I'm sure you've heard the news by now that Rams majority owner Georgia Frontiere has been hospitalized in LA for an undisclosed illness. Naturally, TST wishes Ms. Frontiere a speedy recovery.
For all the complaints we have about this team, legitimate ones too, Georgia helped bring football back to St. Louis. And despite some relatively lean years of Rams football, the present era included, they did win a championship, played for another, and enjoyed several memorable seasons of good football.
Update [2007-12-12 10:44:58 by VanRam]: Apparently, Frontier has been in poor health for some time, and, without intentionally sounding morbid, this raises concerns about what will happen to the Rams. The fact of the matter is there are a number of scenarios, and because it involves matters of wills and trusts, I’m hesitant to delve into it because so much of it would sound like wild speculation.
Let’s fuse the coaching and the ownership subjects for a moment. Linehan got a legitimate vote of confidence this week from team president John Shaw. Love it or hate it, Linehan’s back for at least another season. In yesterday’s post, the matter of player motivation came up in pointing out sustained errors in execution by the players on the field. Maybe the long, losing season has taken its toll on a battered bunch, but poor execution has been a problem since the first game of the season, when questions about lack of playing in preseason could be cited. Both are legitimate concerns. In the comments yesterday, Kevin wondered about the effect of St. Louis’ less than memorable record with the NFL in town, with neither the Cardinals nor the Rams having much in the way of dynasties. It’s a good point, and makes you wonder about the effect that might have on the individual players. However, the core players on this team still have Super Bowl memories, so there should be plenty of praise for winning in the locker room.
Whatever changes are made next season – and implementing a true front office football operation ought to be atop the list – the Rams need to build a team that can sustain a winning record for several years. Dynasties are tough to come by in the NFL these days. It’s easier to win a Super Bowl than it is to take a team through five or more years of a winning record. And while the Rams, or anyone else for that matter, probably won’t match what we’ve seen from the Patriots through the last eight years (a true dynasty rivaling only a few European houses of royalty in longevity), putting together a decade filled with more winning seasons than losing seasons is indeed possible. In today’s NFL, there’s no reason in the world a team should be in the tank completely for more than a couple years, which only serves to highlight the anemic Rams operation of the last six years or so.
This is the only way to keep football in St. Louis. As you know, St. Louis is a baseball town, with the Cardinals perched at the top of the city’s leisure time priorities, even in the wake of a miserable season and another one on the horizon. By building a winning tradition, the Rams will bring in a much larger base of foundation fans – people like us – who will bring along another generation of fans and ensure the team’s long term economic viability. Right now, with the Dome sold out to passionate Packers fans this week, the Rams leadership just doesn’t seem committed to winning, and if that doesn’t change, then there’s no point keeping the team here.
Update [2007-12-12 11:55:34 by VanRam]: Chip Rosenbloom, for those of you wondering about the various scenarios for the Rams should anything happen to Frontiere, is Carroll Rosenbloom and Georgia's son. Would he receive Frontiere's share of the team? Nobody knows. Bernie Miklasz from the PD will discuss the situation in his Thursday column. Stay tuned.