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Thread: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

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    Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, November 24, 2011 2:25 pm

    We're rapidly approaching an important deadline. By Feb. 1, 2012, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission must present the Rams with a financing plan to turn the Edward Jones Dome into one of the NFL's best stadiums.

    That's virtually impossible. There's no way to renovate the dome to qualify for top-tier NFL status. More than 20 NFL stadiums have been built or fully renovated since the Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis and into The Ed in 1995.

    Per terms of the lease agreement, the CVC is obligated to make the Dome superior to three-quarters of all NFL venues. Again, there's no way to make that happen without building a new stadium. And that's not feasible. And so the Rams will be free to opt out of the Dome following the 2014 season, unless the Rams grant concessions and sign an extension on the lease.

    Here's what the CVC, the city of St. Louis, and the state should do for the Rams and team owner Stan Kroenke:

    Nothing.

    That's right.

    Nothing.

    The Rams want a top-tier facility?

    Great. Let's talk when Kroenke delivers a top-tier football team.

    Unless the CVC and the Rams fans want to spinelessly capitulate and surrender to the threats of a billionaire owner who ranks among the wealthiest Americans, there's no reason to roll over like a bunch of stooges to appease Kroenke.

    At some point, you just have to draw the line. The fans and the city aren't failing the Rams; the Rams are failing their fans. And they've been getting away with it for years.

    The franchise continues to receive strong support at the ticket windows. Sure, there are empty seats on game day, but it's understandable considering the abysmal product that's being served to the public.

    The fans don't receive enough credit for standing by this team. Since the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, only nine of 138 regular season and postseason home games have been blacked out on local television.

    Rams fans have nothing to apologize for.

    If anything, they are owed an apology.

    The Rams moved here from LA to take advantage of the riches offered by St. Louis, and to cash in on a remarkably lucrative lease agreement at the new stadium. The Dome was once a giant cash machine that increased the owners' personal wealth.

    When the taxpayer-funded Dome opened, guaranteeing astronomical profits, Rams owners Georgia Frontiere and Kroenke were the envy of other NFL owners. That's why other NFL owners were able to squeeze their cities for new stadiums. They saw what Frontiere and Kroenke had in St. Louis and wanted the same.

    The raising of the Edward Jones Dome was actually a turning point in NFL history at least in terms of adding more layers to the vast bankrolls of NFL owners.

    And now the Dome, only 17 years later, is considered outdated and inadequate? The facility is somehow less than this franchise deserves?

    Oh, please.

    The Rams haven't had a winning season since 2003. They haven't made the playoffs since 2004. Other than the magnificent five-year run (1999-2003) of "The Greatest Show," the Rams have been simply awful.

    Between 1995 and 1998 the Rams went 22-42; that ranked 28th among the 32 teams in winning percentage.

    Since the start of the 2004 season the Rams are 37-85, ranking 31st in the NFL in winning percentage.

    Sure, the fantastic collection of talent led by Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Orlando Pace provided many thrills and a Super Bowl championship to end a magical 1999 season. But except for those five wonderful seasons, the Rams have gone 59-130 here.

    So before everyone starts worrying about what to do for Kroenke, maybe we should demand to know what Kroenke plans to do for the Rams, St. Louis and the fans.

    If Kroenke wants to move the team to Los Angeles or London, he'll almost certainly have the freedom to do so in a few years. But unless Kroenke fixes this franchise, it won't matter.

    The Rams couldn't sell out in Los Angeles with Eric Dickerson setting NFL rushing records for playoff teams there, so why would LA (or any city) provide undying support for a sorry, no-account team that wallows in futility?

    No, I don't want to see the Rams move. But this town has been great to the Rams franchise, and to its owners. And it's up to Kroenke to do his fair share. He doesn't have to, of course. It would be easy for him to take his team and run away and cash in again big at least for a few years in a new city.

    But the idea that this town owes Kroenke anything is preposterous. And maddening. The St. Louis economy has taken some hard hits. Taxpayers have done enough for the Rams. It was difficult, as is, to come up with $30 million to improve the Dome a few years ago.

    According to the annual Forbes survey for 2011, Kroenke had an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion. His wife, Ann, is worth $3.3 billion.

    If the Kroenke family wants a better stadium, they have the money to build it.

    Sure, it's fun to have an NFL franchise yes, even with so many miserable Sundays. It's also fun to kick back and watch all of the NFL games on the NFL Sunday Ticket package on DirecTV.

    St. Louis has backed the baseball Cardinals with tremendous support. The NHL Blues haven't won a playoff game since 2004, but they play to sellout crowds at Scotttrade Center.

    You have to be really bad in this town to alienate loyal sports fans and drive them away. The Rams are threatening to destroy that bond. Since the start of the 2007 season the Rams are 15-59, for a winning percentage of .203. Of the NFL's 32 teams, 25 have won at least 30 games since '07.

    Deep into this third season, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is 10-32. The Rams are 12-46 since GM Billy Devaney was signed on in 2008 to improve the team's personnel. The Rams have selected 34 players since the 2008 draft, and 17 are gone already.

    Only a precious few of the draft picks rate as franchise pieces. Only nine Rams on the current roster (including injured players) were here before Devaney arrived in '08. Only six were here before Spagnuolo became coach in '09.

    It's up to Kroenke to clean up this mess. This is his team. He's also an absentee owner. No one expects him to be at Rams Park every day, but how much time can Kroenke devote to the Rams? Kroenke didn't attend Sunday's miserable 24-7 loss to Seattle. At least the fans showed up.

    Kroenke has a lot going on, whether it's making real-estate deals or lording over several sports franchises, including the prestigious Arsenal soccer club in the English Premier League.

    Kroenke is very good at making money. And St. Louis, and the Rams, have made a lot of jack for Kroenke. That's fine. But what does Kroenke plan to do to hold up his end of the deal?

    Absolutely, Kroenke has the contractual right to demand a better, or new, stadium.

    St. Louis should demand a better football team. And that's non-negotiable.
    ramsanddodgers and sonnyjames like this.


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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    LOL

    Where the heck did that come from Bernie?


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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    I think he is pissed that Kroenke isn't talking to the media. If Stan had given him a sit down interview Bernie's article would have probably been a "if we build it they will come" type speech on why improvements are necessary.

    The problem with Bernie's argument is he is basing it on a factor that is not that important to those involved... the quality of the team.

    Money as always is the deciding factor. The city of St. Louis will have to figure out how much of an economical impact 56,000 + people coming to downtown St. Louis for at least 8 days out of the year is worth. Can they survive with out that money? How much can they afford to spend to keep that money? It's really that simple.

    Can it be renovated? I don't no but I guess Bernie has a degree as an architect.

    Are the fans of St. Louis doing enough? Probably but I would like to point out to Bernie that the Colts are 0 and 10 and still draw almost 10,000 more fans a week to their games.
    NJ Ramsfan1 likes this.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Quote Originally Posted by RamDez View Post
    LOL

    Where the heck did that come from Bernie?
    Good question Dez. Is it some kind of preemptive strike against something that Bernie sees happenenig, but actually hasn't happened? I guess he thinks he's doing his civic duty or something. The bottom line is, in the billion dollar world of the NFL, I doubt Kroenke is going to fork out his own money for a new stadium in St. Louis if he can get one built by someone else somewhere like Los Angeles.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Well, if they decide to try and renovate the Ed, they should start by TEARING THE ROOF OFF AND PLANTING SOME DAMN GRASS!

    There, you just eliminated the drab, flourescent lighting condition, gave us a homefield advantage AND maybe cutdown on some of those ridiculous injuries.

    Here's to hoping the next Greatest Show is with a stifling defense that gives up 6 pts a game.
    Last edited by Dwight Frye; -11-25-2011 at 05:45 PM.
    If a team won their division seven straight times, that would be a NFL record. Now add on that team did it with seven different QB's in seven straight years,that record is unbeatable. To do that feat, you must of had a great Defense. Jack Youngblood was the captain of that defense.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    I actually think the Edward Jones Dome is fine. I also think we have the key players in place to build around. I'd like to see ownership spend money on a proven headcoach and let him rebuild this mess.
    jkramsfan likes this.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Thanks to her hasty departure from LA, Georgia Frontiere's lasting legacy to this organization is an ugly, ill-conceived monstrosity of a stadium which is already antiquated after only 16 years in existence. That she abandoned Los Angeles and couldn't succeed in the 2nd largest city in the country is a measure of just how badly she mismanaged her team. And this has been discussed ad infinitum on other past threads. Now, it is the problem of current ownership.

    To suggest another city wouldn't support the Rams (or any relocated team) in the future because it is a losing franchise in 2011 is a fallacy. It has no bearing on whether or not Stan Kroenke or anyone else would consider moving a team. As Rambunctious pointed out several posts earlier, this is a money issue.

    I know one thing: In this economy, a billionaire owner asking the citizens of any city to fund a new stadium for an unsuccessful laughingstock of an organization would be a monumental disgrace.
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER likes this.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    "The Rams moved here from LA to take advantage of the riches offered by St. Louis, and to cash in on a remarkably lucrative lease agreement at the new stadium. The Dome was once a giant cash machine that increased the owners' personal wealth."

    That's exactly right Bernie, Madam Ram used the team as her own cash box, it was her only source of income and that's how it was run (although Bernie would have never said this while she was alive being that his face was buried deep in her rear end as often as he could get it in there).

    So here are the billion dollar questions; Does Stan keep trying to throw band-aids at this team and keep them in the Dome? Does he throw out 4-600 million of his own money to help fund a "top tier" stadium? If he does, will the fans in St. Louis give him a return on investment? Can they? Does he really care if his team plays in a "top tier" stadium?

    I don't know. But a man doesn't get several billion dollars by throwing good money after bad on a regular basis. I guess we'll know more after February 1st. Remember, he didn't opt to take full control of the Rams until the last day possible...it should be interesting kids!
    macrammer and NJ Ramsfan1 like this.
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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Yes Bernie that attitude will land the rams in LA again you numskull.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    If I had a vote, I'd say pack it all up, move to LA, grab our old jerseys ('95's updated) and continue there. I'd more than love to forget about the past, what, 7 years of my life?

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    That's a stupid attitude to take Bernie and it's what lost us the Cardinals. I'd be devastated if they moved, especially if it was from that sort of attitude. I really don't know what I'd do, pretty hard to raise a kid as a football fan for a team they can never go see.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenWing View Post
    That's a stupid attitude to take Bernie and it's what lost us the Cardinals. I'd be devastated if they moved, especially if it was from that sort of attitude. I really don't know what I'd do, pretty hard to raise a kid as a football fan for a team they can never go see.
    I think bernie is just calling it like it is. BTW, my son is a Ram fan even with them out in St Louis.........

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    good. why in the hell should taxpayers fork over cash for an owner who rarely shows up at games (if at all) and a garbage franchise ?

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Probably but I would like to point out to Bernie that the Colts are 0 and 10 and still draw almost 10,000 more fans a week to their games.
    Well of course they're going to draw that amount of fans to the games. They're 2 years removed from a Super Bowl appearance and a year from a playoff appearance. The Rams haven't had that in almost 10 years.

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    Re: Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything ..

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    If I had a vote, I'd say pack it all up, move to LA, grab our old jerseys ('95's updated) and continue there. I'd more than love to forget about the past, what, 7 years of my life?
    This. The biggest mistake I ever made was not sticking with the Giants.

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