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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    By Michael Reilly
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

    Did St. Louis learn any lessons from losing the football Cardinals? It's hard not to wonder after seeing so many empty seats at the Rams' final two home games.

    When the Cardinals left after the 1987 season, St. Louis was rather proud of itself. Frank Deford praised our town in Sports Illustrated for sending such a loser packing. "Good riddance" was the attitude, and no wonder. As any football fan here can tell you, the Big Red never hosted a playoff game.

    But after a couple of years, reality set in. We had no NFL team. We missed it. And we paid exorbitantly to get the Rams after losing out to Carolina and Jacksonville in the expansion sweepstakes.

    Now only the Detroit Lions are keeping the Rams from being the worst team in the NFL, and some fans are telling Chip Rosenbloom to take his team elsewhere.


    There's plenty wrong with this picture, and with the idea that the Rams are the Big Red all over again. For starters, look at the obvious: The Rams won a Super Bowl. In 14 seasons here, the Rams have been to the playoffs five times and brought five playoff games to St. Louis.

    The rap on the Cardinals was that Bill Bidwill was too cheap to win. Say what you will about the Rams, but cheap they aren't. If they've squandered millions of dollars on players who didn't produce, at least they've tried. They sign their draft picks in a timely manner, they have few holdouts, and they try to fill their needs through free agency, if seldom wisely in recent years.

    It's one thing to withhold support from a team that doesn't care if it wins. It's another to turn your back on a team that has given this city more thrills than the Big Red ever did.

    Yes, the Rams are terrible. The front office has been incompetent. But it's still NFL football, and if you're a fan of the game, there's plenty of entertainment to be had. If St. Louis doesn't want the Rams, some other city would love to have them.

    Sure, the NFL probably is alone in expecting fans to show up no matter how bad a team is. It has the most popular product in U.S. sports, and that's the price of having a team. There's an arrogance about it and if you don't like it, fine, but that's the reality.

    Isaac Bruce had it right last Sunday when he expressed his disappointment at the empty seats in St. Louis and pointed out that the Kansas City Chiefs are awful, too, but their fans still turn out. In a smaller market and bigger stadium the Chiefs are averaging 14,000 fans more than the Rams despite having an identical record.

    The same goes for Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New York, Washington and lots of other places. They have had lousy teams at times, but their games aren't blacked out on local television.

    The Rams haven't been here very long, really, not the generations it took for the baseball Cardinals to become part of the fabric of St. Louis. And it will never happen if the 15,000 or so fans who used to come downtown keep staying away.

    It's a pity, because St. Louis has some of the best football fans around. To see 40,000 people yelling encouragement, pleading for their 2-12 team to make a stop on third down, is to see sports fans at their best. Or the most misguided. It all depends on your point of view.

    Just remember that if the NFL leaves again, it won't return. And St. Louis will go back to being what some NFL owners sneered when they voted us down for expansion just a baseball town.


  2. #2
    BrokenWing's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Boy I'm sure glad I live an hour away from St.Louis, otherwise I'd be one of the worst people to walk the earth apparently.

    Cleanly swept under the rug: Green Bay, Washington, Pittsburgh and New York all have one thing in common, a history of greatness in the same city over the course of decades.

    St.Louis doesn't have this, it doesn't have generations of families passing down season tickets and the like. These things take time to build. Sorry, but it doesn't happen over night.

    As for people not showing up? Well, it sucks, but it takes time to build to the point of that not occuring.

  3. #3
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Now only the Detroit Lions are keeping the Rams from being the worst team in the NFL, and some fans are telling Chip Rosenbloom to take his team elsewhere.
    That sounds like a bit of an exaggeration. At least in the forums, I haven't seen anyone really saying the Rams should leave town unless it's a fan in SoCal saying they want the Rams back.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Isaac Bruce had it right last Sunday when he expressed his disappointment at the empty seats in St. Louis and pointed out that the Kansas City Chiefs are awful, too, but their fans still turn out. In a smaller market and bigger stadium the Chiefs are averaging 14,000 fans more than the Rams despite having an identical record.

    The same goes for Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New York, Washington and lots of other places. They have had lousy teams at times, but their games aren't blacked out on local television.
    The KC analogy is valid, but I think the others are unfair. First of all, there are about 18 million people in the New York metropolitan area and a good 5 million around Washington, D.C. It's a lot easier to fill a stadium when you have that many people around.

    And these teams that have been "lousy at times"? The last time the Steelers had a losing season was six years ago. Pittsburgh and Green Bay each have had only 2 losing seasons in the last 10 years, and none of the four teams posted less than 4 wins in any given season in the last decade. We've now had consecutive losing seasons with less than 4 wins in 2007 and 2008.

    The bottom line is that you just can't expect people to consistently shell out large amounts of money if they don't think they're going to have a good time at the game. The team didn't look competitive in the first three games of the season, and around mid-season they were getting blown out in the first half of every game. Now maybe they were more competitive in the final games, but it's really hard to get people geared up to watch a team not lose quite as badly as before after they're already out of contention.

  4. #4
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    That sounds like a bit of an exaggeration. At least in the forums, I haven't seen anyone really saying the Rams should leave town unless it's a fan in SoCal saying they want the Rams back.


    The bottom line is that you just can't expect people to consistently shell out large amounts of money if they don't think they're going to have a good time at the game. The team didn't look competitive in the first three games of the season, and around mid-season they were getting blown out in the first half of every game. Now maybe they were more competitive in the final games, but it's really hard to get people geared up to watch a team not lose quite as badly as before after they're already out of contention.

    You are correct. However, this is exactly what happened in Anaheim. Putting a substandard product on the field led to the same empty seats we see now in St. Louis. Now, we see reports of the Rams possibly "opting out" of their dome lease in 2015 due to contract stipulations. Sound familiar? It should, since Frontiere opted out of her Anameim Stadium lease in a similar manner.

    Many St. Louis fans attacked Los Angeles area fans as "undeserving of the Rams due to their apathy." "If you wanted the team, you should have supported them."

    While I never heard anyone actually say that this would NEVER happen in St. Louis, many of the same fans made implications as such. Yet, here we are with an inferior team with no direction, armed with a contract that allows them to abandon their lease with the city if the dome is not in the "upper 25% of NFL venues." Meanwhile, newer stadiums are being built that continue to make that unlikely and, ultimately, impossible.

    I was a Rams season ticket holder in Anaheim until the end. I've sincemoved out of Southern California, but have remained a Rams fan. I've attended many games in St. Louis, including the NFC Championship against the Eagles. I've found the St. Louis fans to be very friendly.

    I think what the original poster of this thread is trying to point out is that the Rams could be on the move again, and they need your support to keep that from happening. I see too many parallels with their move from California to St. Louis. Personally, I see the Rams opting out of their lease and making demands for improved facilities in 2012. Who wouldn't? The opportunity to make millions overshadows loyalty or any tradition, as we have seen for many years in the NFL.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Great post, laramsfan73. The LA bashing is so popular and really misguided. When a franchise moves, it's always different when it's not LA.

  6. #6
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    In the same vain, the St. Louis Rams should not take their fans for granted. You can't keep putting out an inferior product and expect people to keep buying it. It's not cheap to go to a game or buy NFL licensed merchandise, so they should be sporting a more competitive product.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post
    In the same vain, the St. Louis Rams should not take their fans for granted. You can't keep putting out an inferior product and expect people to keep buying it. It's not cheap to go to a game or buy NFL licensed merchandise, so they should be sporting a more competitive product.
    This sounds familiar. It's the same family.

  8. #8
    Truth's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    The larger the market, the better the team must be. When you're in a market the size of LA or NY, there are so many other things for people to do for entertainment. If your team is not competitive, why would anyone want to shell out the $100 (at least) for 2 people to go to a game? Some markets can bear a bad team for awhile if they are "football towns". KC, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, GB are football towns. They might have teams from other majors sports, but the heartbeat of the town is their football team. While St Louis fans like their football, they LOVE their baseball more.

    Stay or go, the Rams need to improve the product on the field in order to energize their fan base. Like it or not, this does not bode well for Haslett. I don't think most fans would be excited and energized about next season with Haslett at the helm. Most fans would like to see a change. Brining in a coach like Cowher (Not going to happen. Can you say "DENVER"), or even Shannahan would probably excite the fan base.

    I hate to see any city lose its teams. It's always the fans that suffer, while the team just makes more money on a better stadium deal and the sale of tickets and merchandise to a new audience.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  9. #9
    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth View Post
    The larger the market, the better the team must be. When you're in a market the size of LA or NY, there are so many other things for people to do for entertainment. If your team is not competitive, why would anyone want to shell out the $100 (at least) for 2 people to go to a game? Some markets can bear a bad team for awhile if they are "football towns". KC, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, GB are football towns. They might have teams from other majors sports, but the heartbeat of the town is their football team. While St Louis fans like their football, they LOVE their baseball more.

    Stay or go, the Rams need to improve the product on the field in order to energize their fan base. Like it or not, this does not bode well for Haslett. I don't think most fans would be excited and energized about next season with Haslett at the helm. Most fans would like to see a change. Brining in a coach like Cowher (Not going to happen. Can you say "DENVER"), or even Shannahan would probably excite the fan base.

    I hate to see any city lose its teams. It's always the fans that suffer, while the team just makes more money on a better stadium deal and the sale of tickets and merchandise to a new audience.
    Excellent post Mr. Emet but I really don't see Cowher going to Denver at this point.

    WHAT SAY YE?

  10. #10
    SavageRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post
    In the same vain, the St. Louis Rams should not take their fans for granted. You can't keep putting out an inferior product and expect people to keep buying it. It's not cheap to go to a game or buy NFL licensed merchandise, so they should be sporting a more competitive product.
    You speak of the team as though it were a democracy. If the owner were given the option to relocate the team to a more "profitable" city, the players, coaches, staff, and most of all, the fans would have absolutely no say in that decision.

    The point of the story is is that St. Louis would have a much taller hill to climb in order to get a similar option to bring in yet another NFL team.

    And again, it's not as though the Rams haven't been trying to "sport a more competitive product."

    By Michael Reilly
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

    Say what you will about the Rams, but cheap they aren't. If they've squandered millions of dollars on players who didn't produce, at least they've tried. They sign their draft picks in a timely manner, they have few holdouts, and they try to fill their needs through free agency, if seldom wisely in recent years.
    I'm hopeful a more talented front office will soon turn things around.
    Last edited by SavageRam; -12-30-2008 at 11:03 PM.

  11. #11
    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by SavageRam View Post
    You speak of the team as though it were a democracy. If the owner were given the option to relocate the team to a more "profitable" city, the players, coaches, staff, and most of all, the fans would have absolutely no say in that decision.
    No, but the NFL does and I don't think they'd let the Rams just pick up and move- or any other team for that matter. There would have to be years and years of depreciating fanbase in order to move and although if they re-hire Haslett and it's business as usual, that could happen, but it will be years down the line.

    And again, it's not as though the Rams haven't been trying to "sport a more competitive product.
    The people in charge of quality control were apparently incapable of performing their jobs- so it's up to the owners to replace them. Not sure why it took 3 yrs for this team to realize the Scott Linehan experiment was a complete disaster, when many of us knew that after about 8 games.

  12. #12
    MoonJoe's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams fans better not take team for granted

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post


    The people in charge of quality control were apparently incapable of performing their jobs- so it's up to the owners to replace them. Not sure why it took 3 yrs for this team to realize the Scott Linehan experiment was a complete disaster, when many of us knew that after about 8 games.
    Good point Molach,

    Going past the size of the cities and the obvious placement of an inferior product and its relation to tickets sales, I would add that it is not entirely a problem with the product, but rather who is responsible for managing the product. Case in point, both Green Bay and Dallas had some pretty bad years for periods of time, but yet they were supported by their fan base. Why? It is my opinion that the fans realized that even though the teams were not that good, ownership was actually involved in trying to create a better team and were concerned as much as the fans themselves. Fully understanding that you can't be perfect, but in the pursuit of perfection you can be pretty darn good at times.

    Our management however, was not very football savvy, kept their residence in Beverly Hills and basically handed the franchise over to a lawyer and and an accountant to make football decisions. Even today, Lil Chip still lives here in California and will sponsor the coaching interviews here and not in St. Louis. What does that show the fans about their "home" team?

    I think what is happening is the city is realizing that the commitment of the Rams and their present owners as well as the dearly departed past owner, is mediocre at best. Why should they invest their time and money in something like that?
    "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

    Jack Youngblood

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