This week for Theme Week across the SB Nation NFL landscape, we’re looking at records. The best records. The most memorable. The most record-y.
The Los Angeles Rams are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the league. Now 71 years in from Cleveland to LA to St. Louis and now back to LA, the Rams have racked up all kinds of records across the NFL along with their own franchise records.
But there are three that seem pretty impossible to ever be topped save for a radical changing of the NFL rulebook.
3.) The franchise record for most seasons played for the Rams
From 1997-2008, LT Orlando Pace manned the left tackle spot with Hall of Fame-quality play. His 12 seasons seem like a very long time to lock down a job let alone the starting job as an offensive tackle.
Those 12 years are barely more than half the franchise record for the most seasons in a Rams uniform, and that record also belongs to an offensive tackle.
Jackie Slater played his rookie season in 1976 after being selected in the third round of the 1976 NFL Draft. In 1995 in the franchise’s first year in St. Louis, Slater was still out there grinding at 41-years old.
Twenty seasons in a Rams uniform. Twenty.
Given the nature of free agency in the modern era and the sheer punishment of the game along with the physical growth of players (Slater played right tackle at 277 pounds; current starting RT Rob Havenstein is nearly 60 pounds heavier), I don’t see how anyone in this sport could last 20 years anymore except perhaps a kicker but even then the position is fickle enough that K Greg Zuerlein who was on pace to break the NFL single season scoring was facing calls for his release after the 2015 season.
Twenty seasons. Only Slater and Washington CB Darrell Green hit the 20 season mark with the same team.
2.) Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record
In 1984, ED ran for 2,105 yards. Since then, five running backs have topped 2,000 yards, but none have caught ED. With the switch to the current rule structure that prevents defensive contact with receivers after five yards along with the tuck rule combined with the market for running backs, it’s gonna be tough for anyone to get enough action to get back there. Just two of the seven 2,000-yard seasons have taken place since that momentous rule switch in 2004. And one was playing under Fisherball.
The future is now.
But the #1 unbreakable record for the Rams is...
1.) Steven Jackson’s franchise rushing record
Over the course of nine years, Steven Jackson faced near 11-man boxes carrying the load for some horrible Rams teams. They still couldn’t stop him.
With eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Jackson took the franchise rushing crown topping 10,000 yards in horns. It’s a record that’s going to hold for years to come...and no I haven’t forgotten about RB Todd Gurley.
JTG’s a beast. Had he played in Week 17, he likely would have finished with the rushing crown with well over the 1,305 yards he finished with. But to catch Jackson, he would need more than five full healthy seasons with the same output on the ground...which is something I don’t think the Rams are interested in. Remember, they signed RB Lance Dunbar last year and drafted RB John Kelly this year. They’re clearly interested in using Gurley less overall to save his brilliance for more quality and less quantity. And that means, well, less rushes. Less rushing yards. Less exposure to harm.
Jackson’s brilliance wasn’t the luminosity of his performance. It was how long the spark lasted. There won’t be another running back for the Rams to top that total in this era of pass-first football.