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  1. #1
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    Arrow Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park
    By Bernie Miklasz
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Sep. 17 2005

    This week Rams coach Mike Martz was asked about coping with the extreme heat
    his team will encounter in Arizona while playing the Cardinals in the sauna
    known as Sun Devil Stadium.

    Game-time temperatures might reach 100 degrees, but that's a summer breeze to
    Martz when compared to the heat surrounding his team in St. Louis. If the Rams
    lose to the Cardinals, Martz will return to an inferno. After the stumble in
    the opener at San Francisco, the Rams already are locked into early-season
    crisis mode.

    The defeat in San Francisco prompted hysterical, hateful reactions on St. Louis
    talk-radio shows and Internet boards. And if there's a subsequent loss to the
    Cardinals, Bill Bidwill and Kurt Warner, we may see angry, torch-carrying mobs
    of fans form under Martz's office window at Rams Park.

    OK, probably not ... but an 0-2 start will cause Martz's approval rating to
    plummet again.

    The controversial Martz can deal with external pressure, which is normal for
    him or any other NFL head coach. But Martz has been far more rattled by foes
    inside the building. The enemies within usually cause more hurt, more damage,
    with their betrayal. It's always more demoralizing when the people who are paid
    to work with you instead work against you, and that's what has happened to
    Martz. With so much turmoil around him, it's a wonder Martz can concentrate on
    coaching.

    The tension at Rams Park finally bubbled over, leading to an intervention by
    team president John Shaw, who threatens to fire any team executive attempting
    to undercut Martz.

    "I've talked to everyone in our front office, and they've been warned," Shaw
    said. "They'd better do everything they can to help our coach win. And if they
    don't support our coach, then they're not going to be here. It's a simple
    message. And they'd better get it, or they'll be gone."

    Shaw wasn't finished.

    "I have personally delivered that message to each and every one of them," he
    said. "They'd better make the commitment to support Mike 100 percent, because
    that's our mission. That's what our owners do. We're fully behind Mike. And I'm
    not going to accept anything less from any of them."

    And with Shaw in his corner, Martz has some heavyweight reinforcement in the
    skirmish with those who ganged up on him.

    The flashpoint occurred when Rams director of football administration Samir
    Suleiman called a Post-Dispatch columnist to leave a threatening message in
    response to a column that called for Rams executives to back the Rams coach
    instead of back-stabbing him.

    Suleiman's bizarre voice mail set off alarm bells, because he's closely aligned
    with Jay Zygmunt, the team's president of football operations who feuds with
    Martz.

    The pro-Martz and anti-Martz factions agree on at least one thing: The friction
    and infighting began with the rift between Martz and Zygmunt.

    The deterioration of the relationship is stunning and sad to mutual friends who
    fondly remember happier days, when Martz and Zygmunt were close and loyal.

    In the hallways at Rams Park, it has been suggested that Zygmunt never forgave
    Martz for losing the Super Bowl to the underdog New England Patriots at the end
    of the 2001 season. (Shaw, for one, doesn't buy into that theory).

    Others in the organization say Zygmunt has tried to erode Martz's authority
    over football personnel, and has vetoed some of the coach's roster and
    free-agency decisions. More recently, Martz's desire to set up a new player
    personnel department, headed by an ally, was scuttled by Zygmunt - who in turn
    sought to interview his own candidates for the job.

    Zygmunt has become increasingly aggressive in player personnel matters, which
    grates on the football people. Though Zygmunt has done a brilliant job of
    managing the team's salary cap, he doesn't have a football background. Rams
    insiders sympathetic to Zygmunt say Zygmunt asserted himself because Martz gets
    too distracted from coaching when trying to oversee so many areas.

    With the shattering of the Zygmunt-Martz alliance, others in the organization
    sensed Martz's vulnerability and grew bolder in their sniping inside the
    building. Because Shaw spends so much time in Los Angeles, he isn't always
    around to protect Martz or settle petty arguments before they expand into major
    blow-ups.

    As I wrote recently, it's an open secret at Rams Park that Martz has taken hits
    from the negative information leaked by Rams officials about him to national
    football reporters.

    And Martz was deeply hurt by this story making the rounds at Rams Park: One
    Rams executive started an office pool, with employees able to predict the date
    for Martz's dismissal. (The executive in question insists it never happened).

    If you're wondering why the Rams hired St. Louis sports radio personality John
    Hadley as a special assistant to Martz, it's simple: to give Martz an ally to
    watch his back at Rams Park, so Martz can focus on coaching.

    Shaw, who genuinely likes both men, has so far been unsuccessful in his
    attempts to broker peace between Zygmunt and Martz.

    In time, Shaw may be forced to choose between them, or it's possible that both
    could leave. Zygmunt is working without a contract, and sources say Shaw
    declined Martz's offseason request for a contract extension.

    For now, Shaw is clamping down on other team officials. Shaw has told general
    manager Charley Armey, executive vice president Bob Wallace and Suleiman that
    they'd better get behind Martz - or else.

    For now, Martz draws strength from the loyalty of his players and assistant
    coaches. "I love this team," Martz said.

    If Rams players truly care about Martz, this is a good time to rally around
    him. The temperature is rising at Rams Park.



  2. #2
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    You know, Bernie's been trying to build this story since early last Spring. When it cooled off, he stoked the fire with the "backstabbing" comment, which prompted Suleiman's absurd reaction.

    But, in all of this... where is the evidence that any of this infighting has impacted the team in a significant way?

    The team signed several free agents it targeted, locked up Pace long term, and drafted several players who look like they will help the team in the long run.

    If things are as bad as Bernie claims, the solution is simple. Fire Zygmunt. Mike Martz is, and will be for a while, the Rams head coach.

    This whole thing is getting tiresome.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -09-18-2005 at 12:16 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Agreed It Is Getting Tiresome.

  4. #4
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    This part of the article is particularly amusing, by the way:

    The flashpoint occurred when Rams director of football administration Samir
    Suleiman called a Post-Dispatch columnist to leave a threatening message in
    response to a column that called for Rams executives to back the Rams coach
    instead of back-stabbing him.
    So... now Bernie's referring to himself in the third person?

    What's next?

    "Bernie likes his chicken spicy!!!"

    I also like this part:

    sources say Shaw
    declined Martz's offseason request for a contract extension.
    So, who are these "sources"? Are they among the group of people trying to undercut Martz? You would think that, given that Bernie apparently interviewed Shaw for this article, he could ask Shaw himself if the "sources" have the story right.

    I guess Bernie just forgot to ask that question.

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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Football is suppose to be fun and not a Political battlefield.
    I want the Coach,Players,and the Organization to be my heros like they were when I was a kid.Information like this is alot more than I want to hear.
    It distracts me from what I love and thats

    RAM FOOTBALL.
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

  6. #6
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    This is TEAM PRESIDENT JOHN SHAW trying to get everyone on the same page and behind Martz.

    He wouldn't dignify the comments or try to rectify something that was not happening. I think he's trying to hold everything together there at Rams Park. Only a crazy person would address everyone in the ORGanization about something they did NOT believe was happening.

    You think the Ram's aren't in trouble.... It's Philly 28-0 over SanFran early in the 2nd quarter. The Eagles first pass was a 68 yard bomb TD to Terrell Owens.

    .
    Last edited by Tony Soprano; -09-18-2005 at 02:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Av, why the obsession with Bernie?? Enough already. Get a hobby...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    SJax, a developing quarterbacks best friend...

  8. #8
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRamFan
    Av, why the obsession with Bernie?? Enough already. Get a hobby...
    Obsession? Um... no.

    I just see through his nonsense, and I'm trying to show a different perspective.

    Don't like it? Don't read my posts. Simple solution.

    I won't even tell you that you need to get an alternate hobby.

  9. #9
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Whether you like Martz, or hate Martz, the fact is that he is the head coach THIS season. Since this is the case, he deserves the support of the administrative staff within the organization.

    The fans opinion of the head coach is solely geared to his ability to win. IF he is unable to better last years mark, the situation might take care of itself.

    I, for one, have never been completely sold on his ability to be a head coach. However, if he brings us another championship, he's OK by me.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  10. #10
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by psycho9985
    Football is suppose to be fun and not a Political battlefield.
    I want the Coach,Players,and the Organization to be my heros like they were when I was a kid.Information like this is alot more than I want to hear.
    It distracts me from what I love and thats

    RAM FOOTBALL.

    I hear you Psycho. Unfortunately, football isn't the same as it was when we were kids. It's much more of a "business" now, with all the corporate politics that go along with that. Sad really.:sad:
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  11. #11
    Mr.Blond Guest

    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    What I think is hilarious is this:
    This article was written BEFORE the game against the cardinals. Martz as a coach, WHAT COULD HE HAVE DONE TO invoke a threatening response like the one from Samir Suleiman? It's one game into the season, I think he's jealous, and is one more problem we don't need in our organization. I say fire Suleiman, Zygmunt and the rest. Mike Martz is a proven smart football coach, Zygmunt is a glorified accountant. I think Suleiman is a lonely depressed psycho path in need of the hooker he met in San Fran. Fire Suleiman first then expose him as a backstabber. Then fire Zygmunt Freud.

    Avenger Ram says: When it cooled off, he stoked the fire with the "backstabbing" comment, which prompted Suleiman's absurd reaction.

    I beleive your're wrong on this one. Suleiman called Bernie and left a phone message threatening Martz that "You and Mike and everyone will find out I'm not a backstabber, I'm a friggin throat slasher!". To me, the guy sounds dangerous and should buy me some Rams memoribilia or something. :angryram:
    Last edited by Mr.Blond; -09-19-2005 at 02:38 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Why don't we blame Bernie for our coverage issues?

  13. #13
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    Again, while Samir's comment was wrong, there is no doubt that Bernie baited him (and others). Here's what he wrote on 8/28:

    John Shaw, Jay Zygmunt, Charley Armey, Bob Wallace and Samir Suleiman work for the Rams, and their job is to do everything possible to help this organization win. Be it Martz or another man, I don't care who sits in the head coach's office at Rams Park. The head coach should be backed, not back-stabbed, by associates.

  14. #14
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    In our society, back-stabber is a common term that isn't considered physically threatening but throat slasher is. That's it, that's the meat of this whole scenario and at least Shaw knows that.

  15. #15
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    Re: Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park

    It amazes me how often I'm misquoted or misconstued on this topic.

    I'll make my last comment on the subject a few lines from a song by Aimee Mann that my feelings perfectly:

    I suppose I should be happy to be be misread
    Better to be that than some of the other things
    I have become

    For nobody wants to hear this tale
    The plot is cliche, the jokes are stale
    And maybe we've all, heard it all before


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