Ah 2010. Things were falling in place for the St. Louis Rams.
Hometown hero Stan Kroenke had purchased the remaining 60% team from the children of former owner Georgia Frontiere. The Rams drafted former Heisman Trophy-winning Sam Bradford out of Oklahoma to solve the franchise QB issue for the next decade. And Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and General Manager Billy Devaney were putting together all the pieces for an extended multi-year playoff-swamped era.
But at least for season, it was all looking just right. The Rams would miss out on the playoffs with a Week 17 loss in Seattle. Considering that was the closest the Rams have been to the postseason since the end of the 2004 season, it's fair to look back on 2010 fondly. And perhaps nothing exemplifies that season better than Bradford winning the 2010 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
No, Bradford didn't have the kind of overwhelming resume for the award we might have hoped for, but it was still plenty to deservingly pick up the OROY especially given that he played all 16 games a season after spraining his shoulder at OU and especially given what ended up going down in 2013 and 2014.
Was it all downhill from there? Perhaps. Sam's return to form in 2012 wasn't horrible and it certainly gave Jeff Fisher's first season as Rams Head Coach some luster that subsequent seasons have lacked.
But I had this creeping into the last ranked spot over some other worthy candidates for the fleeting feeling of real, rational optimism that started with Sam Bradford being selected #1 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and making good (temporarily) on the promise of a better tomorrow for a St. Louis Rams fan base that desperately needed it.