Former St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney was on AM talk radio in Seattle on Saturday. Among the other areas of conversation, Devaney shared his thoughts on what went wrong with the Rams during his tenure there. Since it's pretty clear what with wrong on the field, Devaney didn't exactly make any startling revelations. The most interesting tidbit from Devaney had to do with the ownership situation.
Devaney revealed that Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, son and daughter of the late Georgia Frontiere and Carroll Rosenbloom, tried to find a way to keep the team.
Chip and Lucia (Rosenbloom) inherit the team from Georgia Frontiere. Through a whole mess of legalese and tax issues, they tried everything they could to keep the team and they weren't going to be able to.
The issue, of course, was the estate tax due from inheriting the team from Frontiere. NFL teams are valued in the neighborhood of a billion dollars or so, but a football franchise isn't the most liquid of assets. But the taxman demands cash, and the team had to be sold, as you well know.
A side note: because of the haphazard tax bills approved in 2001, there was no estate tax in 2010, another bout of bad timing for the Rams.
With the franchise for sale, the front office did not have much money to spend, using a chunk of it on Sam Bradford, the last of the exorbitantly-paid rookies. Devaney alludes to that.
The news that Frontiere's children tried to keep the team is interesting in light of whispers at the time that they had no interest in owning a pro football team. Chip (Dale Carroll) Rosenbloom is a movie producer.
Eventually they sold the team. Auto parts magnate Shad Khan tried to buy them in 2010. Stan Kroenke swooped in and exercised his first right of refusal, turning his 40 percent stake into the whole enchilada.
In truth, the Rams are better off with Stan Kroenke owning the team, aside from the (mostly) needless hysteria over the stadium-LA issue. Kroenke is a committed owner, as evidenced by the moves he made this offseason. Hiring Jeff Fisher, landing some key free agents and stockpiling draft picks could finally put the franchise among the league's elite, you know, the kinds of teams that regularly finish the season with winning records. There was never that kind of commitment under Georgia, as any LA or St. Louis fan can attest, save for an anomalous stretch with Dick Vermeil at the helm, the Faulk trade and a few years of not screwing up draft picks.