Finally calmed from the breathtaking excitement of the 2012 NFL schedule release, I went back and looked at the St. Louis Rams' schedule for the season. I was struck by one thing, more so than a brutal stretch from Weeks 7-11, including a "home" game in the UK.
The schedule makers left the Dome dark, or at least without the Rams, on the holidays. For the first time since the 2000 season, the Rams will close out their schedule with two road games. It happened in 1998 too, making this only third time since the team moved to St. Louis.
That has more to do with a quirk in the schedule making process than anything else. Maybe the Dome is occupied on those dates with a prior engagement; after all, the Rams had to open up the Dome to more CVB business to skate around lease issues over the London game this year. Maybe it has something to do with the other teams on the docket.
Whatever the cause, the result leaves fans and their families with escape to a Rams game for holiday activity. Fans will also miss a late season opportunity to stuff the Dome and cheer for what should be a much improved team from last year's 2-14 disaster.
The Rams are out of town on Thanksgiving weekend as well, so no chance for fans to take in a game over that holiday break either. In the 2000 and 1998 seasons, the team was at home over Thanksgiving weekend.
What is it about the Dome? The Rams made more progress as a franchise over the last four months than they did in the last eight years, but issues around the Ed Jones Dome, from the lease to the London game, have hamstrung relations with local fans.
Fortunately, winning cures all and the Rams are headed in that direction ... you'll just have to wait until 2013 to see them winning at home in late December.