St. Louis Rams

The Rams are an American Football team in the National Football League. They belong in the Western Division of the National Football Conference, having moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles. They made their third trip to the Super Bowl this year (the 2001 season) to lose to the underdog New England Patriots. Their last Super Bowl appearance was just two years ago, when they defeated the Tennessee Titans to win the NFL Championship.

The Rams franchise was founded in 1937 in Cleveland, OH by an attorney named Homer Marshman. In 1946 the Rams relocated to Los Angeles, CA where they would stay for 48 years. They were the first franchise to move an existing team to a more western city. Coincidentally, when they moved to St. Louis, MO in 1995, they were the first franchise to move a western team eastward.

Since moving to St. Louis, the Rams have grown from a struggling team to a championship caliber team. Their first head coach in their new digs was Dick Vermeill, who had coached the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl in the 1980 season. After the Rams tanked their first two seasons 9-23 (9 wins and 23 losses), they turned in a miraculous 13-3 record in their third year, winning their division. They went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV 23-16 in an exciting game: Tennessee had a chance to tie the game and force an overtime, but they came about one yard (1 meter) short of a touchdown. Quarterback Kurt Warner won the Most Valuable Player award in that game.

This year agains saw Kurt Warner leading his team to Super Bowl XXXVI, this time under head coach Mike Martz. Future "hall-of-famer" running back Marshall Faulk was also expected to turn in an MVP performance. However, the 14-point favored Rams failed to "show up" for the first half of the game, going into the locker room down 17-3. The Rams were able to stage a second half comeback, tying the game with just a couple minutes left, but the Patriots marched to within field goal range and kicked the winning 3-pointer as time ran out on the clock.

The Rams' home stadium is a dome at first called the Trans World Dome, after Trans World Airlines. When TWA was bought by American Airlines in 2001 the stadium's name was changed to "Dome at America's Center" *yawn*. On 25 Jan 2002 the Rams announced that they sold the naming rights to a St. Louis brokerage firm, Edward Jones, the 7th largest such firm in the U.S. For the next 12 years, the stadium will be known as Edward Jones Dome, and the Rams will earn an average $2.65 million/year for the name change. The stadium is in downtown St. Louis and has also hosted NCAA Basketball, College Football, concerts, motorcross, and Pope John Paul II.

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References: www.cris.com/~cyberdata/stlrams/history.html, www.stlouisrams.com, and www.nfl.com

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