a professional gridiron football team based in Los Angeles that competes in the National Football League’s National Football Conference (NFL). Two NFL championships (1945 and 1951) and two Super Bowls have been won by the Los Angeles Rams (2000, 2022).
It was 1936 when the Rams made their debut as a member of the short-lived American Football League, and they were originally based out of Cleveland. In its debut season in the NFL, the new team went winless, and it hasn’t had a winning season since.
In 1943, the Rams were forced to put their operations on hold due to a lack of players as a result of World War II. Bob Waterfield, a rookie quarterback, led the Rams to their first winning season (9–1) and a victory over the Washington Redskins in the NFL championship game in 1945. To avoid competing with the newly formed All-America Football Conference franchise, Rams owner Dan Reeves decided to leave Cleveland in 1946 and relocate the team to Los Angeles.
This innovation would pay huge rewards for the sport as it entered the television age when iconic helmets allowed teams to build conspicuous identities among football fans when the Rams were the first professional football team to adopt an insignia (a pair of golden ram’s horns).
Norm Van Brocklin, Elroy Hirsch, and Tom Fears, all future Hall of Famers, led the Rams’ high-powered attack in the early 1950s. They had no losing seasons between 1950 and 1955 and won the NFL title in 1951 after defeating the Cleveland Browns. With their success, the Rams drew record crowds in the late 1950s and into the 1960s.
The “Fearsome Foursome” tackles Merlin Olsen, Roosevelt “Rosie” Grier, and ends Deacon Jones and Lamar Lundy typified the team in the 1960s. Roman Gabriel, a 6-foot 5-inch (1.9-metre) quarterback for the Rams, was also the first “large” quarterback in professional football. Despite the Foursome’s dominance, the Rams never made it past the divisional playoff round throughout the ’60s.
Defensive end Jack Youngblood led the squad to a club-record eight consecutive postseason appearances from 1973 through 1980. There were seven seasons during this sequence in which the Rams had at least 10 wins, and they made it to the NFC championship game five times, but only won once.
Before that season, the Rams went 9–7 in the regular season before a postseason run that saw them win two straight road games before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV, Running back Eric Dickerson and offensive lineman Jackie Slater were the stars of the team’s 1980s rushing offence. Only three times in the decade did the Rams fail to qualify for the playoffs, but they never made it back to the Super Bowl.
Owner Georgia Frontiere began looking for a new stadium for the Rams in the early 1990s because of the team’s poor on-field performance (the Rams won no more than six games each season between 1990 and 1994) and the consequent drop in attendance, as well as her desire to play in a more profitable stadium. When the NFL approved a transfer to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1995, the Rams became the first professional football club to leave the West Coast for the first time in decades.
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A 4–12 record in 1998 summed up the Rams’ first four seasons in St. Louis, as their win total fell each year during their first four seasons at their new stadium. It was one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history when the Los Angeles rams took the field in 1999. As a result of the Rams’ explosive offence,
which featured running back Marshall Faulk, wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and unheralded former backup quarterback Kurt Warner, the Rams finished the 1999 regular season with a 13-3 record. They advanced to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Against the Tennessee Titans, the squad earned a stunning 23–16 triumph to win its first Super Bowl title.
New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, the Rams’ second appearance in the championship game in the first decade of this century. The Rams’ performance dipped with the departure of the Greatest Show on Turf, and the team finished the first decade of the 2000s as one of the poorest in the NFL.
There were improvements in the early 2010s but no playoff berth for the Rams. At a time when the team was struggling on the field, Stan Kroenke bought land in California to use as a potential stadium site in case the organization’s efforts to get a new publically funded facility for the team in Missouri were unsuccessful. NFL owners voted in January 2016 to allow the Los Angeles Rams to relocate to the Los Angeles area despite the state’s offer of $400 million in stadium financing—the fifth-largest in NFL history at the time.
It took the team’s second season back in California to finally break through, adding seven victories to its 2016 tally and winning the division title, ending a franchise record 13-year playoff drought. As a team, the Rams finished 2018 with a 13-3 record, enough for second best in the NFL. NFC Championship Game vs. New Orleans Saints: a late fourth-quarter call by officials saved the Rams from defeat in regulation time, and the club went on to win the game in overtime so that they could make their fourth Super Bowl trip in a row.
There, they suffered a 13–3 defeat to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII’s lowest-scoring contest ever. The Rams’ high-octane offence from 2017 and 2018 waned in 2019, as their 9–7 record prevented them from making the playoffs. In 2020, the team will be in the playoffs. The Rams traded for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford before the 2021 season and then acquired two great players (defensive lineman Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.) during the season.
A division title and an NFC championship followed, and the Rams became the second team to play in a Super Bowl at home in their stadium due to these additions (SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California). After a tense battle with Cincinnati, the Rams prevailed to win the second Super Bowl in the team’s existence.
American gridiron football player and larger-than-life “character” Gene Lipscomb, also known as Eugene Allen Lipscomb, was one of the most well-known and popular figures in the United States during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was born on August 9, 1931, in Detroit, Michigan, and died on May 10, 1963, in Baltimore, Maryland.
When Lipscomb was a defensive lineman, he quipped that he “peeled off” the opposing players until he discovered the ball-carrying guy. He established that a huge defensive lineman could do more than just defend a narrow area by pursuing ball carriers across the field and rushing quarterbacks. When he couldn’t remember teammates’ names, he’d call them “little daddy,” earning the moniker “Big Daddy.”
While most NFL players attend college, Lipscomb was not one of them. He never met his father, and his mother was slain on the way to work when he was 11 years old, so he never met his father, either. The U.S. Marine Corps took him in after a rough childhood, and he was a star football player at Camp Pendleton in California.
A beefsteak meal and $4,800 were his initial compensation for being released from the military in 1953. His playing time was cut short due to his shaky technique. Off the field, he was renowned as a kind and kind giant, but he harboured deep fears about his lack of formal schooling, his unusually large stature, and his status as a prominent African American in his time.
Baltimore Colts signed him in 1956 after the Rams released him in 1956. Size and agility helped him earn a regular tackle position with future Hall of Famers Gino Marchetti and Art Donovan as he developed as a player. Baltimore’s 1958–59 NFL championships were largely due to the team’s defence.
In both of his championship seasons, Lipscomb was named to the NFL All-Star team, but he was criticised for not always playing at full pace, a distinction he earned as one of the best players of his time.
During the 1961 season, Lipscomb was moved to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he contributed to the club’s success and was named to the All-NFL team for the fourth time in his career. Heroin overdose killed him at his apartment in the spring of 1963.
“Crazylegs” Elroy Hirsch (June 17, 1923 – January 28, 2004) was an American gridiron football player, sports administrator and actor who rose to fame as a collegiate star and who became a record-setting wide receiver with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. He died in 2004 in Madison, Wisconsin (NFL).
At the University of Wisconsin in 1942, Hirsch was a halfback for the football team and was known as “Crazylegs” because of his unconventional running style that made him tough to tackle. Following his graduation from the University of Michigan, he enlisted in the Marines and began officer training there the following year.
There, he was the only athlete in the school’s history to letter in all four sports in the same calendar year! (football, basketball, baseball, and track). As a member of the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference from 1946 to 1948 (injury-plagued seasons), Hirsch made his NFL debut in 1949 with the St. Louis Rams.
With Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin as quarterbacks, he became a vital part of the team’s formidable offence, which depended largely on the forward throw. As a member of the 1951 NFL season, Hirsch led the league with 66 catches, 17 touchdown grabs, and a receiving yardage record, which has since been broken (1,495). The Rams won the NFL championship that year thanks to his efforts.
In his playing days, Hirsch’s enormous popularity led to appearances in several films, including the autobiographical Crazylegs (1953) and Unchained (1959). (1955).
An American professional gridiron football quarterback who won two National Football League Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours (1999, 2001) and a Super Bowl title (2000) as a player with the St. Louis Rams, Kurt Warner, in full Kurtis Eugene Warner. For the first time, he led his team, the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance (2009).
It wasn’t until his fifth and final year at the University of Northern Iowa that Warner was able to earn a football scholarship from a Division I-A school (now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision). From 1995 to 1997, he played football for the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League after a failed test with NFL’s Green Bay Packers in 1994.
Warner signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams in December 1997, and the following spring he was assigned to the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. He threw for 2,101 yards in the Admirals’ 10 games that season, the most in the league.
During the 1998 NFL season, Warner was called up by the St. Louis Rams and served as the team’s backup quarterback, appearing in just one game during the team’s disappointing 4–12 campaign. When Trent Green went down with a knee injury in the preseason of 1999, Warner took over as the team’s starting quarterback and led the Rams to an unlikely comeback.
He was the NFL’s best passer that year, with the Rams winning 13 games and improving their record for a single season win to the second-highest mark in league history. The NFL MVP award went to Warner, and the Rams made it to the Super Bowl in January of the following year. A Super Bowl record of 414 yards was set by him and he was named the game’s MVP as the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23–16 to claim their first championship.
While the Rams made it to the playoffs for the second time in 2000, they were knocked out in the first round of play. After winning his second MVP award in 2001, Warner led the NFL in all major passing statistics again in Super Bowl XXXVI, but the 14–2 Rams were upset by the 14-point underdog New England Patriots. In 2002, he played in just seven games because of an injury and was a complete failure.
During the 2003 season, after a catastrophic first game in which he fumbled six times, Warner was reduced to a backup role. A mediocre season with the New York Giants followed his release from the Los Angeles Rams at the end of the year.
Warner’s playing days appeared to be numbered until he signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2005 and began a new era in his life as a professional footballer. Because of injuries and the team’s decision to invest in young quarterback Matt Leinart in his first three seasons in Arizona, he started just over half of the team’s games.
But in 2008 he started all 16 games, threw for over 4,000 yards for the first time since 2001, was named to his fourth career Pro Bowl, and led the Cardinals to a narrow loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. Despite making the playoffs in 2009, Warner and the Cardinals were beaten in the divisional round by the New Orleans Saints
. After the defeat, Warner announced his retirement from professional football and began working as an NFL analyst for television. Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement was granted to him in 2017. With 387 receptions for 7,029 yards and 60 touchdowns, he retired from professional football in 1957.
He went on to become the University of Wisconsin’s athletic director from 1969 to 1987, where he was instrumental in turning around the school’s flagging athletic department. In 1968, Hirsch was enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.