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Thread: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

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    Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Burwell: It's a shame that London trip is during re-birth

    21 hours ago • BY BRYAN BURWELL • Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

    One of the saddest sights in sports is a stadium closed for business. In St. Louis this week, we're dealing with a staggering triple-header of athletic emptiness. On the same gloomy day the baseball Cardinals were inside their Busch Stadium clubhouse stuffing their belongings in boxes and bags and heading off into the long off-season, the big banners touting the Blues' young and promising team draped off the roof of the Scottrade Center, but the locked-out hockey season was still very much in limbo.

    Down the street at the other prominent downtown pro sports facility, the Edward Jones Dome will also be closed for football business this Sunday. But unlike Busch and Scottrade, the Dome has been temporarily shuttered purely by choice.

    The Rams are in England this weekend, playing the New England Patriots in a "home game" in a famous soccer stadium in London.

    A lot of people want to try and frame this little junket to British Isles as the crime of the century against the city.

    The reality is, it's far more of a shame than a crime.

    The National Football League loves playing football games in London. It makes perfect business sense to expand the NFL's brand overseas. It's just rotten timing that this is the season that the Rams became the league's prominent marketing tool. It's even more rotten timing that owner Stan Kroenke's original strategy to use London as leverage in his dealings with St. Louis officials over the Dome lease was probably just the sort of negotiating muscle flexing that was needed at the time.

    But the bigger shame is how a lot of circumstances that were in play when Kroenke originally signed the deal to go to London have changed over the past 12 months and this trip overseas is not such a money-making bargain anymore. So now the Rams are only on the hook for one trip to London instead of three and a new stadium deal in some yet-to-be-determined form in St. Louis seems to be somewhere off in the not-too-distant horizon.

    So if the London game turns out to be a necessary evil that provoked a lot of very smart people to figure out a way to keep the Rams here in St. Louis, I say it's worth the pain of this one lost home game.

    This is what I call short-term pain leading to long-term pleasure. Pay close attention over the next four months or so, and you'll start to see the makings of an agreement formulating that will keep Kroenke's NFL team right here as a permanent fixture. The clock is still ticking on the arbitration process between the Rams and the city's Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and I wouldn't be surprised if by the end of the year everyone comes to the realization that refurbishing the Dome under anyone's plan won't please either side.

    However, if neither side wants to spend a lot of money to refurbish the Dome for professional football then let's hope it still leads to a deal that keeps the Rams right here playing in a brand new domed or retractable-roofed stadium in the county (there sure is a lot of open space out in the Riverport complex near the Rams' Earth City training facility).

    If so, then we'll all look back at London as nothing more than a slight inconvenience. It's just seems a shame that after so many years of lousy, uninteresting football when hardly anyone would have cared if the Rams played in Timbuktu, that this is the year that the Rams are playing London hosts.

    This is turning out to be their re-birth season, and this London trip has to be viewed as a missed opportunity for a potential sell-out in the Edward Jones Dome for a franchise desperately hoping to regain its footing with its St. Louis fan base.

    And right now, accomplishing that is so close you can almost feel it.

    The product on the field is getting better and people are starting to notice.

    When I'm out in the city, people often approach me and want to talk sports. This time of the year, the conversations are usually dominated by the Cardinals. But that's changing now. One day last week, a stranger came up to me smiling. He was geeked up about the Rams.

    "Hey man, they're interesting again," he said. "It doesn't matter right now if they lose a game. They're interesting."

    The man's voice rose with surprise and pleasure.

    I know former season ticket holders who stubbornly held on to their seats at the Dome, but finally just gave up on the team over the past several years. You could see how bad it got when good teams like the Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers came to town. I still remember the civic embarrassment of the 2007 season, when the Packers and Steelers came to town and took over the dome. Remember those 30,000 Packers fans who showed up here to toast Brett Favre as he set one of his many NFL records?

    Remember a few weeks later, when Marshall Faulk's jersey retirement ceremony was held in front of a Thursday night crowd that was nearly half full of Terrible Towel-waving Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

    That's not the case anymore. Even last weekend when downtown was swarming with Green Bay fans in the bars and restaurants, most of them could not get tickets to get inside the Dome. The most they could get in there was maybe 10,000 of them. They tried to make the game their home, but it didn't work even if their football team was quite successful.

    There were at least 55,000 Rams fans in the Dome last week, and they didn't leave the building early, even when the Packers began to take control. That probably doesn't mean much in most football-mad cities, but to a town like St. Louis, whose NFL passion hit rock bottom a while ago, we call that progress.


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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Guess the PD wouldn't let Brian expense a trip to the UK.

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Please Bryan, football and the Rams are an after thought in St Louis. The only reason attendance might pick up now is because the Cardinals season is over. The St Louis Rams "fans" are some of the worst in sports.
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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    I really hate that kind of language. I live near St.Louis, I fall into the category of St.Louis Rams fan. I consider it questioning my fanhood when people say stuff like this.

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Unfortunately, and for whatever reasons, the Rams lack the rabid buzz enjoyed by the fan bases of Green Bay, The Giants, Jets, Steelers, Dallas, Oakland and many others. It doesn't mean we don't have a loyal fan base, and obviously this forum exists because there ARE passionate fans out there. But there aren't enough of them in St. Louis- which is why the stadium is not filled, why fans sell their tickets and why there is periodic talk of moving back to LA, London or wherever. It's reality.

    And speaking of London, Burwell's article should instead be titled "It's a shame the London Trip is Happening at All". It is a complete waste of a home game. And I have NEVER understood this apparent infatuation of sending a team abroad. What started out as a novelty is now theater of the absurd when talking about the possibility of a team permanently being located there. What team would want to travel 12 hours MINIMUM round trip by plane 8 times a year to away contests? What opposing team would want to hop on a plane and go to England for football? Imagine the San Diego Chargers going to London for an away game. Ridiculous. And any amount of money generated would hardly be worth the logistical nightmare for players, management, referees and fans. Not worth the trouble.


    My apologies to the fine English residents on the forum. I just don't think our long term interests involve London.
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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    This is turning out to be their re-birth season, and this London trip has to be viewed as a missed opportunity for a potential sell-out in the Edward Jones Dome for a franchise desperately hoping to regain its footing with its St. Louis fan base.
    I guess last weeks game was not part of the re-birth season as fans did not come out in full force to support the Rams at home. Last weeks game was just as big as this weeks and the fans did not see that as opportunity to come out and support the team.

    I understand where the fans are coming from as a Rams fan that used to support the team by going to home games in Anaheim. I knew they where considering moving and they where losing a lot.

    Until two things happen I don't see the fans back in full force.

    One, win and two make a commitment to stay in St Louis. Unfortunately I see this stadium deal lingering for years. As the team is clearly rebuilding and on the right path, this will hold the fans back.

    This London game may give the fans in St Louis a reality check that their team can play anywhere.
    Last edited by Rambos; -10-25-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Stan has to make money. If that means going to England to play a game, then so be it. We were going to play 3! Hopefully this is a wake up call to Rams fans, for being the embarrassment that they are. Even Browns fans find it in themselves to pack that crap-hole every weekend, yet they are the worst team for the past 5 years.


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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Please Bryan, football and the Rams are an after thought in St Louis. The only reason attendance might pick up now is because the Cardinals season is over. The St Louis Rams "fans" are some of the worst in sports.
    Don't worry; no offense taken. Of course, I can't speak for every other member that was just insulted.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    I understand the perception by some that St. Louis Rams fans are horrible on the whole, but as someone who has interacted with them in real time, I think they're pretty incredible considering circumstances the last several years. It's the no-shows and season ticket holder sell-outs that infuriate me and give good St. Louis Rams fans a bad name.

    As far as Burwell seeing a missed opportunity for a "sell-out" by playing in London, that's not the issue. What good is a sell-out in name only, when there are tens of thousands of empty red seats, or multitudes of opposing fans making their presence felt? The missed opportunity should be an Edward Jones Dome packed to the rafters with screaming RAMS fans.

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I understand the perception by some that St. Louis Rams fans are horrible on the whole, but as someone who has interacted with them in real time, I think they're pretty incredible considering circumstances the last several years. It's the no-shows and season ticket holder sell-outs that infuriate me and give good St. Louis Rams fans a bad name.

    As far as Burwell seeing a missed opportunity for a "sell-out" by playing in London, that's not the issue. What good is a sell-out in name only, when there are tens of thousands of empty red seats, or multitudes of opposing fans making their presence felt? The missed opportunity should be an Edward Jones Dome packed to the rafters with screaming RAMS fans.
    Exactly. Well said.

    Brokenwing you and other loyal local Rams fans should be the ones that are most upset by the disloyal behavior of so many other local "fans". There is rarely a home field advantage in the Dome, and everyone knows it.

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    It's the no-shows and season ticket holder sell-outs that infuriate me and give good St. Louis Rams fans a bad name.
    I personally don't think there is anything wrong with their behavior.

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Quote Originally Posted by Benedict Arnold View Post
    I personally don't think there is anything wrong with their behavior.
    Hey Benedict, you and your sell-out friends are runnin' down my Rams, man, you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me!

    Thought that might be apropos, if you know what I mean.
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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Unfortunately, and for whatever reasons, the Rams lack the rabid buzz enjoyed by the fan bases of Green Bay, The Giants, Jets, Steelers, Dallas, Oakland and many others. It doesn't mean we don't have a loyal fan base, and obviously this forum exists because there ARE passionate fans out there. But there aren't enough of them in St. Louis- which is why the stadium is not filled, why fans sell their tickets and why there is periodic talk of moving back to LA, London or wherever. It's reality.

    And speaking of London, Burwell's article should instead be titled "It's a shame the London Trip is Happening at All". It is a complete waste of a home game. And I have NEVER understood this apparent infatuation of sending a team abroad. What started out as a novelty is now theater of the absurd when talking about the possibility of a team permanently being located there. What team would want to travel 12 hours MINIMUM round trip by plane 8 times a year to away contests? What opposing team would want to hop on a plane and go to England for football? Imagine the San Diego Chargers going to London for an away game. Ridiculous. And any amount of money generated would hardly be worth the logistical nightmare for players, management, referees and fans. Not worth the trouble.


    My apologies to the fine English residents on the forum. I just don't think our long term interests involve London.
    At least in London the Rams can guarantee a home game, unlike that debacle against Green Bay.

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Brokenwing you and other loyal local Rams fans should be the ones that are most upset by the disloyal behavior of so many other local "fans".
    And we are upset.

    But surely you must understand that what local fans don't much care for are folks from California making statements like....
    the Rams are an after thought in St Louis. The only reason attendance might pick up now is because the Cardinals season is over. The St Louis Rams "fans" are some of the worst in sports.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Burwell: It's A Shame That London Trip Is During Re-Birth

    Interesting. I believe that STL is a good sports town. I also believe that smaller cities tend to identify more with one team, or sport. For example, while the Twins and Wild are popular in Minneapolis, the Vikings are THE team here. If sports fans here could only keep 1 team, it would be the Vikings. Similarly, I think you'd find Pittsburgh keeping the Steelers. If STL fans could only keep one team, I think they'd choose the Cardinals . There's nothing wrong with that. There's a longer, richer history between the fans and the city. It certainly doesn't mean that STL isn't a good sports town.

    Burwell also mentioned the possibility of a new stadium in STL. Anybody in MO heard any rumblings?
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