Interview with Chip
'I see us really managing the team as owners. Not as football people.'
Thursday, Feb. 28 2008
Excerpts from an interview Monday with the Rams' new owner, Chip Rosenbloom, as
told to Jim Thomas and Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch:
Q: You were born in 1964; your late father Carroll Rosenbloom owned the
Baltimore Colts at that time before swapping franchises with the Los Angeles
Rams in 1972. What was it like growing up around football?
A: "I don't know life without a football team in one capacity or another. I
saw what the league was like then. I saw it after my father passed away. And I
saw my mom take control of the Rams in '79.
"I got more involved as sort of a junior adult. And as I've gotten older, I
would attend league meetings occasionally, be on the phone with John (Shaw) and
my mom, and sort of be involved in a number of conversations. While that was
not my career, it was still a part of my life, just by association."
Q: What are your thoughts on the current state of the Rams, a team that
finished 3-13 in 2007?
A: "I feel the team's a lot better than 3-13. And I think a lot people do. I
didn't go to a game this past season because my mom was sick, so I don't know
the sentiments there in St. Louis personally. But I get the sense that people
don't think the team is as good as it potentially really is. I think that this
team has a lot of potential."
Q: What are your goals for the Rams, your vision of how you want the team to
perform in the future?
A: "There have been some lean years, but I remember a 12-4 season in 2003. I
remember 8-8 and the playoffs in 2004; 8-8 in 2006. So I would say we've been
inconsistent. We haven't been terrible. So my vision would be to have a little
bit more consistency.
"Obviously, the goal's to win the Super Bowl. Jay (Zygmunt) and John (Shaw) and
I sat down and discussed that, and said, 'That is the goal.' But you guys know,
you start out the season, you make the playoffs — anything is possible. . . .
So I think what we're trying to do this offseason is build a playoff-caliber
team that can compete to potentially win the Super Bowl. I don't know how we
attempt to do anything short of that."
Q: You have a new personnel head in Billy Devaney. Do you foresee any other
changes in the team's upper management in the foreseeable future?
A: "As far as John (Shaw) is concerned, John is family. John is hopefully going
to be part of our family for a long time. And what that means for the Rams, I
can't tell you. I have to defer that question to John.
"Jay (Zygmunt) is like part of our family, too. I've known Jay since I was 17,
18 years old. And I would put his track record as a president of football
operations up against anybody in the league. I know last year was a rough
season, but I've been very impressed with what Jay's done this offseason.
"I don't know how the St. Louis community is taking it. But I've seen the
hiring of Billy Devaney, and what Jay's done with Scott (Linehan) and the
coaching staff. I've been very impressed with what he's been doing. Clearly,
though, the season's an important season. I think everybody knows that."
Q: Several home games were not sellouts last season. Are you concerned about an
eroding fan base?
A: "To be honest with you, I don't know why we weren't selling out. Is it our
fault? Is it lack of support? I don't know the answer to that. I would say that
when I've attended games, I've seen incredible support from the fans who are
there. So why we're short a couple thousand seats — three or four thousand
seats a game — I don't know the answer to that. And it is concerning. I hope
it's not an eroding fan base. I think that when we win, people are going to
definitely be more behind the team than when we lose."
Q: Do you see yourself as a hands-on owner in the NFL, along the lines of Jerry
Jones in Dallas?
A: "I think Jerry Jones does a great job. And I think a lot of the hands-on
owners really do a great job. I see myself being — and I should include my
sister (Lucia Rodriguez) in this, too,— I see us being a presence in the
community and a presence at games. And also being able to handle situations as
they come up.
"I see us really managing the team as owners. Not as football people. I see it
more of a thing where we're involved in major decisions, we're hiring the best
people possible for the job. . . . I actually think fans prefer owners who are
involved when necessary. Which is what I would be. (As opposed to) owners who
are always involved, even when not necessary. That's how I envision our role
this season and the seasons to come."
Q: What kind of presence will you and your sister, Lucia, have in St. Louis?
A: "I'm going to do the best I can. Even though I'm technically managing
partner, we do have my sister. We have Stan (Kroenke). We have a very
interesting year coming up because we have a lot of memories of my mom — a lot
of things that we have to do in honoring her and doing it right. We're still
discussing and talking through a lot of the specifics."