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The Dynasty That Could Have Been: The St. Louis Rams.
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Old 13 Jan 2004, 02:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Dynasty That Could Have Been: The St. Louis Rams.

The Rams had just traded for Marshall Faulk and they lost their HOT free agent QB, Trent Green, for the season a during pre season game. They were going to be the same pitiful Rams that had been whooped for the past decade or so right? Wrong. Warner steps in and they have one of the best aerial attacks the league has ever seen. They were dubbed the Greatest Show On Turf and finished with a 13-3 record earning a 1st round bye and home field advantage throughout all while scoring 526 points. They blew out the Vikings by putting up 49 points in the second round of the playoffs. They then BARELY squeeked past the Bucs in what was a defensive struggle. Then, in what is said to be one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time,They have a bomb to Bruce to take the lead (forgive me if my chronology is off, I didn't see the game due to a power outage). The Titans then drive the field and the Rams have what is known as "The Stop", where one of their linebackers (can't think of his name) stops Mason (or Dyson?) at the 1 foot line with no time remaining to win the game. They are crowned 1999-2000 NFL Super Bowl Champions. After the Super Bowl, head coach Dick Vermeil retired atop the football world. He was replaced by offensive coordinator Mike Martz.


The next season, they have a slight case of Super Bowl hangover and make the playoffs as a wild card with a 10-6 record, as the New Orleans Saints won the division. The Rams still managed to score 540 points, but the difference was their defense gave up an enormous 471 points. The Saints dominated most of the first round game, and then at the end the Rams made a comeback, only to have their season muffed away by Az-Zahir Hakim.


Enter a new season, where the Rams are ready to get back to the promised land. They hired defensive coordinator Lovie Smith away from the Bucs to try to fix their defensive struggles. They cruise through the regular season with a 14-2 record, scoring 503 points and only allowing a much improved 273 points. Much like the '99 season, they had a first round bye and home field advantage throughout. In the second round, they dominated Favre and the Packers. Favre had probably his worst game of his career against the speedy Rams defense which caused numerous turnovers. In the NFC Championship game, the Eagles took it to them, and went into halftime ahead of the Rams. After halftime, Martz decided to use the greatest player in the world for the entire drive and the Rams pounded the ball play after play. St. Louis won the game after Martz smartened up and used Faulk. The final score was 29-24, and so the Rams were once again playing for the Super Bowl, this time against the New England Patriots. In what was a game dominated by defenses, the Rams trailed late, only to make a comeback and tie it at 17 in the last 30 seconds or so. Thinking the Patriots were going to sit on the clock and play for overtime, their defense wasn't ready for the drive that Brady and the Pats put together to get into field goal range and eventually win it on a 47 yarder (I think) from Adam Vinatieri. I was fine with that drive, but what got me is the rest of the game. Mike Martz has the greatest player in the NFL on his team in Marshall Faulk, and he underused him the entire game.


Onto the 2002-2003 season, The Rams were looking to make amends for their Super Bowl loss. Unthinkably, The Rams start the season 0-5, and like in the SB, didn't use Faulk. They didn't come around to using him until Warner, who was plagued by turnovers, went down with injury. Martz then must have felt like he was trapped, so he used Faulk. The team then got back to 5-5 with Faulk running wild and under the quarterbacking of Marc Bulger. Eventually, the 0-5 start was too much to overcome and they finished the season at 7-9, missing the playoffs.


Heading into the 2003-2004 season, all the talk centered around the Rams once again. A healthy Warner, an offensive line with Kyle Turley added into the mix, a defensive unit that can play well and fly around making plays, they had all the talk surrounding them. They opened the season with an ugly loss to the Giants. Once again, Faulk was underused, Warner was turnover prone, and Mike Martz was making ridiculous calls that took points off the board. Bulger eventually replaced Warner permanently, while Faulk sat out with a broken hand and a scoped knee. The Rams still won though, because they had a good defense and they had Torry Holt, who had one of the best seasons of a wide receiver of all time. Faulk came back, the Rams were strong as he had 4 straight 100 yard games. They were clickin and firing on all cylinders til they layed an egg in Detroit the final week of the season costing them a chance at home field throughout. The loss put them at 12-4 for the year. They open the playoffs in the second round against the Panthers at home in the Edward Jones Dome. In the first half, they were inside the 20 numerous times, and only came away with field goals. In the second half, the Panthers extended their lead to 23 to 12 with under 4 minutes to play. The Rams got a touchdown and a 2 point conversion to pull within 23-20. The kicker then recovered the onside kick. St. Louis then drove the field and in the final 2 minutes, Mike Martz's offense inexplicably ran only 4 plays, playing to get into overtime, rather than taking a couple shots to win the game. In overtime, the Panthers got into field goal range, and Kasay kicked what appeared to be the game winner, but a delay of game negated the kick. The Panthers then ran a few plays to try to move a little closer and kicked it on 4th down. Kasay missed giving the Rams a chance. They made some plays and got into what they thought was Wilkins' range, he missed the 53 yard attempt. Panthers then get the ball and have so many penalties and end up punting. On that drive, Bulger threw an interception to end the 1st OT period. In the beginning of the second overtime, Delhomme hit Steve Smith for a long touchdown pass, ending the Rams' season in disbelieving fashion.




Now, my question is, what do you think is the main reason that this potential great dynasty has pretty much failed. They have had the opportunity to to possibly win 3 or 4 super bowls, and all they came away with was one.


If this gets some responses, I'll throw in my 2 pennies about what i think went wrong....
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Old 13 Jan 2004, 12:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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because the coach just doesnt play to win he plays to not lose which is retarded. how is a coach going to get anybody on his team pumped up by saying lets not lose but we dont necessarily win either just not lose. the rams need a coach that will take the initiative take risks that have a greater chance of failing than succeeding, you also need to command the respect from your team that when they go out for those risky plays they put effort into it instead of questioning whe logic in the decision.



btw great post very well thought out
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Old 13 Jan 2004, 01:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, they lost too many off their depth chart. Yeah, Warner was all happy and looked great when he had 5 great WR's and Faulk was the greatest back in the league. But Warner is a pussy, and when teams knew they could punk him out, they did. He's never really recovered and has had so many injuries the last 2 seasons. Face it, he's scared, and he cost them a lot of games.

Faulk is not the best back in the league anymore. He's good, he's well rounded, but he is not quite the same threat he was.

But I don't really know much about them, only that I hate them. i imagine the biggest promlem has been free agency and cap room, which has forced them to release various players and not being able to fix all the holes. And that team is weak. I mean, they're a pansy indoor team with no real identity and lagging confidence.
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Old 13 Jan 2004, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here's my take on what went wrong and why they only won 1 super bowl, as opposed to the possible 3 or 4 they could have won.



Dick Vermeil is a great coach. He knew he had a great weapon in Marshall Faulk, so he utilized him. Marshall Faulk was the center of the offense. He ran the ball with authority and Vermeil stayed committed to running the ball. That opened up so many things downfield for the aerial assault they displayed. Vermeil retired, who was replaced by Mike Martz. He came in thinking he was an offensive genius and tried to pass the ball before running. This type of offense resulted in turnovers. Take their Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots. Faulk didn't get touches until Martz was backed into a corner. Last year when they started 0-5, Faulk didn't get touches until Martz was at the end of his proverbial rope. Take this year, Martz didn't give Faulk touches before his injury, then he gave him touches afterwards and he reeled off 4 straight 100 yard games and the Rams were on a roll. Martz gets cocky when they win, and he thinks he get start the game by passing. Martz has also called games very erratically; going for it in 4th and long situations where he could have kicked a field goal, throwing on 4th and 1 when he has Faulk in the backfield, etc. Against the Panthers, he decides he wants to be conservative and play for OT rather than taking a few shots for the win, and Faulk in that game didn't even get 20 carries.


The Rams had the potential to be a dynasty, Vermeil (partially) and Martz (most of it) killed that potential. Had Vermeil stayed on board, I think that The Rams could have matched the Cowboys record of 3 Super Bowls in a 4 year span, but it was all basically thrown away when Vermeil retired.
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Old 15 Jan 2004, 12:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm disappointed this didn't get any other responses, especially from Ice since he's a Rams fan
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Old 15 Jan 2004, 12:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't know what to tell you man.

I also don't know about the reliance or not on Faulk. I mean, that team was also passing the ball like crazy. I know it was their defense that set them back after they won the sb, but it always seemed to me that the strength of that team was the speed of the recievers and their ability to get around coverage. Also, the timing plays and everybody working on the same clock. They were real efficient with their plays. The ball was out before the reciever made a break, and they had so much depth they could really string out a defense, and I'm sure that helped Faulk out.
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Old 15 Jan 2004, 01:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think more than anything, the Rams were figured out. For 1999-2001 up until the Super Bowl the Rams had a offense that could not be stopped and coaches for oppising teams knew that they couldnt be stopped, so they let St. Louis have its points. That played into the Rams as they knew teams would be throwing a lot against them and thats how they could cause turnovers.

Then the New England Super Bowl where St. Louis was to kick ass, New England knew that they'd be throwing a lot and thats why Belichek used Dime and Nickle packages the whole game and they would also mug Rams recievers so they couldnt get into the open field. Combine that and Tom Brady and Adam Viniteri's herorics, that was a recipie for disaster for the Rams.

Soon every coach began to use that strategy and soon, Rams "mystique" was gone.

This happens in every sport, for a while a coach is "ahead of the curve" but it is only a matter of time before they are figured out.
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