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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Sunday, Dec. 24 2006

    For the first time since moving to St. Louis from SoCal in 1995, the Rams are
    blacked out in the regular season and won't be seen on local TV. For those at
    home staring at the flat screen, this means no Rams vs. Redskins, no Alex
    Barron vs. the snap count. And those contests aren't nearly as compelling as,
    say, Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell.

    This disappearance from the airwaves, while annoying, isn't exactly a crisis.
    There's no reason to roast your chestnuts over this. I received serious e-mails
    this week from anxious souls, inquiring about the status of the Rams' lease at
    the Edward Jones Dome, or to ask if team President John Shaw is scheming to
    load up the vans for a move from Earth City back to Century City.

    Please, stop it. This is the Rams' 12th season in St. Louis, and they've had
    only four winning seasons, but have sold out 100 consecutive home games
    (regular season and playoffs) until now.

    The Blues? Now there's an attendance problem. The Rams do not have an
    attendance problem. Falling 3,000 seats short of a sellout in a Christmas Eve
    game pitting teams with a combined 11-17 record does not represent the death
    spiral of a franchise.

    What the Rams do have going is a run of on-field mediocrity and front-office
    dysfunction, two negative forces that have softened the support.

    The Rams aren't a horrible team, and compared with lost NFL colonies in
    Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland and Houston, this dry spell is relatively harmless.
    The offense has a Pro Bowl quarterback (Bulger), Pro Bowl running back
    (Jackson) and Pro Bowl receiver (Holt), so there's hope.

    Still, since losing to New England in the Super Bowl to end the 2001 season
    with a crash, the Rams have filed one winning record, are 39-39 in the regular
    season, and have lost two of three postseason games. And since their last
    winning campaign, in 2003, the Rams are 20-26.

    It's been a slow, gradual comedown from the Greatest Show on Turf years. We
    were thrilled by the entertainment, the big stars, and the constant beatdowns
    the Rams gave their opponents. From 1999 through 2003, the Rams went 56-24 in
    the regular season, hosted five postseason games, won five postseason games,
    triumphed in a Super Bowl, competed in a second Super Bowl, and averaged an
    astounding 30 points a game over five seasons.

    So when you follow up that legendary, scintillating act with 20-26, and
    averaging 20 points a game (as the Rams are this season), the difference is
    roughly that between Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra Jr. And given the
    frustrating realization that this slide could have been prevented with
    competent drafting and intelligent free-agent decisions, is anyone shocked that
    the fans' enthusiasm has flattened a bit?

    While it's fair to say that Rams fans were spoiled by the Greatest Show Era,
    it's unfair to categorize the dip in the market as some sort of abandonment of
    the franchise.

    Other factors are at play:

    Fans were turned off by the nasty and embarrassing Mike Martz vs. Management
    feud in 2005. Martz is long gone, but some of the same problems remain, and the
    organization desperately needs a shrewd football man to have the authority over
    personnel decisions. This ad hoc committee approach must end, because fans are
    disillusioned by bad draft picks and questionable free-agent moves.

    Let's talk personality. The new head coach, Scott Linehan, is a smart guy, and
    he'll likely develop into a good HC. But Linehan's dry-toast persona hardly
    drives ticket sales. He doesn't generate any buzz over the team. There's
    nothing wrong with being low-key as long as the coach wins, and Linehan is
    still trying to get there.

    It must be demoralizing for fans to watch the Rams defense get trampled, a
    weakness that has been dragging down this team for too long. Over the last 50
    games, which includes three postseason contests, the Rams have been squashed
    for 7,050 yards rushing and 50 rushing TDs. Is this football or ballet? When
    will someone at Rams Park realize that a defense needs strong, mean, corpulent
    guys to stuff the run?

    The atmosphere for home games at The Ed is dull and stagnating. The Rams have
    been in this shop for 12 years, and they still don't know how to connect with
    the fans, get them fired up, and create a true thunderdome. And there's nothing
    uniquely St. Louis about the home-game personality; it's a generic experience.
    We mostly get bad 1980s music and a numbing bombardment of commercials and
    public-service announcements.

    Finally, there's a little baseball team in town called the Cardinals, and they
    just won their 10th World Series. And in 89 home games this season (postseason
    included), the Cardinals drew 3,779,494 customers to the new Busch Stadium
    and at premium prices and with fans scooping up pricey souvenirs and
    ordering special DVD sets to give as Christmas presents.

    The Cardinals claimed a lot of discretionary income in our town, and the sports
    dollar is stretched thin. But that's secondary. The Rams have leveled off in
    the quality of their operation and performance. Accordingly, they've lost some
    fans. It's up to the Rams to get them back.

  2. #2
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected

    we need to give Bernie some credit on this one, he makes a lot of sense and hopefully the fans will come back,the product on the field is still a good one that just needs a few repairs.

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    we need to give Bernie some credit on this one, he makes a lot of sense and hopefully the fans will come back,the product on the field is still a good one that just needs a few repairs.
    jk, I agree. I'm quick to jump on Bernie when he looks stupid (which means my jumping skills are surpassed by only frogs and fleas), but in this case I have to hand it to Bernie. Granted, he stated the obvious, but on this topic it appears the obvious is exactly what some need to hear.
    "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

  4. #4
    Bar-bq's Avatar
    Bar-bq is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected

    That was bernie?

    Somebody- pinch me.
    Cold water, clip to the head, it doesn't matter. that's unbeievable. The man speaks the truth.

    It's a christmas miracle.

    Maybe he's drunk on eggnog.

  5. #5
    BigGameMN Guest

    Re: Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected

    Wow that was a good article. I'll give props when there due.

  6. #6
    ImJohnWayne is offline Awaiting Email Conformation
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    Re: Lack of support for the Rams is probably to be expected

    Watching your team get gashed up the middle by every team in the league week in and week out IS hard to watch. Demoralizing? Yes. Frustrating? Oh God Yes!


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