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The Rams are back in Los Angeles! After 20 years in St. Louis, this great football franchise is back on the west coast. Playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until their permanent home is finished being built, Rams fans in California are rejoicing the return of their hometown team.
Originally the Cleveland Rams, the team moved to Los Angeles in 1946, fresh off their 1945 NFL Championship victory. They would remain in LA until 1995, winning another title in 1951. The Rams had one of the most electrifying offenses in football at the time with great players in Bob Waterfield, Norm Van Brocklin, Elroy Hirsh, and Tom Fears. Despite more professional sports teams invading the area in the 1950s, Rams fans continued to turn out in droves to watch their team play.
The teams of the late 1960s, under legendary head coach George Allen, are remembered for their punishing defense. Particularly, the “Fearsome Foursome” of Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, and Lamar Lundy were a defensive line that were known throughout the league.
Many great players and coaches came through Los Angeles over the years including Roman Gabriel, Jack Youngblood, and Joe Namath. Los Angeles would be thrust into the spotlight again with the talented Eric Dickerson. This Hall of Fame running back burst onto the scene in 1983 and the next season set an NFL record for most rushing yards in a season (which still stands today).
However, by the early 1990s the team’s play had dropped off and the fan base began to pull away from the franchise. The decision was made to uproot the Rams and move them to St. Louis, MO. Things began to take shape as key players entered the fold. Isaac Bruce and Orlando Pace made a big impact. An unlikely starter for the Rams, Kurt Warner took over for the injured Trent Green in 1999 and the team really took off. Between Warner under center, Marshall Faulk lined up in the backfield, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt at wide receiver, the Rams obliterated their opponents on their way to the Super Bowl, where they would defeat the Tennessee Titans by a score of 23-16 to capture their first Lombardi Trophy. Upset two seasons later in the Super Bowl by the New England Patriots 20-17, the Rams lost their chance to become champions again.
A series of losing seasons would plague this tram after 2004. Despite the play from players like Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford, and Todd Gurley the Rams continued to lose. This prompted the move back to Los Angeles. Perhaps it was the change of scenery or perhaps it was the hiring of Sean McVay, the young head coach of this team, but either way the Rams made the dramatic improvement to 11-5 and an NFC West title in 2017. Exiting the postseason via an NFC Wild Card loss to Atlanta, McVay’s Rams were back to business again in 2018. Putting up even more impressive numbers, they finished the season at 13-3 and headed back to the postseason.
A bye in the Wild Card round matched LA with Dallas in the divisional round where the Rams advanced by a score of 30-22. The incredible NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints ended in overtime on a 57 yard field goal that would send the Rams back to the Super Bowl. Facing off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Rams had their work cut out for them. A defensive masterpiece of a Super Bowl saw the Rams on the losing end, with the final score 13-3 in favor of New England. While the Rams and their fans are disappointed by the outcome, there is reason to believe that this franchise will be back on the biggest stage in the near future.
McVay’s youth has helped him connect with his very young team. 2016 1st overall draft pick Jared Goff, had a great 2017 season and looked even more comfortable in 2018 as he transitions into a bonafide star. His offensive weapons include wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. Cooper Kupp injured his knee, sidelining him for the rest of the year. Big time running back Todd Gurley is one of the best rushers in the league and presents a huge threat from the backfield. Sharing the carries with CJ Anderson has kept Gurley fresh and has led to big numbers on the ground for LA.
The defense for Los Angeles is suddenly a juggernaut with top talent in Aaron Donald (the back to back AP Defensive Player of the Year), Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs, Aqib Talib from the Denver Broncos, and Ndamukong Suh from the Miami Dolphins. Assembling all of these players has ensured that Los Angeles will continue to be dominant defensively, giving their offense plenty of chances to put points on the board. Signing Clay Matthews for the 2019 season adds veteran leadership and depth from a great player who has tasted a championship in Green Bay.
This young Rams team has made a name for themselves and turned many heads in the league last year. While no one took them for granted in 2018, LA still fought through the schedule and put together a great record on their way to a Super Bowl appearance. While drawing inspiration from their youthful enthusiasm and exciting new surroundings, these players look the emulate legends of past teams to bring this team back to prominence. Among the greatest to ever suite up for the Rams are, these players Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Deacon Jones, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Jack Youngblood, Orlando Pace, Torry Holt, and Merlin Olson. Click here to learn more about the Los Angeles Rams history.