By Vince Vitale
I started to think about this issue this morning as I was listening to sports talk radio. I found it absolutely amazing and sad that shows were talking more about Jake Westbrook a 32 year old pitcher on the Cleveland Indians with 13 wins in the last 4 years and a 69-71 lifetime win/loss record and career ERA of 4.34 than talking about the upcoming signings of Rodger Saffold and Sam Bradford. With Training camp starting tomorrow where was the football talk, the excitement, the anticipation?
Not only are the media outlets not talking about the St. Louis Rams much I can’t even get Rams fans to discuss the team. This week alone I informed 100+ known Rams fans about the possible Terrell Owens signing and the signing of Rodger Saffold and I received ZERO responses!
Well as St. Louis Rams training camp approaches tomorrow I am curious as to where St. Louis Rams fans are at. Fans should feel this as the start of something special, a new year, new players, a fresh start, and most of all a level playing field as each team is currently 0-0. I however feel that St. Louis Rams fans are currently apathetic to the point of almost being num and I will explain.
Over the last three seasons the St. Louis Rams have played some very poor football which has resulted in them winning only six of their last forty-eight contest, that’s right they have won six total games since 12/31/2006 a span of almost 43 months! That could be considered their top achievement over the last few years but let’s look a little deeper at some underlying issues.
Rams fans rarely talk about anyone else other than Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson, this speaks to almost a decade of terrible drafting. While not winning of late the experience at the Edward Jones Dome has come under a lot of criticism. Recently ESPN rated the Rams quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment 114th out of 122 professional franchises. The atmosphere along with the play of the team lead the Rams to finish 29th in home attendance in 2009 at 84.6% of capacity only ahead of Detroit, Jacksonville and Oakland in percentage.
This leads us to another issue, St. Louis Rams ownership. Since the death of Georgia Frontiere on 1/18/2008 the Rams primary owners are Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez. From the beginning Chip and Lucia wanted out of that role placing the Rams basically in a lame duck position, seemingly to fans without ownership that cared about the team. To add to this matter the Rams have to be in the upper 25% of stadium revenues after 2014 or they can basically break the lease and leave town for the highest bidder. Currently there is a pending sales of the club to Stan Kroenke but this has been dragging out for a while and I am afraid the fans are tired of hearing about it.
As they say winning cures everything and frankly the St. Louis Rams have not been winners in a while and that has led to this malaise that has come over the city towards them. The product on the field has been bad and even worse than that everything about the team has become boring. The Rams hiring of Scott (Lameahan) Linehan has to be one of their worst decisions. Linehan came across as a talking block of wood during press conferences and seemed simply clueless when making any coaching decisions. The Rams have since moved on to inexperienced Steve Spagnuolo who tries to say the right things but it is still not apparent to Rams fans if we have even started to move in the right direction. Other than Steven Jackson the Rams offense has been awful ranking in the bottom five in scoring three straight years including averaging 10.9 points per game in 2009.
So Rams fans are you still out there?