Good times, bad times for Rams over 21 years at the dome
ST. LOUIS — The Rams host Tampa Bay on Thursday night in what could be the team’s final home game in St. Louis as NFL owners weigh the possibility of allowing the franchise to move back to Southern California.
A rundown of the good, bad and ugly for the Rams over 21 seasons in St. Louis:
Winning seasons — 4
Coaches — 8 (counting interim coaches Joe Vitt, Jim Haslett)
Best seasons — 1999, Super Bowl championship; 2001, lost in Super Bowl
Worst seasons — 1-15 in 2009; 2-14 in 2008 and 2011
Best first-round pick — Orlando Pace, 1997
Worst first-round pick — Lawrence Phillips, 1996
Worst trade — Jerome Bettis to Steelers for draft picks in 1996 to make room for Phillips.
Three best home games:
— RAMS vs. VIKINGS, Jan. 16, 2000: The stadium has seldom been louder than the first playoff game in St. Louis in the Super Bowl title year, when the Rams blew out the Vikings behind the offense dubbed "The Greatest Show on Turf." The Rams led 49-17 before letting off the gas and the Vikings made it look semi-respectable with three late TDs in a 49-37 final.
— RAMS vs. BUCCANEERS, Jan. 23, 2000: Ricky Proehl made a clutch 31-yard touchdown catch down the sideline, cradling the ball in his arms, for the go-ahead score in an 11-6 victory over Tampa Bay in the NFC championship game. The Rams sacked Shaun King five times, had two interceptions and forced a safety in a defensive struggle. The defense picked up Kurt Warner, who threw three interceptions before making the key toss.
— RAMS vs. PACKERS, Jan. 20, 2002. In the 2001 playoffs leading up to the second Super Bowl, the Rams intercepted Brett Favre six times, returning three for touchdowns, in a 45-17 rout over the Packers. Aeneas Williams had two of the returns, a 29-yarder to open the scoring and a 32-yarder to help seal it in the fourth quarter.
Three worst home games:
— RAMS vs 49ERS, Oct. 22, 1995. San Francisco linebacker Ken Norton Jr. punctuated a 44-10 rout at Busch Stadium in 1995 by punching goal posts, then criticized his opponents as the "same old, sorry (expletive) Rams." The Rams had been 5-1 in their new city, often relying on trick plays, but lost eight of their last 10, including the last three at home.
— RAMS VS. PANTHERS, Jan. 10, 2004. Steve Smith was untouched on a 69-yard TD pass in double-overtime in the division round of the playoffs, ending the Rams’ last winning season on a somber note. St. Louis erased an 11-point lead in the final 2:39 and played for a tie to get it to overtime. "I was very sure about the decision and don’t regret the decision," Mike Martz said. Fans sat in stunned silence after Smith broke free.
— RAMS VS. VIKINGS, Sept. 7, 2014. Last year, great hopes for a turnaround season were immediately muted when the Rams got whipped 34-6 by the Vikings in the opener. Minnesota led from start to finish, intercepted Shaun Hill and Austin Davis once apiece and had five sacks. Hill started in place of Sam Bradford, who was lost for the second straight year with a knee injury, this one coming in the preseason.