "Yeah, I was surprised we didn't take a shot at the end zone." - WR Torry Holt.


6.) Finally, Playoff Football NFC Divisional Playoff, Jan. 16, 2000, the Trans World Dome
Rams 49, Vikings 37

- Call it scorched-earth football. Starting with Tony Horne's 95-yard kickoff return, the Rams scored 35 straight points at the start of the second half, winning the 1st home playoff game in St. Louis pro football history.

- "Well, so much for not having any playoff experience." - Dick Vermeil.


7.) The Bubble Bursts Oct. 22, 1995, Busch Stadium
***** 44, Rams 10

- Entering the game, the Rams were 5-1 and the talk of the league. But in the last pro football game at Busch, 'Niners linebacker Ken Norton Jr. punched the goal posts and San Francisco punched out the Rams.

- "Same old sorry (bleep) Rams." - San Francisco DT Dana Stubblefield.


8.) The King is Dead Oct. 10, 1999, the Trans World Dome
Rams 42, ***** 20

- Same Old Rams no more! Thanks to four TD catches by Bruce, the Rams ended their 17-game losing streak to rival San Francisco, signaling a changing of the guard in the NFC West.

- "You're going all the way, baby." - Bill Walsh, to Vermeil after the game.


9.) The Track Meet Sept. 4, 2000, the Trans World Dome
Rams 41, Broncos 36

- It was wild. It was electric. It was the Greatest Show on Turf at its apex. The defending Super Bowl champs scored 3 TDs of 70 yards-plus on Monday Night football, winning Martz's head-coaching debut.

- "What time is it - about 2 o'clock? We almost blew that thing." - Martz.


10.) Shredded Cheese NFC Divisional Playoff, Jan. 20, 2002, the Dome at America's Center
Rams 45, Packers 17

- Green Bay and the mighty Brett Favre learned the hard way that St. Louis had playmakers on both sides of the ball. Favre threw six interceptions, three of which were returned for TDs in the Packers worst-ever playoff loss.

- "In all my years of coaching, I don't know if I've ever seen a defensive performance like that by any team. It's truly remarkable." - Martz.

* * *

St. Louis Rams Superlatives

(All numbers are for games played since the franchise moved to St. Louis.)

Most Games Played
1.) Isaac Bruce, 135
2.) Jeff Wilkins, 114
3.) Orlando Pace, 110

Most Touchdowns
1.) Marshall Faulk, 83
2.) Isaac Bruce, 66
3.) Torry Holt, 39

Most Touchdown Passes
1.) Kurt Warner, 102
2.) Marc Bulger, 46
2.) Tony Banks, 36

Most Passing Yards
1.) Kurt Warner, 14,447
2.) Tony Banks, 8,333
3.) Marc Bulger, 7,656

Most Rushing Yards
1.) Marshall Faulk, 6,358
2.) Lawrence Phillips, 1,265
3.) Jerome Bettis, 637

Most Receptions
1.) Isaac Bruce, 711
2.) Torry Holt, 460
3.) Marshall Faulk, 404

Most Reception Yards
1.) Isaac Bruce, 10,824
2.) Torry Holt, 7,275
3.) Marshall Faulk, 3,686

Most Tackles (*)
1.) Keith Lyle, 597
2.) London Fletcher, 537
3.) Roman Phifer, 517

Most Sacks
1.) Kevin Carter, 62 1/2
2.) Leonard Little, 48 1/2
3.) Grant Wistrom, 41 1/2

Most Interceptions
1.) Keith Lyle, 26
2.) Todd Lyght, 24
3.) Dexter McCleon, 20

(*) - According to coaches review of game film.

* * *

The Nickname Game

Get your pencils out. Can you match the nickname, with the correct St. Louis Rams player or coach?

Big Daddy---------------Tony Banks

Big Game----------------Dre' Bly

Big Grease----------------Rich Brooks, Carl Hairston

Big Play-----------------Chris Dishman

Big Sweat----------------Marshall Faulk

Crash-------------------London Fletcher

Crazylegs-----------------Frank Gansz

Donut Bros.----------------Craig Heyward

Dot.com------------------James Hodgins

Hammer, the----------------Torry Holt

Ironhead------------------Todd Kinchen

J-Boogie------------------Mike Martz

Mad Mike------------------Andy McCollum, Adam Timmerman

Mad Cow------------------Tom Nutten

Money--------------------Ryan Pickett

Pretty Tony-----------------John St. Clair

Road Grader-----------------Justin Watson

Rush---------------------Alberto White

Satellite Dish----------------Dwayne White

Torso Man------------------Jeff Wilkins

Answers: Big Daddy (Rich Brooks, Carl Hairston); Big Game (Torry Holt); Big Grease (Ryan Pickett); Big Play (Dre' Bly); Big Sweat (John St. Clair); Crash (Frank Gansz); Crazylegs (Todd Kinchen); Donut Bros. (Andy McCollum, Adam Timmerman); Dot.com (London Fletcher); Hammer, the (James Hodgins); Ironhead (Craig Heyward); J-Boogie (Justin Watson); Mad Mike (Mike Martz); Mad Cow (Alberto White); Money (Jeff Wilkins); Pretty Tony (Tony Banks); Road Grader (Dwayne White); Rush (Marshall Faulk); Satellite Dish (Chris Dishman); Torso Man (Tom Nutten).

Grading Scale - 1-5 correct answers: Rhythmic gymnastics expert. - 6-10 correct: Closet ***** fan. - 11-15 correct: Charter PSL holder. - 16-20 correct: Need to get out more.

* * *

St. Louis Rams Trivia Challenge

So you think you know the St. Louis Rams? Let's find out.

1.) Former kicker Steve McLaughlin played in a band called. . . .
- a.) The Petting Zoo
- b.) Fishsticks
- c.) Pet the Fish

2.) Drama Dino is. . . .
- a.) A purple dinosaur who occasionally appears for the pre- game coin toss
- b.) A dance instructor who works with Rams cheerleaders
- c.) A rap singer who put out a CD musical tribute to the '99 Rams

3.) The Sugarfoot was. . . .
- a.) A celebratory dance by London Fletcher after a big tackle
- b.) Dick Vermeil's nickname for Jeff Wilkins
- c.) A desert treat favored by the Donut Bros.

4.) Proehl's Place was. . . .
- a.) A bar and grill on Broadway and Washington
- b.) Ricky Proehl's Chesterfield residence
- c.) The end zone corner where Proehl caught game-winning TD pass against Tampa Bay in NFC title game

5.) Victory Monday is. . . .
- a.) An antique store frequented by players in the U. City Loop
- b.) A day off given to players after a Sunday victory
- c.) Any Rams triumph on Monday night football

6.) Gotta Go To Work was. . . .
- a.) Vermeil's promise to reporters after a 4-12 campaign in 1998
- b.) The unofficial team slogan in 1999
- c.) Orlando Pace's comments to reporters upon ending his contract stalemate

7.) Max Q was. . . .
- a.) A team statistician in the late '90s
- b.) Kurt Warner's bodyguard at Super Bowl XXXVI
- c.) An aerospace term adopted by the team to emphasize maximizing performance

8.) Bronzell, Breezell, and Stetson were. . . .
- a.) Hat endorsement deals offered Marshall Faulk after 2000 MVP season
- b.) Children of former LB Bronzell Miller
- c.) Fragrances used by team owner Georgia Frontiere

9.) The Termites were. . .
- a.) Self-proclaimed nickname of wide receiver corps in 1999
- b.) The band that performed the National Anthem at the first home game in the Trans World Dome
- c.) Insidious insects that caused wood damage during the first year at Rams Park

10.) His center snap in 2000 resulted in Kurt Warner's first broken finger. . . .
a.) Jim Everett
b.) Steve Everitt
c.) Chris Evert

Answers:
1.) c.) Pet the Fish
2.) c.) A rap singer who put out a CD musical tribute to the '99 Rams
3.) a.) A celebratory dance by London Fletcher after a big tackle

4.) c.) The end zone corner where Proehl caught game-winning TD pass against Tampa Bay in NFC title game
5.) b.) A day off given to players after a Sunday victory
6.) b.) The unofficial team slogan in 1999
7.) c.) An aerospace term adopted by the team to emphasize maximizing performance
8.) b.) Children of former LB Bronzell Miller
9.) a.) Self-proclaimed nickname of wide receiver corps in 1999
10.) b.) Steve Everitt

Grading Scale 8-10 correct answers: Incredible. 4-7 correct: Inattentive. 1-3 correct: In a coma.