On a day written in blue and gold, the record crowd of 58,186 was in an uproariously cheerful mood. They helped the Rams write a little sports history.
They roared for the Rams pre-game warm-up, cheered to the smart formations of the Francis Howell North High School Band and overwhelmed the ending of the National Anthem sung by the St. Louis Children's Choir.
"It's fabulous to be in the midst of all this ruckus again," said Bill Yore of St. Peters, a former follower of the old football Cardinals. "This beats the living you-know-what out of football on TV."
Football fans had waited since Dec. 13, 1987, to see a home team on home turf. Here's what they got Sunday for their patience — a 17-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints, big plays by cornerback Todd Lyght and safety Keith Lyle, fireworks and bouncing cheerleaders — all under glorious 74-degree sunshine.
Ten minutes after the 17-13 final, Steve Chapman of Carterville, Ill., stayed in his seat with his son, Lance, 13, and his girlfriend, Jackie Sanders. Chapman said he had to scrape to get the money for his permanent seat licenses and season tickets.
"Believe me, we are not rich people," Chapman said with a big smile. "But this was worth every penny. No doubt about it."
And with that one single game in Busch Stadium of all places, the St. Louis Rams began.
With all the ceremony and circumstance required to herald the arrival of NFL football, St. Louis welcomed the country's premier entertainment vehicle in proper fashion.
And the NFL welcomed them into the fold as deserving, welcome hosts.