A player having their number retired by the franchise that they spent their career with is one of the greatest honors in professional sports. Eight legendary players have seen their numbers retired by the Rams’ franchise throughout their history in both Los Angeles and St. Louis:
7 (Bob Waterfield), 28 (Marshall Faulk), 29 (Eric Dickerson), 74 (Merlin Olen), 75 (Deacon Jones), 78 (Jackie Slater), 80 (Isaac Bruce), and 85 (Jack Youngblood)
Teams can only retire so many numbers before they run out entirely. However, there are a few key names missing, some of which I’ll be getting to very soon. The question that should arise from what should be a lively debate is who deserves to have their number retired next? That was a question posed by TST’s very own Twitter account nearly two years ago.
What’s a number not yet retired by the Rams, that you believe should’ve been retired a long time ago?— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) September 16, 2021
Before anyone says Aaron Donald, the whole point is to choose between players who have already retired. Mr. Donald’s number will be retired soon enough. Stay patient and enjoy the rest of the man’s career. Anyways, the first one that should come to mind is Kurt Warner’s #13. Currently, that number has been assigned to rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett.
The player who had that number before Bennett was none other than John Wolford. Oh no, I hope I’m not sensing a pattern here. Either way, it’s a little odd that the QB who helped win the team’s first title still has his number available. Then again, Warner only had two truly elite seasons with the Rams, being named an MVP and making a Super Bowl appearance in both of those campaigns. Other than that, he didn’t retire as a Ram so is he truly deserving of such an honor with an uneven tenure in St. Louis?
No, the Rams shouldn’t retire 13. Warner retired a Cardinal. Even as someone from STL area-I’m fine with this. (fwiw I don’t like retiring numbers unless it’s someone seriously goated like AD) https://t.co/41uJj74yg1— Koll_0ne (@Koll_0ne) May 5, 2023
With Warner left waiting, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce are the only two members of the Greatest Show on Turf to have their numbers retired. Not even Bruce’s partner in crime Torry Holt, a man disrespected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame on an annual basis. For some reason, not even Orlando Pace either. In his prime, Pace was considered one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play and was the GSOT’s anchor, paving running lanes for Faulk. The Hall of Famer voiced his displeasure with the organization back in 2020 when his #76 was given to then-rookie offensive guard, Tremayne Anchrum.
Nothing against Tremayne. I wish him nothing but the best . This speaks to the disconnect between the organization & Rams tradition— Orlando Pace (@OrlandoPace_HOF) April 30, 2020
The cultural disconnect Pace is referring to is the Rams owner doing everything he possibly can to erase all traces of St. Louis from the record books. If Stan Kroenke were to do that, toss out the first Lombardi Trophy then. Honoring the past is nothing to be ashamed of. Kroenke should know every elite offense in LA will be inevitably compared to the Greatest Show on Turf. Well he likely doesn’t care now that his Nuggets are in the NBA Finals.
Bitterness aside, there are other candidates that are quite deserving. Wide receiver Elroy Hirsch, aka the original Cooper Kupp, had 17 touchdown receptions in an era that wasn’t as passer friendly as today’s NFL.
Happy birthday to the late great “Crazy Legs” Elroy Hirsch! It would have been his 99th birthday. A legendary offensive weapon and HOFer. His 1951 season of 1495 receiving yards and 17 TDs (22.7 yards per catch) in only 12 games was historic! A Rams legend pic.twitter.com/Xl9MHJmmyq— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) June 18, 2022
Elroy Hirsch is one of the 10 wide receivers selected to the #NFL100 All-Time Team!— NFL (@NFL) December 21, 2019
2x First-Team All-Pro, 3x Pro Bowl selection
1951 NFL Champion
387 receptions, 7,029 receiving yards, 60 receiving TDs pic.twitter.com/QsPWjOl6NK
Out of any of these players, my vote is on Orlando Pace. He might not be in LA lore like Kroenke would prefer but Pace was the engine that kept the GSOT running like a well-oiled machine for three dominant years. Besides, who can say no to this face?
Its Orlando Pace, the greatest CFB O-Lineman of all time. pic.twitter.com/UnIykLw8eN— (@mcroomenhouth) May 22, 2023
Those pancakes have made me very hungry but what other players have I missed that deserve to have their numbers retired next by the Rams?