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  1. #1
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Bernie on Bradford

    Bradford a good fit for Rams, Midwest

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/25/2010

    For a young man who would grow up to become a St. Louis quarterback, Sam Bradford was born under a good sign.

    Sam's date of birth was Nov. 8, 1987.

    On that very Sunday afternoon, within the cookie-cutter confines of Busch Stadium II, the old St. Louis football Cardinals pulled off the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history.

    After three quarters, the Cardinals were seemingly down and out, trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-3. But quarterback Neil Lomax threw a touchdown pass to tight end Rob Awalt, linebacker Niko Noga returned a fumble for a touchdown, and Lomax connected with wide receiver J.T. Smith for late TD passes of 11 and 17 yards. Amazingly, the Cardinals prevailed 31-28.
    "A miracle," Smith said after the game.

    And 500 miles away in Oklahoma City, a child was born …

    OK, I'm getting carried away.

    However, it really was Bradford's birthday, and the Cardinals really did erase a 25-point deficit in 12 minutes.

    I'm just saying.

    But we can agree that Bradford is the so-called face of the franchise now. No disrespect to running back Steven Jackson, who is the force of the franchise. The Rams' best player. But SJ39 has been around since 2004, and the Rams are 6-42 over the last three seasons. So the No. 1 overall draft pick instantly becomes the symbol of a new era, a symbol of hope.

    The early returns are encouraging for the Rams, who fielded hundreds of phone calls inquiring about season tickets in the first 48 hours after Bradford was selected No. 1 overall. Friday night, the Rams carted Bradford to a VIP reception for sponsors and suite holders at Grant's Farm. There, Bradford received an enthusiastic greeting as he briefly spoke to a crowd of 350.

    It was a sign that the Rams plan to market Bradford to pump up interest and ticket sales. Which is a smart plan. But Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff says Bradford is just one part of a wider marketing strategy that will feature Jackson and several of the team's emerging stars including James Laurinaitis, Jason Smith, Chris Long, Donnie Avery, etc.

    "That said, there's genuine excitement in the community over the Bradford pick," Demoff said. "We hope it provides the kind of energy we can build on. As we start a youth movement, this is the piece that helps tie it together."

    Bradford is aware of his off-field value to a franchise that must replenish its customer base. But he won't lose sight of a more important priority.

    "Obviously, I do understand that there are certain responsibilities that come with that, but I'm a team guy," Bradford said. "I love being one of the guys, just love hanging out. I'm going to do everything I can to pull my fair share of the load around here."

    Bradford has an interesting personality. He isn't fiery. He doesn't make noise. He isn't showy. He doesn't go all "Oprah" and reveal his innermost thoughts. But Bradford has an understated sense of humor and is quick with a quip. He projects warmth. Unlike other recent Rams quarterbacks, Bradford has presence.

    More than anything, Bradford has an earnest personal quality that should fit in St. Louis. He is genuine. There is nothing pretentious about him. And Bradford is a proud son of Big 12 country.

    "I think St. Louis is a great place to live," Bradford said. "I love the Midwest."

    Cha-ching! With that quote the Rams just sold 25 more season tickets.

    Bradford will undoubtedly encounter demands for his attention and time outside of football. But he's experienced in handling that as a Heisman Trophy winner and the big man on campus at Oklahoma, where football rules. Still, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo will monitor the situation.

    "I get it. I understand the responsibilities on him," Spagnuolo said. "I'm going to be a little protective. But I'm not going to be overly protective, because that's the league. And the league expects those guys at that position and who are drafted that high to do certain things. Sam needs to do that for this organization.

    "But the coach in me, the dad in me, is going to make sure he's not too inundated with off-field things. If it's so much that the football goes on the back burner, we don't want that. We want football to be the most important thing.

    "What's great is Sam is poised that way. I don't know that he really wants that. I don't think he's out there aiming for the limelight. I've reminded him that when he's hit with a lot to just remember, 'You're here to be a good teammate first, and to be a good player.' Unless you're a good player, you won't be the face of anything. And I think Sam gets that."

    Absolutely he does.

    "Expectations are high, and I haven't done anything in St. Louis," Bradford said. "I realize that until I get on the field and prove to people that I deserve to be the No. 1 pick, there's going to be questions."

    Bradford seems to be an unusually grounded and serious 22-year-old. He graduated from OU with a 3.89 grade-point average, completing a four-year finance program in a little more than three years. He watches sports. He plays golf. He loves Italian food. He's active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And he knows who he is.

    As reported by USA Today, a photographer from GQ magazine recently had a brilliant idea for a photo shoot at Bradford's place in Norman, Okla. The photographer noticed an outdoor Jacuzzi and suggested that Bradford invite some OU coeds over to pose with him. You know: hotshot QB, soon to become a multi-millionaire, surrounded by beautiful young women in a hot tub.

    Bradford's response: "Not going to happen."

    That's a good sign. Bradford already recognizes when he's about to be blitzed — off the field. You may see Bradford's face on an enormous billboard, but don't be fooled. His head isn't really that big.
    Last edited by VegasRam; -06-02-2010 at 11:31 AM.

    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  2. #2
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    OK - what did I do wrong? Why's the text color messed up?

    Never mind.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  3. #3
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    Not sure how the Second Coming allusion will play in the conservative Christian communities of the Midwest; reason #101 why Bernie will never be offered a job in the Rams Public Relations dept, but I agree with his assessment of this young man so far. Very glad that Sam seems both so grounded and yet a livelier personality than I'd guessed from the few bits of interview video seen pre-draft. It seems very unlikely that there will ever be any non-football reason not to be proud to have him as the face of our team; no small thing these days.

    And let's hope there will seldom be a need for him to overcome a 25 point deficit in 12 minutes.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    Does anyone know the Rams record over the last three years? I can't find a mention of it anywhere...

  5. #5
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    Does anyone know the Rams record over the last three years? I can't find a mention of it anywhere...
    Like 47-1 wasnt it?

  6. #6
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    Does anyone know the Rams record over the last three years? I can't find a mention of it anywhere...

    My god you're right! An article that doesn't start with: "The Rams, who have only won..."

    The more I read about Bradford the more I like him.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    We are what we are. If writers want to keep reminding us that we are 6-42 over the last three seasons, I don't mind nor care.

    Face it, that's what our record is.


    But, I think we have the potential to be a good football team starting this season with Bradford at the helm.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    I do mind, not even because I don't like seeing the record, but because Rams fans, the people they are writing to, already know the record. Re-stating it in every single article is unnecessary at best.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    I was just being a dork. Sorry to derail the thread!

    As far as Bradford is concerned, we need a guy like this to bring our franchise back into the limelight. We need someone from our organization for others to pay attention to, as sad as it sounds. Most highlight shows barely cover our games. A nice Jackson run, two or three touchdowns being scored on us, and they move on. As trivial as it sounds, we need people to remember our team exists.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post

    For a young man who would grow up to become a St. Louis quarterback, Sam Bradford was born under a good sign.

    Sam's date of birth was Nov. 8, 1987.

    On that very Sunday afternoon, within the cookie-cutter confines of Busch Stadium II, the old St. Louis football Cardinals pulled off the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history.
    And here I thought he was going to say Bradford was an Aries.

  11. #11
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    Sam was supposed to throw out the first pitch in tonight's Cardinal game. Anybody see it? Don't think it was shown live. Rumor is he threw a 106 mph slider.....

    EDIT: My bad info....Sam throws out the first pitch Friday night. I'll endure the flogging of 12 noodles a dozen times in penance.
    Last edited by MACD; -06-03-2010 at 12:42 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Bernie on Bradford

    As reported by USA Today, a photographer from GQ magazine recently had a brilliant idea for a photo shoot at Bradford's place in Norman, Okla. The photographer noticed an outdoor Jacuzzi and suggested that Bradford invite some OU coeds over to pose with him. You know: hotshot QB, soon to become a multi-millionaire, surrounded by beautiful young women in a hot tub.

    You know,,,,I really missed my calling there.

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