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  • Rosenbloom: Rams headed right direction ..

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/18/2009

    I'd like to begin by revisiting Saturday's column and cleaning up an error. Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers informed me that he did not watch last Sunday's Vikings-Rams game from Billy Devaney's box at The Edward Jones Dome, as I had reported.

    It is true that Devaney extended an invitation to Simers to watch from his family's box, and it is true that Simers chatted with Devaney and Rams consultant John Shaw before the game. But Simers watched the Vikings-Rams from a seat in the press box. I apologize to Simers, Devaney and the readers for getting it wrong.

    That said, Devaney didn't score any points with his bosses by inviting Simers to watch from a team suite. And the quote that Simers solicited from a Rams "official" didn't play well at Rams Park or in Los Angeles at the home of Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom.

    Here's the quote, in case you missed it:
    "Five years from now, we might be back in LA. Just imagine that."

    The quote upset Rosenbloom, because he believes it undermines the team's efforts in St. Louis. I spoke with Rosenbloom on Saturday and he was perturbed by the tone of my Saturday column. Rosenbloom doesn't disagree with my premise that the Rams have to do a better job of being accessible and open in communicating with the fans through the media.

    But Rosenbloom is bothered by my suggestion that St. Louis isn't a priority for the team's owners, and he wanted to clear the air. And that's healthy, because I think the fans need to hear more from Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez.

    "We're entirely committed to building a winning team and a successful organization," Rosenbloom said. "Doing better what's right for the fans of St. Louis has been our priority since we took over following the death of our mother.

    "And we've been making that effort to reshape everything. We listened to the fans and agreed when they told us the franchise needed new leadership. So we changed the operation and put in new leadership in, including Billy as the GM. And Kevin Demoff (as the chief operating officer). A lot of people didn't think we could attract Steve Spagnuolo to our coaching job, and we did. That was the start, but it's a process."

    Rosenbloom said that if his priority was to save money, take the cheaper way out, and use the Rams as a cash machine, he wouldn't have made major changes after last season. He estimates that hiring a new coaching staff and executives and paying off the guaranteed contracts of dismissed coaches required an investment of around $8 million.

    Rosenbloom said salary-cap issues are a hindrance because the Rams are carrying so much "dead" money — salaries of long-gone players that still count against the cap. He said the problem isn't a matter of the organization failing to spend enough money on players, but rather spending too much money on players who haven't come through.

    "Our desire isn't the issue," Rosenbloom said. "It's been our judgment."

    Rosenbloom also said he was proud of the organization's increasing level of philanthropy in the St. Louis community. And for whatever it's worth, he pointed out that the Rams have held the line on ticket prices for the last two seasons. He said it was a gesture of appreciation to the fans who support the team during tough times.

    The Rams, 0-5 this season, have lost 15 consecutive games. Going into Sunday's game at Jacksonville, the Rams haven't won in the regular season since Oct. 19, 2008.

    "Losing stinks," Rosenbloom said. "It hurts. Being 0-5 is upsetting. We're not happy with it. But I really believe in Steve. And as silly as it may sound to some people, we are going in the right direction. It may not look like it because of our record, and I understand that. But we're making progress.

    "We have roster issues, and this is not going to be repaired overnight. This is a building phase. We had several seasons of poor drafts, and we're paying for it. It's difficult to endure this, but we're going to come out much better for it."

    The Rams are for sale, with as many as six bidders in play for the franchise. Rosenbloom, wanting to respect the confidentiality of potential buyers, declined to comment on specifics.

    But he did reiterate two points: (1) Rosenbloom and Rodriguez do not have to sell, and do not feel any pressure to sell. They are content to hold onto the team until the right buyer and deal come along. (2) If they do sell, their preference is to find a buyer who is committed to keeping the franchise in St. Louis.

    "I've said it all along," Rosenbloom said. "We want to do what's right for St. Louis. That hasn't changed."

  • #2
    Re: Rosenbloom: Rams headed right direction ..

    Bernie with egg on his face... again.

    At least he's consistent.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rosenbloom: Rams headed right direction ..

      Shortly after Georgia passed away, it was speculated that they would have to sell the team in order to pay the impending estate taxes. They are now saying that they don't feel any pressure to sell the team. Has something changed? How is it that they don't have that issue any more?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rosenbloom: Rams headed right direction ..

        Originally posted by avengerram View Post
        bernie with egg on his face... Again.

        At least he's consistent.
        or something else is all over his face... Hmmmmmm

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rosenbloom: Rams headed right direction ..

          Originally posted by viper View Post
          Shortly after Georgia passed away, it was speculated that they would have to sell the team in order to pay the impending estate taxes. They are now saying that they don't feel any pressure to sell the team. Has something changed? How is it that they don't have that issue any more?
          Fair question .. A while back, one of the PD writers mentioned that Chip and Lucia could afford to keep the team for maybe 5 or so years before they would have to settle up the tax issues. They still have the issue, but are not backed up agaiinst a wall at this point. It makes sense that Chip and Lucia would want to know what prospective owners are be willing to pay for the Rams, and apparently that is what's transpiring now behind the scenes.

          I see no reason not to take Chip at his word regarding keeping the Rams in St Louis. From a fans perspective, (mine anyway) Chip has done everything he can as a new owner to try and turn around the team's freefall. Any way you slice it, we are a very young and inexperienced team with a coaching staff that's learning on the fly. I'll take that gladly over the former regime - Shaw and Zygmunt.

          I believe we are seeing a better product on the field this year than last year in spite of being winless. We also appear to be improving each week. I hope we see improvement from the coaching staff as well as the players. Spags and Shurmur have taken some hits (apparently well deserved) regarding Jackson's limited touches in the 2nd half against the Jags. It seems we've for the most part been very competitive in the first half of games only to fade in the second half. Some, if not alot of that has to fall on the coaching staff.

          Comment

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          • HUbison
            Rams owner: 'I think we're closer than most or our critics think''
            by HUbison
            Rams owner: 'I think we're closer than most or our critics think''

            BY JIM THOMAS
            ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
            01/31/2010

            The glass always is half full with Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom. That's his personality and the way he goes through life. It's not surprising then, that Rosenbloom is optimistic about the future of the team. He hopes Rams fans share that view.

            "I think fans should be optimistic about the direction of this organization," Rosenbloom told the Post-Dispatch in a rare interview. "We made a sweeping restructuring of the entire organization so that we could be winners on the field — to put us in position to start winning games.

            "Now, this is not a one-season fix. This past season was sort of an interim year in my opinion before we see a more successful on-field product. I think this year it was necessary to get through a lot of stuff."

            Over the past year or so, the Rams underwent an organizational shakeup from top to bottom, one that was unprecedented since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. It included sweeping changes in upper management, the front office and personnel department, the coaching staff and more.

            The roster itself was purged of many veterans. Financially, that meant the Rams led the league in 2009 in dead money — money that counts against the salary cap for players no longer on the team. In terms of salary-cap room, the Rams will be in much better shape entering this offseason (although it looks like 2010 will be an uncapped year).

            "There are still a handful of pieces needed to make this thing really work," Rosenbloom said. "So I'm optimistic. I think if we'd sat back and done nothing, that fans would have a right to be upset. I don't think we've done nothing."

            That may be true, but they sure didn't win. The 1-15 record was the worst in franchise history.

            "Clearly we were disappointed," Rosenbloom said. "Clearly to lose 15 games, there's no excuse for it. I think Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo and Billy (Devaney) have said as much. We're a lot better than that."

            Rosenbloom agreed to the interview reluctantly. He said in hiring Spagnuolo as head coach and promoting Devaney to general manager, part of their job description was to be the voices of the team — at least in terms of what's happening on the field.

            "We made a conscious decision to hire people who had a football background to make football decisions," Rosenbloom said.

            The biggest off-the-field issue surrounding the team is the pending sale of the team. League sources told the Post-Dispatch recently that the sale probably will be completed before the NFL draft, which is in April — provided Rosenbloom and sister Lucia Rodriguez decide to sell the team. And contrary to recent reports, there still are three...
            -02-01-2010, 06:20 AM
          • RamWraith
            Rams not for sale
            by RamWraith
            By Bill Coats
            ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
            Tuesday, Jul. 15 2008

            Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom confirmed Monday evening that the team has hired a
            Baltimore firm that specializes in sports investments. But not, Rosenbloom
            insisted, for the reason that was reported earlier in the day.

            Rosenbloom said Moag & Co. is not seeking prospective buyers of the team, as
            the weekly SportsBusiness Journal reported, citing unidentified sources.
            Rosenbloom explained that Moag was employed to field the many inquiries that
            had been swamping him and Rams president John Shaw.

            "We finally said, 'You know what, this is not how we want to spend eight hours
            a day. We need somebody to handle them,'" Rosenbloom said. "It would be totally
            inaccurate to say (Moag) is searching for buyers. ...

            "We did not authorize (Moag) to go out and say, 'Hey, the team's up for sale.'
            It's

            simply returning these people's phone calls."

            Since taking over the Rams after the death of his mother in January, Rosenbloom
            has been steadfast in declaring his desire to keep the Rams in St. Louis. But
            he never has dismissed the possibility of a sale, and he reiterated that stance
            Monday.

            "It's the same as it's been," Rosenbloom said. "If the right person at the time
            right time with the right price came, I suppose that you might sell your house,
            right? So, I don't say never. ... If we get a phone call today from somebody
            who says the right things, we would listen. And that's why Moag is there."

            Said Shaw: "If (Rosenbloom) received an offer he couldn't refuse, he'd have to
            consider it."

            Moag & Co. did not respond to a phone message or an e-mail Monday.

            The Rams have at least one past tie to the firm: Marketing executive Max
            Muhleman is a member of Moag's board of advisers. Muhleman introduced the
            concept of personal seat licenses, or PSLs, to pay for stadium construction
            when he was with the Charlotte Panthers. Later, he assisted the Rams in
            developing a plan to use PSLs revenue to pay off their stadium lease in
            Anaheim, Calif., and help with their relocation costs when the team moved here
            in 1995.

            Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez, split the 60 percent ownership they
            inherited when Rams owner Georia Frontiere died Jan. 18 at age 80 after a
            lengthy battle with breast cancer. Stan Kroenke retained his 40 percent share
            of the team. The NFL requires all teams to designate a managing partner, and
            Rosenbloom is filling the role.

            In an earlier statement, Rosenbloom noted that "when a team is passed from one
            generation to another, it becomes a calling card that the team must...
            -07-15-2008, 03:53 AM
          • Nick
            Chip says money not a factor in Rams' coaching search
            by Nick
            Owner says money not a factor in Rams' coaching search
            By Jim Thomas
            ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
            01/02/2009

            Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom denies strongly that general manager Billy Devaney is under any financial restrictions in the search for a new head coach.

            "There have been no constraints put on Billy in terms of spending on coaches," Rosenbloom told the Post-Dispatch. "We may be one of the few teams in the league that has not said money is a factor in the decision. Although I do think that some salaries are out of whack, if Billy thinks the best guy will cost $6 million a year that would be who we hire."


            Rosenbloom said that neither the ongoing process of paying estate taxes following the death of his mother, Georgia Frontiere, nor the possible future sale of the team has any effect on how much money the Rams spend — for a coach, or for anything.

            "I’ll stick by what I’ve said before about the possible sale of the team," Rosenbloom said. "If the right offer comes along — maybe I’m interested; maybe I’m not. But we’re not in a position where we have to sell the team. We’re in a position where we’re trying to make the team as good as possible.

            "So it’s not accurate to say we’re cheap or we’re trying to save money because we want to sell the team. If we were doing that, we didn’t have to fire the coach (Scott Linehan), we didn’t have to make changes in the front office."

            If he wanted to position the team’s finances to sell the team, Rosenbloom said he could have traded out of the No. 2 spot in the draft last April to save money. (Rosenbloom said it’s possible the team could trade down this year from the No. 2 spot, but only if Devaney thought extra picks were the best way to improve the team.)

            "We’ve attempted to do the right things to make this better," Rosenbloom said.

            He said he’s as angry, just like Rams fans, over the team’s 5-27 record the past two seasons, including a 2-14 mark this season.

            "Things got screwed up and we’re trying to straighten them out," he said. "It’s not as though I’m saying, 'let’s just keep the status quo.' "
            -01-02-2009, 01:01 PM
          • MauiRam
            Rosenbloom says Rams are here to stay
            by MauiRam
            Rosenbloom says Rams are here to stay
            By Jeff Gordon
            STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
            04/24/2008

            Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom, at today's press conference at Rams Park.
            (John L. White/P-D)

            Los Angeles still doesn’t have a National Football League team. Chip Rosenbloom is a Los Angeles guy, heavily involved in the movie business.

            Efforts to finally build a new SoCal football stadium are gathering momentum. The Edward Jones Dome is becoming dated compared to the new, state-of-the-art facilities sprouting up around the league.

            Rams fans can add up all the evidence and fret about the franchise’s long-term future in St. Louis. But Rosenbloom, the franchise’s new managing partner, reassured the public Thursday during a meet-the-media session at Rams Park.

            The St. Louis Rams will remain the St. Louis Rams.

            “We have a lease, first of all,” Rosenbloom said. “We have a commitment to St. Louis. We don’t have any interest in moving to LA. Is that clear enough?”

            Yeah, sure, but . . .

            “I think St. Louis is a great home for the Rams,” Rosenbloom continued. “I don’t see any reason why we would move the team. St. Louis is as committed to the Rams as the Rams are to St. Louis.”

            With significant improvements at The Ed -– better video boards, an improved sound system, upper-level windows to provide natural light, a permanent turf solution -– the current facility could last a while.

            The fan base here is fine. But the 3-13 finish in ’07, combined with a bad economy, will make moving tickets and sponsorships more difficult. Public skepticism is high.

            But Rosenbloom isn’t fretful about all that. He believes his first season at the helm of his franchise will produce a dramatic turnaround.

            “I’m an optimist by nature,” he said. “I’m optimistic about this year.”

            Really?

            “I believe this to be a playoff-caliber team,” he said. “And once we get into the playoffs, we have a chance to get to the Super Bowl.”

            Rosenbloom noted that nobody expected the Giants to win it all last year. Nobody expected the Rams to win a Super Bowl championship during the 1999 season after going 4-12 in 1998. And the Rams are just two years removed from an 8-8 season that was just a few plays short of 10-6.

            Sure, the 2008 schedule is daunting -– both in the quality and the order of the opponents. Rosenbloom, though, sees this as an opportunity to score impressive victories early on.

            He dismissed the national perception of the Rams, that this hasn’t been a well-run franchise. He praised the long-term work of top executives John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt.

            “I think we have some of the best football executives in the league,” he said. “This year will prove that.”

            Rosenbloom spoke of how his late mother,...
            -04-24-2008, 12:40 PM
          • RamWraith
            For new owners, change is painful
            by RamWraith
            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
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            -09-30-2008, 04:22 AM
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