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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams find Dome of silence to be a disquieting feeling

    By Jim Thomas

    The Edward Jones Dome had the look and feel of 1998 in the early going Sunday against New Orleans. And for team management, and those who remember the Dark Ages of "St. Louis" Rams football, it wasn't a pleasant flashback.

    There were plenty of empty seats. And those in attendance were quiet. It's usually a late-arriving crowd at the dome anyway. But by the time the first series or two of the game has taken place, the place is full.

    Not this time. Many of the seats stayed empty as the game progressed against the Saints.

    "Oh yeah, we definitely noticed it," defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy said. "But most of us figure it's because the Cardinals lost."

    The baseball Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason earlier in the week by the Houston Astros.

    "You guys seem to be a baseball place right now," Kennedy said. "So the Cardinals lost, and I guess the fans aren't rooting for us right now."

    So the fans were depressed by the Cardinals' elimination?

    "That's the way I look at it," Kennedy said. "I'm from New York. We root for the Yankees. We root for the Mets. We root for everybody. New York fans are different. I would never expect our stadium to be quiet like it was.

    "For our fans to turn their backs on us as early as it is in the season, it kind of bothered me."

    The Rams entered the New Orleans game with a 2-4 record and a three-game losing streak. Their defense had yielded 126 points during those three defeats - a franchise high for any three-game stretch.

    So the Rams hardly merited a ticker-tape reception as they ran out of the tunnel Sunday.

    "You acknowledge it because it's pretty much our fault in some ways," linebacker Chris Claiborne said. "We didn't win the games that we needed to win. And you've got to win at home to build that. We're just trying to get back to doing that."

    Nonetheless, players were surprised to see the atmosphere - or lack thereof - at a place where the team has gone 45-11 since the start of the 1999 season.

    "I was out there saying, 'What's going on?' " Kennedy said. "Half the stadium was empty in the beginning of the first quarter."

    Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said: "We came out, and it was real flat. It's the way we've been playing, so they didn't have anything to be excited about. But definitely, you don't feel good when you come out and there's no crowd, noise, anything. You feel like you're playing an away game."

    Eventually the crowd got into, but Pickett said in the early going Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks could be heard loud and clear making checks and calling the cadence at the line of scrimmage.

    "You could hear everything," Pickett said. "The receivers could hear him, everybody, at the beginning of the game. But as the game went on, he had trouble. And that's when we were more successful at the end, when the crowd picked up. So we just need them the whole time."

    Sunday's scene was eerily reminiscent of '98, because the team averaged several thousand no-shows a game that season. At the time, the Rams were in the midst of their fourth straight losing season in St. Louis and were "battling" it out with Cincinnati for the dubious distinction of being the NFL's losingest team in the 1990s.

    To avoid television blackouts in the final three home games that season, club owners Georgia Frontiere and Stan Kroenke agreed to buy any remaining unsold tickets. That's the closest the franchise's home sellout streak, which is at 88 regular-season and postseason games, has come to being broken.

    Against the Saints, when he scored the first of his two touchdowns, second-year running back Steven Jackson wasn't aware of what transpired in 1998. But he was aware of the quiet.

    So instead of his usual TD celebration - Rolling the Dice - where he rolls the football on the turf like he's shooting craps, Jackson did a St. Louis version of the Lambeau Leap. He climbed into the stands to greet fans.

    "Rolling the Dice is not over with," Jackson said. "At the time, we were down 14-0, and the crowd was getting out of it. We were at home. We needed (the fans) as the 12th man. So it was a way to get the crowd back into it."

    Jackson said he didn't know the fans he greeted in the stands.

    "They offered me some beer, though," Jackson said, laughing.

    So what did he tell them?

    "Not right now," Jackson said.

    Jackson said he could understand why the crowd was so quiet at the start. "They're just disappointed like we are," he said.

    The Rams rallied from that deficit for a 28-17 victory. This Sunday, the playoff-contending Jacksonville Jaguars visit the dome. Pickett respectfully offers this advice to Rams fans attending the game: "Show up on time and be ready to go. We need you all."

  2. #2
    dgr828's Avatar
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    Re: Rams find Dome of silence to be a disquieting feeling

    The Rams Need To Just Focus On Football.
    Don't Worry About The Crowds.
    A Queit Dome Make For Better Concentration.
    Play Good Ram Football, And They Will Come...

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams find Dome of silence to be a disquieting feeling

    I've never understood how the same fans that tear the walls of Busch down every night from April-October can be so freakin' dead on Sundays at the Ed.
    "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
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Rams find Dome of silence to be a disquieting feeling

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    I've never understood how the same fans that tear the walls of Busch down every night from April-October can be so freakin' dead on Sundays at the Ed.
    I can. The Cardinals are good every year.

  5. #5
    GSOT Guest

    Re: Rams find Dome of silence to be a disquieting feeling

    Were you guys even there? I WAS. There was no pre game hype as in intros sound or light effects. There was no annoucning each player by name non of that. Yes this was the first time the dome was quiet for a quarter in a half in a long time snice 98. Look at the circumstances we were missing our 4 best players period. BTW the fans got very load after jackson scored to make it 7-14.


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