This year, like many before, can be summarized by a four letter word. In years prior, that word was maybe, crap, dung, Dahl, or some other synonym of poop...but not this year.
Nope, this year's four letter word is hope:
1hopeverb \ˈhōp\ hoped hop·ing
Definition of HOPEintransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion>
Stan Kroenke, aka, Papa Moneybags, aka, The Hairpiece, ponied up and brought in Jeff Fisher, the first legit head coach since the Human Tear Duct, Dick Vermeil. Critics were quick to point out the record, the glaring mediocrity, the lack of elite success had by Fisher in his years in HOU/MEM/TEN. These were the same folks who couldn't see the wonderful things about Fisher: his 7th best winning percentage since the start of the millenium, his success in building teams with a distinct identity, and that marvelous, majestic, magnificent mustache. In the long, storied tradition of St. Louis athletics, has there ever been a more breathtaking example of facial hair?
Unless this guy can return kicks, I say not.
His detractors were many, maybe jaded by so many years of ineptitude. From Drew Bennett to Jason Smith...as/.dlf;km bwarelikdsa;0nlkiqewijvn...sorry, I just threw up a little bit. Where was I? Ah, yeah...from Drew Bennett to Jason Smith, this organization has routinely made poor personnel decisions until Mr. Kroenke took the reins. Between Kevin Demoff, Jeff Fisher, and Stan Kroenke, the braintrust for a successful NFL franchise was almost set. However, a front office isn't complete without a general manager.
I'm gonna go off on a tangent here...
Remember when your sister started dating? You were probably in what, junior high? All of a sudden, some really cool guy kept showing up and hanging out with her. He drove a muscle car, played a mean game of catch, and had a full, lustrous head of hair? That guy, the one that was banging your sister while you were discovering scrambled late night HBO programming, that's Les Snead. Ultra-cool, in shape, banging your sister. It turns out, that guy had an eye for talent. The front office turned an aging roster into one of the youngest in the league. They purged a massive amount of dead weight and brought in quality veterans to replace them.There was a new system in place, a system that relied on good players, playing hard, a novel concept to previous regimes. All that was left was to infuse the roster with a big, juicy dose of youth.
The draft. Was there a more nerve-racking time to be a Rams fan? For the longest time, the draft wasn't about acquiring new pieces intended to help the team improve. It was mostly fans hoping and praying that we might luck out and find someone who would make the team. Not this year. Not again. The blockbuster trade that netted the Rams two extra first rounders, the trade down with the Cowboys, the high-ceiling picks, the character concerns, the excitement! All three glorious days were spent building up the worst roster in the league, and setting up the team for years to come. I don't have kids, in fact, I'm a pretty big failure in life, so this might not mean much, but the 2012 draft was my proudest moment as a human being.
Over the course of the year we saw growth on both sides of the ball and special teams. We won some games we couldn't have dreamt of winning just one year ago. We were confident, tough, ferocious, and well groomed. Free agent acquisitions paid off handsomely, the kids stepped up and showed some real flashes of talent, and the team rewarded it's diehard fan base with 7 wonderful wins, 7 close losses, and one beautiful tie. ...Let's not get into the Patriots game. I had a bunch of mai-tais and passed out in the first quarter. That one's on me, guys.
Here we sit, two first rounders this draft and the next, a slew of young talent populating the roster, building blocks in place for the long-term, and maybe most importantly, a front office capable of sustaining success. Call me silly, call me unrealistic, call me maybe. Just call me hopeful.