I dabble in sports outside of baseball every once in awhile in this space. Today I am going to dabble a little bit in pro football. I can honestly say that this will probably be the last post I ever make about professional football. I am never going to say never, things happen, might have to talk about at some point. However, after the events of this past week, I can honestly say that I am going to do something else with my Sunday's besides watching football. Monday nights too.
In case you've missed out on sports news this week, billionaire recluse Stan Kroenke moved the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles. He has owned the team outright since 2008, but has been a stakeholder in the team since the team moved to the Gateway City in 1995. Over the course of Kroenke's ownership the team has posted a 39-88 record. They only won 12 games during the first 4 years that he owned the team. In spite all of this the city of St. Louis was willing to build him a 1.1 billion dollar stadium.
I am not going to get into all of the drama behind the team moving, but this is the second time the NFL has allowed a team to depart my hometown of St. Louis. I lost the Cardinals, who were terrible, when I was in fourth grade. I was excited when the Rams moved to St. Louis when I was a senior in high school. I followed the team pretty regularly while I lived in St. Louis. I still found their games on television from time to time and always managed to take time to watch.
After the NFL announced the Rams were moving I entertained the thought of finding a new team. The Panthers are pretty close to Raleigh, or I could go for another Midwestern team like the Colts, Bears, or Chiefs. After much contemplating I actually think I am better off just watching some of my favorite college teams and leaving the NFL alone.
So, after being a supportive fan of the Rams for the past twenty years (only 6 winning seasons) I am going to make a list of my five favorite players from their days in St. Louis. Obviously, the majority of their history in the city was spent losing, but there were still some bright moments, a Super Bowl title, and two NFC Championships. Here is my list.....
Honorable Mention - Orlando Pace
The Rams drafted Pace first overall in 1997 out of Ohio State. He played a total of 12 years with the Rams and appeared on both of the teams Super Bowl teams in St. Louis. Every good team starts with good blocking and Pace provided a lot of protection for quarterbacks like Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger. Pace also helped pave the way for a few good running backs along the way as well.
5. Kurt Warner - QB
This one is a little debatable considering he was a two-time MVP and also won the Super Bowl MVP in leading the Rams over the Titans in Super Bowl 34. While considering a higher spot for Warner, he really only played three full seasons in St. Louis. In 2002, Warner only started a total of 6 games after injuring his thumb. He was replaced by Marc Bulger who won the job away from Warner. Still, the three seasons Warner quarterbacked the Rams he was a very impressive player.
4. Torry Holt - WR
Holt started his career with the Rams in 1999 when the team made their run to their first Super Bowl. He was a long time Ram playing for the 10 years and is second in almost all of the franchise's all-time receiving categories behind Isaac Bruce. His two best years took place in 2000 and 2003 crossing 1,600 receiving yards in both seasons. He also lead the NFL in receptions in 2003 with 117 and has 6 of the franchises top 10 single season reception totals. Holt ranks in the top 20 all-time in the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards.
3. Steven Jackson - RB
Jackson is easily the player who was hurt most by the constant losing in St. Louis. The Rams have had some pretty good running backs in their history like Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk. Both a few thousand yards behind Jackson in the history of the Rams. I know Faulk was much more of a total yards player than just a pure running back, but it's still impressive to be head of names like that in terms of numbers. Jackson played a total of 9 seasons in St. Louis crossing 1,000 in 8 of the seasons. He missed his rookie season because he split time with Marshall Faulk. Steven Jackson also only played on two winning teams, both 8-8, in his nine years. He ranks inside the 20 all-time in rushing yards in the NFL.
2. Isaac Bruce - WR
I could really argue that Bruce and the player at the number 1 spot on my list are 1 and 1A on the list of greatest St. Louis Rams. Bruce is simply the greatest receiver in the history of the Rams. It doesn't matter what city they were playing in, Bruce is the best that ever was in their uniform. He didn't lead the NFL in receptions and yards, but he was consistent throughout his 14 year career with the Rams. He is ninth all-time in receptions and fourth in receiving yards. He's not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet, but his day is coming soon.
1. Marshall Faulk - RB
The Rams picked up Marshall Faulk prior to the 1999 for two draft picks from the Colts. Not sure that was really a fair deal. Faulk was an incredible player to watch. He could run, he could pass, he racked up a lot of total yards. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards only three times as a Ram, but also went over 2,000 total yards a few times. He's in the top ten all-time in dozens of statistical categories including: rushing yards, yards from scrimmage, and touchdowns. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.