The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the face of Mount Rushmore, located near Keystone, South Dakota. It depicts the heads of four United States Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. The sculpture is world-renowned, and has become an iconic symbol of presidential greatness.
What does Mount Rushmore have to do with football, specifically the St. Louis Rams? Not much really, unless you wanted to come up with a St. Louis Rams version of Mount Rushmore. I know, I know, its already been done. ESPN's Nick Wagoner published his own version just last week. There have been other versions published. What do they all have in common? They attempt to determine the Rams' four most illustrious all-time greats. Which is a wonderful idea and concept. The problem with them? How many of us have been Rams fans long enough to fondly reminisce about watching Deacon Jones play?
Among the things I love about Turf Show Times are the many generations of Rams fans who frequent this site. Some of us DO remember watching the Fearsome Foursome, on a black & white television screen, where you had to adjust the bunny-ear antenna to get decent reception. At a time when most fans on this site weren't even a twinkle in their father's eye. On the other hand, I log on to TST and can't help but admire the football knowledge and passion of the younger fans. They can whip up commentary and fanposts like pros. A little Vine, a smidgen of YouTube, a couple of searches on the iphone, some Draft Breakdown video, a couple of GIF's, a whole lotta analysis, and...voila...almost professional-quality scouting reports. They already have more football knowledge on their little finger than I will ever have.
Keeping in mind the many generations of fans, I decided to create two versions of the "Rams' Mount Rushmore": one covering the 15-year period between 1999-2013, and a futuristic version, selecting four Rams from the current roster who stand the best chance of being on "Mount Rushmore" in 2028.
Rams' Mount Rushmore - 1999-2013
QB - Kurt Warner - Warner's rise from Arena Football to NFL MVP is worthy of acclaim all on its own. Warner came from obscurity to lead the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory. He played six seasons for the Rams, and is a future Hall of Fame inductee. Warner was a 4-time Pro Bowler, 2-time All-Pro, 2-time NFL MVP, and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV. Warner currently holds the 7th-highest career passer rating of all time (93.7), and the 3rd-highest career completion percentage in NFL history (65.5%).
RB - Marshall Faulk - An integral part of the Greatest Show On Turf, Faulk was traded by Indianapolis to the Rams in 1999, and played 7 seasons for them, until his retirement after the 2005 season. Faulk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2011. A three-time Rams MVP, Faulk was voted NFL MVP in both 2000-2001. Faulk was a 7-time Pro Bowl honoree, and a 6-time All-Pro. His #28 was retired by the St. Louis Rams. Faulk, with 12,279 yards, ranks 10th on the NFL Career Rushing Leaders list. He is one of only two players to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a single season.
LT - Orlando Pace - A future Hall of Fame inductee, Pace was the cornerstone of the Rams offensive line that helped produce the Greatest Show On Turf. Pace was selected 1st overall in the 1997 NFL Draft, and played 12 seasons for the Rams. Pace was a 7-time Pro Bowl selection, and earned All-Pro honors 5 times.
WR - Isaac Bruce - Another future Hall of Fame inductee, Bruce ranks 4th on the NFL Career Receiving Yards list. His career with the Rams spanned the years 1994-2007. Bruce was a two-time Rams MVP, a 4-time Pro Bowl selection, and one-time All-Pro selection. Bruce's #80 has been retired. Perhaps his greatest moment as a Ram was catching Kurt Warner's 73-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIV - giving the Rams a 23-16 lead - which turned out to be the game winner.
Honorable Mention - RB - Steven Jackson, DB - Aeneas Williams, WR - Torry Holt, LB - London Fletcher
Rams' Mount Rushmore - 2014-2028
DE - Robert Quinn - Quinn was selected by the Rams in the 1st round (14th) of the 2011 NFL draft. In 2013 (his 3rd with the Rams) Quinn had a true breakout season: 19 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Quinn earned both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. Quinn has 34.5 sacks in his brief career. He'll be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
WR - Tavon Austin - Austin was the Rams' 1st round selection (8th) in the 2013 NFL draft. Austin achieved modest statistical results for the Rams in 2013. Statistics tell only a small part of the story. Austin electrified Rams fans with his speed, athleticism, and open-field running. He will be a dangerous playmaking weapon for the Rams in the coming seasons. A human highlight reel for the ages.
LB - James Laurinaitis - Laurinaitis just completed his 5th season with the Rams. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL draft, and made the 2009 NFL All-Rookie team. Laurinaitis was the Rams' leading tackler in each of his first four seasons, and finished 2nd behind Alec Ogletree in 2013. Laurinaitis' career statistics include 634 tackles, 9 interceptions, 12 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 31 passes defended. He is the leader of the Rams defense, has started every game in his career, and should continue his consistently high standard of play for many seasons to come.
RB - Zac Stacy - Stacy - a 5th round draft pick in 2013 - became a rookie sensation for the Rams, rushing for 973 yards and 7 TD's. Stacy only became the starting running back in the 5th game of the season, versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. Stacy should have many 1,000 yard rushing seasons in his future.
Which Rams players would YOU place on "Mount Rushmore" in these two time periods, as iconic symbols of football greatness?