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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    For new owners, change is painful

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Sep. 30 2008

    Only four games into his first season as an NFL owner, Chip Rosenbloom had a
    sleepless Sunday night, pacing and worrying if he'd done the right thing in
    firing head coach Scott Linehan.

    "We made the decision that a good man had to lose his job today," Rosenbloom
    said in announcing the change Monday at Rams Park.

    Welcome to the NFL, Chip.

    You're not really an owner until you fire your first coach.

    Remember how 2008 was supposed to be a peaceful honeymoon season for Rosenbloom
    and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez? They wanted to use the season to honor their
    mother, the late Rams owner, Georgia Frontiere. They hoped to take their time
    and study the strengths and weaknesses of the Rams organization, easing their
    way into the NFL life.

    Well, it didn't quite work out that way.

    Cold-hearted people may not want to hear it, but brother and sister are still
    trying to pick themselves up emotionally after losing their mother. Chip and
    Lucia are still trying to settle their mother's estate taxes, and the bill will
    be steep. Rosenbloom and Rodriguez have watched the team get off to a shaky,
    startlingly bad 0-4 start. They've read the angry newspaper columns, demanding
    the firings and resignations. They know irate Rams fans have been howling for
    the new owners to take swift and immediate action to clean out the front office
    at Rams Park.

    Chip and his wife, Kathleen, recently went on a long-delayed vacation, just the
    two of them, a trip they had put off several times because of Frontiere's
    illness, death and the subsequent inheritance of the Rams and all of their
    problems. And even on foreign soil they couldn't avoid the daily tension, with
    Rosenbloom running up a phenomenally high international phone bill as he took
    calls and wrote e-mails while attempting to monitor the increasingly turbulent
    environment in St. Louis.

    Over the weekend when I spoke to him, Rosenbloom was in decent humor, as polite
    as always.

    "Whatever happened to that honeymoon season?" he asked with a laugh.

    Rosenbloom was feeling the pressure. He said something about not liking it when
    people try to back him into a corner, and how the tactic usually backfires,
    because his instinct is to dig in.

    Rosenbloom has a lot on his mind. Perhaps his most important priority is
    ensuring the Rams' future in St. Louis.

    "I hope our fans realize it," Rosenbloom told me, "but I'm their friend. And a
    good friend at that."

    Rosenbloom has set a policy concerning a potential sale of the Rams: Unless a
    buyer agrees to keep the team in St. Louis, he won't enter into negotiations.
    And yes, I believe Rosenbloom is sincere about that.

    Now that he's fired Linehan and installed Jim Haslett as head coach, Rosenbloom
    deserves time to develop a strategy for his next series of moves which
    include the search for a new team president who can help him rebuild the
    franchise.

    Firing Linehan was an incredibly difficult task for Rosenbloom. He's never had
    to operate in the public arena before. He didn't hire Linehan, but his mother
    did, and she asked that the coach be retained for a third season. So when
    Rosenbloom made the decision to remove Linehan, he stewed over a question that
    he really couldn't answer: Would his mother disapprove? Would she be angry at
    him?

    Rosenbloom stepped up and did what was best for the franchise. And now
    Rosenbloom is hearing that he must follow up by immediately firing team
    President John Shaw and general manager Jay Zygmunt.

    It won't go down that way, so hold your tantrums.

    New leadership at Rams Park is mandatory and long overdue.

    And it will happen, but only on Rosenbloom's terms.

    Shaw and Zygmunt are like family to Rosenbloom and Rodriguez. We can't relate
    to that. To us, Shaw and Zygmunt are the guys who lost their touch and are
    responsible for the painful decline of the franchise. But they have been a part
    of Frontiere's family for three decades. And Rosenbloom is sensitive to that.

    Change is going to come, and soon. It will be handled with dignity and respect.
    Shaw will retire, as he has been planning to do. Zygmunt will make a graceful,
    quiet departure. Zygmunt is dealing with health issues, and it would be cruel
    and humiliating to fire him now.

    But the transition is on track. Instead of working closely with Zygmunt, as
    Linehan did, it has been specified that Haslett is to deal directly with VP
    Billy Devaney on roster-personnel issues. And Zygmunt will be less visible at
    Rams Park from now on.

    Rosenbloom is setting a new course for the organization. He began the process
    Monday, with the coaching switch. So there's no need to continue backing
    Rosenbloom into that corner, the one that he resists. If he can fire his
    mother's final coach only four games into his first season as owner, the new
    owner can handle the rest.

    The changing of the guard will be subtle, not bloody.

    But it is under way.


  2. #2
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Change might be painful, but it can't be more painful than watching Linehan coach, so they're not getting much sympathy from me.

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Lucia are still trying to settle their mother's estate taxes, and the bill will
    be steep.
    $200 million at a minimum; probably closer to $250 million.
    "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
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Sep. 30 2008


    Change is going to come, and soon. It will be handled with dignity and respect.
    Shaw will retire, as he has been planning to do. Zygmunt will make a graceful,
    quiet departure. Zygmunt is dealing with health issues, and it would be cruel
    and humiliating to fire him now.

    But the transition is on track. Instead of working closely with Zygmunt, as
    Linehan did, it has been specified that Haslett is to deal directly with VP
    Billy Devaney on roster-personnel issues. And Zygmunt will be less visible at
    Rams Park from now on.

    Rosenbloom is setting a new course for the organization. He began the process
    Monday, with the coaching switch. So there's no need to continue backing
    Rosenbloom into that corner, the one that he resists. If he can fire his
    mother's final coach only four games into his first season as owner, the new
    owner can handle the rest.

    The changing of the guard will be subtle, not bloody.

    But it is under way.

    That is a very classy apporach.
    Last edited by eldfan; -09-30-2008 at 09:58 AM.
    :ramlogo:

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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Rosenbloom has set a policy concerning a potential sale of the Rams: Unless a
    buyer agrees to keep the team in St. Louis, he won't enter into negotiations.
    And yes, I believe Rosenbloom is sincere about that.
    I'm certain the LA Rams fans (note: I'm not talking about Rams fans who happen to call LA or SoCal home; I'm talking about the literal "LA Rams" fans that refuse to even recognize the existence of the St. Louis Rams) will write this off as an owner's cheap talk, but for those of us who are actually fond of the notion of the Rams having a lasting home in St. Louis, this is great news.
    "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

  6. #6
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    good news. I actually believe him. *knock on wood*

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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Good job so far Chip! Personally, I have no problem waiting until the end of the season for Shaw and Zygmunt to go. As long as they go

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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I'm certain the LA Rams fans (note: I'm not talking about Rams fans who happen to call LA or SoCal home; I'm talking about the literal "LA Rams" fans that refuse to even recognize the existence of the St. Louis Rams) will write this off as an owner's cheap talk, but for those of us who are actually fond of the notion of the Rams having a lasting home in St. Louis, this is great news.
    Too funny Hub! Thanks for clarifying that the fact that some of us LA based fans have chosen to deal with reality and have moved on to the fact that the Rams home is now in St. Louis.

    That being so stated, my question is this: Can Chip really make the sale of the team contingent on them staying in St. Louis? If I had that kind of money to drop on a team, with the intention of earning maximum return, which may include moving them, I wouldn't sign that deal. Also, who would enforce that? Worst case scenario that I see is a breach of contract lawsuit.

    Of course unless the NFL gets involved, and could make things different. But we have seen how successful they have been in keeping teams from moving...

    Just thinking out loud and online.
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

    Jack Youngblood

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    supachump is offline Registered User
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    I hope the team stays in St. Louis, and for some reason I believe Chip's intention. However, some of those LA Ram fans will disregard that comment and instead focus on rumors and 3rd hand information. It's called denial.

    I'm glad Linehan is out. I can only hope they find a very good coach to replace. Not promoting a coordinator of some sort. but actually hire a previously successful head coach. Also, I can handle Ziggy leaving at the end of the year. As long as he is out of the way for the new coach.

  10. #10
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJoe
    If I had that kind of money to drop on a team, with the intention of earning maximum return, which may include moving them, I wouldn't sign that deal.
    But, of course, under those circumstances, Rosenbloom wouldn't be negotiating with you in the first place.

    I'm no lawyer, but if Chip holds to his comment, then a transaction was followed by a move, would have to mean the new owner lied during negotiations (told Chip the team would stay). I believe that fraud would void most contracts. But hey, I'm no lawyer.
    "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

  11. #11
    MoonJoe's Avatar
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    But, of course, under those circumstances, Rosenbloom wouldn't be negotiating with you in the first place.

    I'm no lawyer, but if Chip holds to his comment, then a transaction was followed by a move, would have to mean the new owner lied during negotiations (told Chip the team would stay). I believe that fraud would void most contracts. But hey, I'm no lawyer.

    Once you sell something, you lose control of it. I don't even think a person who wants to keep the team in St. Louis would give away 850 million dollars and not keep complete control of the team. It's a bad business decision and two, I really don't think it has any legal strength. Remember money has to switch hands. If Chip sells the team, it is because he doesn't want it anymore or he has to to pay taxes. Regardless of the reason, the money would then go to him and the IRS. After that, if an owner were to move the team then he would have to sue them and pay back the money to get the team back. Or in other words it would sit in court for years and cost both sides a ton of legal fees. Something I don't think either side would do.

    I would be willing to bet, the only contingency he could keep in the contract is the team must honor the contract with the ED, but other than that he really has no leverage.
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

    Jack Youngblood

  12. #12
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJoe View Post
    Once you sell something, you lose control of it. I don't even think a person who wants to keep the team in St. Louis would give away 850 million dollars and not keep complete control of the team. It's a bad business decision and two, I really don't think it has any legal strength. Remember money has to switch hands. If Chip sells the team, it is because he doesn't want it anymore or he has to to pay taxes. Regardless of the reason, the money would then go to him and the IRS. After that, if an owner were to move the team then he would have to sue them and pay back the money to get the team back. Or in other words it would sit in court for years and cost both sides a ton of legal fees. Something I don't think either side would do.

    I would be willing to bet, the only contingency he could keep in the contract is the team must honor the contract with the ED, but other than that he really has no leverage.
    It wouldn't take $850 million as Chip/Lucia only own 60%. But beyond that, two parties can agree to pretty much anything they want to on a contract. If I'm Chip, and I don't want the team to move, then I put a clause in the sales contract stating if the team moves within the next "X" number of years, the new owner must pay Chip "Y" dollars. Then it's just a matter of negotiating the X and Y. I make the X and Y so large that any buyer wishing to move is disinterested, and any buyer wishing to stay in St. Louis sees it as a nonfactor.

    That's how Chip sells the team and asserts his interest in keeping the team in St. Louis. See......it wasn't that hard after all.
    It's a bad business decision
    Again.....only to a buyer wanting to move the team; who Chip won't invite to the table anyway.
    "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: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    It wouldn't take $850 million as Chip/Lucia only own 60%. But beyond that, two parties can agree to pretty much anything they want to on a contract. If I'm Chip, and I don't want the team to move, then I put a clause in the sales contract stating if the team moves within the next "X" number of years, the new owner must pay Chip "Y" dollars. Then it's just a matter of negotiating the X and Y. I make the X and Y so large that any buyer wishing to move is disinterested, and any buyer wishing to stay in St. Louis sees it as a nonfactor.

    That's how Chip sells the team and asserts his interest in keeping the team in St. Louis. See......it wasn't that hard after all. Again.....only to a buyer wanting to move the team; who Chip won't invite to the table anyway.

    Then we are in agreement, a move can be negotiated for the right amount. My point being is that yes, he doesn't want the team to move, but faced between a pinch of only prospective buyers that want to move and the impending tax liability, he may still consider it. What he wants and what is marketable, may be two different things.
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

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    Re: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJoe View Post
    Then we are in agreement, a move can be negotiated for the right amount. My point being is that yes, he doesn't want the team to move, but faced between a pinch of only prospective buyers that want to move and the impending tax liability, he may still consider it. What he wants and what is marketable, may be two different things.
    But "right price" has to assume there is a crossroads of Chip's desire to have the team in St. Louis and the owners desire to part with cash to move it. In my scenario, the X and Y are so large that no owner desirous of a move is willing to sign off on the deal. The X and Y are so large that ONLY owners wishing to stay in St. Louis become serious buyers.

    Now, I suppose there is the off chance that Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or the Sultan of Doobedobedo are willing to sign off on a deal regardless of the X and Y, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    As to the pinch.........First, I don't think prospective buyers will be limited to "movers" only. When this boils down, I'm sure there is at least one serious buyer with an equal desire to stay. Second, this nation is filled with men and women whose whole reason for being is to help extremely wealthy people work around the top layers of the tax code. Technically, Chip and Lucia don't owe a dime of tax. That liability falls upon the estate. So it simply becomes a matter of fungible assets, and to whether those exist, I do not know. However, without knowing the nuances of any equity agreements, it would appear to me that Chip/Lucia could sell off a 19% ownership and still have a controlling interest of 41% (compared to Kroenke's 40%). Or at least a 9% transaction to maintain a majority interest at 51%. That would raise some or most of the tax funds needed while maintaining ownership.
    "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: For new owners, change is painful

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    But "right price" has to assume there is a crossroads of Chip's desire to have the team in St. Louis and the owners desire to part with cash to move it. In my scenario, the X and Y are so large that no owner desirous of a move is willing to sign off on the deal. The X and Y are so large that ONLY owners wishing to stay in St. Louis become serious buyers.

    Now, I suppose there is the off chance that Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or the Sultan of Doobedobedo are willing to sign off on a deal regardless of the X and Y, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    As to the pinch.........First, I don't think prospective buyers will be limited to "movers" only. When this boils down, I'm sure there is at least one serious buyer with an equal desire to stay. Second, this nation is filled with men and women whose whole reason for being is to help extremely wealthy people work around the top layers of the tax code. Technically, Chip and Lucia don't owe a dime of tax. That liability falls upon the estate. So it simply becomes a matter of fungible assets, and to whether those exist, I do not know. However, without knowing the nuances of any equity agreements, it would appear to me that Chip/Lucia could sell off a 19% ownership and still have a controlling interest of 41% (compared to Kroenke's 40%). Or at least a 9% transaction to maintain a majority interest at 51%. That would raise some or most of the tax funds needed while maintaining ownership.
    Correct, both of our "scenarios" are merely speculative at this point. I am not sure that the prospective buyers couldn't come from that St. Louis either. I have been surprised by many things in my 43 years, including Jim Haslett as our head coach, but I digress.

    Anything could happen and just because Chip says he doesn't want the team to move, doesn't mean they won't. For those fans in St. Louis and those that want them to stay there, it is certainly good news that he is taking that stance, and for them, I am happy. Believe me I wouldn't wish a team being ripped out of a fan's hands at all. I was there in Anaheim that last day when we played the Redskins and it was not good. My only role in playing devil's advocate is to let everyone know that it is still possible they could relocate, and that one should prepare oneself for that just in case.

    That and I always take a little pride in how well my town did support the team in the early days of our history. I take no shame in that.

    That being so stated, I will be in DC in two weeks to continue supporting the team that I fell in love with at the age of seven and will always be a fan of!

    GO RAMS GO!!

    Joe
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

    Jack Youngblood

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