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No, the Rams did not “sell out for one Super Bowl championship”

Non-Rams fans keep rooting for the Rams to fail, conveniently ignore history

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams Championship Parade Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently if you don’t become the worst team in the NFL before you get to the Super Bowl, you’re not doing it right.

It’s been interesting to watch how NFL fans have reacted to the moves of the Los Angeles Rams over the last few years. Yes, the “f picks” narrative is an earned reputation for Rams general manager Les Snead, as L.A.’s run of seven straight years (and eight by 2023) without using a first round pick is remarkable, stunning, and unprecedented. For all of 2021 following the trade for Matthew Stafford, I think we all saw how non-Rams fans were actively rooting against the franchise and hoping to witness a car crash instead of a Super Bowl win in their home stadium.

When they didn’t get their wish and Snead’s strategy resulted in a championship, the first ever to be had in a team’s own digs, Rams fans got a temporary reprieve from having to hear about how “bad” that strategy would work out for L.A.. That reprieve lasted for maybe 24 hours, at most.

Before the parade hit the streets of Hollywood, non-Rams fans were already back in full court press for rooting for Sean McVay’s demise and praying for anything other than a “run it back” campaign. They were desperate to build another narrative, that the Rams won the Super Bowl “for no fans”...

But reality was much different than the media and Twitter spin to try and make the Rams look like “losers” just days after they had outlasted the 31 NFL teams that did not win the Super Bowl.

I have not seen any other NFL franchise get as much hate as the Los Angeles Rams have gotten in the last 24 months, except for maybe the New England Patriots...but that only came after about three or four Super Bowl championships, an undefeated regular season, and ESPN/national media’s constant focus and attention paid to the most famous and successful quarterback in NFL history. I get the hate for the Yankees. I get the hate for the Patriots. I get the hate for the Cowboys.

I do not understand why people have taken it so personally that the Rams decided to trade some late first round picks for Jalen Ramsey and Stafford because they thought it would make the team better. And then it did.

Now that non-Rams fans have gotten their wish to see the plan backfire after winning the Super Bowl, it’s like millions of people are running their own parade back in L.A.’s face and doing their best to erase 2021 from their memories as if it never happened. I assure you that not only did the Rams win the Super Bowl last season, but that they actually also won a lot of games with McVay prior to 2021.

Why is that people are perfectly okay with the how the Cincinnati Bengals got to the Super Bowl (with a former McVay disciple running the offense) but act as though L.A. cheated the system and are now paying the price? All because the Rams made a bold trade last offseason to acquire a franchise quarterback after having already had four winning seasons, one Super Bowl appearance, and consistent offensive entertainment in McVay’s first four campaigns.

During Sean McVay’s first four seasons with the Rams, the Bengals went 7-9, 6-10, 2-14, and 4-11-1, a combined record of 19-44-1. They used the 2-14 record to draft Joe Burrow, then the 4-11-1 record to pick Ja’Marr Chase. There’s no question that those back-to-back top-five picks currently rank as one of the best draft combinations in any team’s history and even I am excited to watch Burrow-to-Chase for many years to come. Those picks also did not come without a cost, but for some reasons fans like to forget the past and merely focus on the times that a top-five pick isn’t a bust.

In that same period of time, McVay coached the Rams to records of 11-5, 13-3, 9-7, and 10-6, a combined record of 43-21, reaching the playoffs three times, ranking first, second, 11th, and 22nd in scoring, and usually giving Rams fans a product worth watching. What were the main catalysts towards L.A.’s four successful seasons under McVay from 2017-2020?

It sure wasn’t trading all those picks up to get Jared Goff. But “trading the picks” is all anyone wants to remember, so I’ll remind you:

  • Signing Andrew Whitworth is one of the best free agent moves of the 2010’s
  • Signing Robert Woods is one of the best free agent moves of the 2010’s
  • Drafting Cooper Kupp is one of the best third round picks of my lifetime
  • Getting Aaron Donald in the 2014 draft changed the entire landscape of the NFC West and the conference
  • Todd Gurley, a pick I heavily criticized in 2015, was actually a great decision, even if the decision to extend him was the wrong move
  • Trading two first round picks for Ramsey, picks that ended up being relatively late day one choices that have delivered almost no value to the Jaguars, helped Snead add the best cornerback of his era to the Rams defense
  • Prior to Ramsey, getting Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters was brilliant strategy that helped the Rams get to the 2018 Super Bowl and the timing to part with them for Ramsey was even smarter

I could keep going down the line, but I think that sums up the heart of the explanation for how the Rams went 43-21 with a Super Bowl appearance and a 2020 wild card win even before Snead and McVay acquired Stafford.

Now let’s talk about how the Rams catapulted their roster from being “pretty good” to going 12-5 in the regular season, then defeating Kyler Murray, Tom Brady, Kyle Shanahan, and Joe Burrow in four straight postseason games.

The trade for Stafford has ended up being the cost of one 32nd overall pick in 2022 (nobody takes issue with that, right?) and a 2023 first round pick that will admittedly fall somewhere in the top-10, at least. It’s interesting that you can use the number one and number five picks in the draft to pick players before you get to the Super Bowl (Burrow, Chase), but somehow there’s something “stupid” about trading two future first round picks (of combined lesser value) before you win the Super Bowl.

The Bengals used picks one and five and they got to the Super Bowl.

The Rams used picks 32 and maybe pick five and they won the Super Bowl.

Narratives. They interest me.

On top of the trade for Stafford last year, the Rams then traded second and third round picks for Von Miller, a move that was mostly praised at the time, even if some called it “piling on” and then Miller clearly helped move the needle for L.A. to complete their mission of winning it all. What exactly is wrong with that?

The addition of Odell Beckham, Jr. on top of that last season cost the Rams nothing. Nothing! And also helped L.A. win the Super Bowl. Should the Rams feel bad about the fact that OBJ wanted to play for the Rams?

But now that the 2022 Los Angeles Rams have had the absolute worst injury luck that I’ve ever heard of in my life, making history with the number of offensive line combinations that a team has used through 15 weeks, losing the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year, seeing Aaron Donald miss games with injury for the first time in his career, and finally shutting down Stafford with head and neck injuries, non-Rams fans see their opportunity to strike, pounce, and proclaim that somehow Snead and McVay’s strategy that resulted in TWO Super Bowl appearances and one championship...


And yet if the Rams had instead gone 2-14, 2-14, 6-10, and 5-12, then got to the Super Bowl by “doing it the right way,” that would be a success.

It just seems like the Rams are taking their lumps after winning a championship rather than tanking before and praying that they’re lucky enough to even reach a Super Bowl at all. The vast majority of terrible teams will never get that far. The Rams were one of the best teams in the NFL for five seasons and while this year has been nothing but pain, nothing will erase what got them into a scenario where fans could even be disappointed.

There’s nothing disappointing about the Texans, Browns, Falcons, Bears, Panthers, Cardinals seasons. It’s just par for the course. The Rams aren’t separated by many years from the last time that they were also an afterthought instead of the franchise that so many fans seem to have beef with and are actively rooting against.

In that way, it’s better to be hated. But at least we should ask that the haters know what they’re talking about and to be rational in their criticisms. The Rams did not “sell out” to simply win one Super Bowl.

Since you forgot, they were good before last season and they could very well be good again next season.