10 memorable moments from the Rams’ 21 years in St. Louis
How sweet it was -- until it wasn't
The Rams had some memorable moments during their 21-year tenure in St. Louis, highlighted by the franchise's only Super Bowl win following the 1999 season. But it wasn't all Greatest Show on Turf. They also endured a miserable stretch in which the team won only 15 games in a five-year span.
AFP/Getty ImagesTIMOTHY A. CLARY
1995: Welcome back, NFL
Eight years after the Cardinals moved to Arizona and left St. Louis without an NFL team, the city lured the Rams to town with the brand new Trans World Dome.
AFP/Getty ImagesPETER NEWCOMB
1996: The Bus rolls out of town
Jerome Bettis was the big one that got away. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in Los Angeles, but he dipped to 637 yards in 1995 as the Rams moved to St. Louis. Bettis was shipped to the Pittsburgh Steelers for two draft picks in 1996 and went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Steelers while his replacement, Lawrence Phillips, had a checkered career marred by a string of off-field transgressions.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
1997: Dick Vermeil arrives in St. Louis
Two years after the Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis, Vermeil -- a coach who had taken Philadelphia to the Super Bowl -- ended a 14-year retirement and replaced Rich Brooks. He went 9-23 in his first two seasons before breaking through with a Super Bowl victory in his third season and retiring again.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
1999: Kurt Warner's magic ride
Warner wound up the surprise starter when quarterback Trent Green suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Warner, who had plied his trade in NFL Europe and the Arena Football League after stocking shelves at a supermarket in Iowa, engineered a rags-to-riches tale by throwing for 41 touchdowns en route to winning NFL Most Valuable Player honors. Warner culminated his fairy-tale season by earning Super Bowl MVP honors.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesLutz Bongarts
1999-2005: The Marshall plan
Marshall Faulk was among the league's top running backs during his first five years in Indianapolis, but he blossomed into a superstar after the Rams acquired him from the Colts in 1999 in exchange for second- and fifth-round draft picks. Faulk was ideal back for the high-powered Rams offense, amassing a total of 59 touchdowns over his first three years to help St. Louis make a pair of Super Bowl appearances. He retired after the 2005 season and became a Hall of Famer.
Sporting News via Getty ImagesThe Sporting News
2000: Super Bowl XXXIV champions
The Rams went from 4-12 in 1998 to 13-3 and Super Bowl champions at the end of the 1999 season. In just five years, owner Georgia Frontiere had brought St. Louis a title.
ZUMA PressBOB LEVERONE TSN
2000: Next coach up, Mike Martz
Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator in 1999 and the brainchild behind the Greatest Show on Turf offense that produced more than 500 points in each of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons. He was a natural choice to take over when Vermeil retired following the Rams' Super Bowl XXXIV victory. Martz took the team back to the Super Bowl two years later and made the playoffs again in 2003 and 2004 but was fired during the 2005 season.
Sporting News via Getty ImagesThe Sporting News
2002: Shocked by the Patriots
Seeking their second Super Bowl title in three years, the Rams were expected to easily dispatch the New England Patriots, who were 14-point underdogs. The Patriots carried a 17-3 lead into the fourth quarter, only to see the Rams rally to tie it with 90 seconds left in regulation. The Patriots refused to play it safe, and Tom Brady moved them downfield for Adam Vinatieri's game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired.
2010-14: Sam Bradford not enough bang for the buck
The reward for a wretched 1-15 season in 2009 was the top overall draft pick in 2010, which the Rams used to select quarterback Sam Bradford out of Oklahoma University. Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million contract that included $50 million in guarantees. He finished 18-30-1 in five injury-plagued seasons before he was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for fellow quarterback Nick Foles following the 2014 season.
Getty ImagesJeff Zelevansky
2010-present: Stan Kroenke and Jeff Fisher take over
Stan Kroenke (right) was approved as the new owner of the Rams on the eve of the 2010 season and made it known that he planned to keep the franchise in St. Louis. Coach Jeff Fisher (left) was hired prior to the 2012 season to turn around the team's fortunes, but he has yet to have a winning record in his four seasons while Kroenke has spent the past year trying to convince the NFL hierarchy to allow him to relocate to Los Angeles.