Randy Seaver is at it again with his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Here is the mission I’ve accepted – even though I’m a little late to the party:
1) What is your favorite National Football League team? Why are you a fan of this team? How long have you been a fan of your favorite team?
2) What is the genealogy of your favorite team? When did it start playing, what leagues has it played in?
3) Have you worked for the team in any capacity, or attended games? What is your best memory of your favorite team’s history?
4) Predict the score of the Ravens-49ers game on Sunday.
Ok – for starters, I’m not really a fan of professional football on any level. However, I grew up in Atlanta so I guess the Falcons would be my first choice.
But they’re boring.
So I picked the St. Louis Rams. They have quite a history! They began in 1936 as part of the American Football League in Cleveland, Ohio. They were called the Rams after Fordham University – as a tribute to the football players that came out of that university. The following year, the Rams joined the National Football League. In 1943, the team had to sit out the entire season because of a shortage of players during World War II. In 1945, the Cleveland Rams won their first NFL Championship over the Washington Redskins. That was their last year in Ohio.
In 1946, the team was relocated to Los Angeles. The Rams were the first team to sign an African-American player – Kenny Washington – and ended racial segregation in the NFL. In 1948, halfback Fred Gehrke painted horns on their helmets, and the professional helmet emblem was born!
The team made their home at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until 1979, when they made their first appearance in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, they didn’t win. The following year, they relocated to Anaheim Stadium, just outside of Los Angeles, where they stayed from 1980 until 1994.
1982 turned out to be an especially bad year for the Rams. The season was shortened by a strike, causing the Rams to have the worst record in the conference – and the Oakland Raiders moved into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, effectively cutting the Rams’ fan base in half. After another players’ strike in 1987, the team hired replacement players (referred to as the Los Angeles Shams). Even when the regulars returned after the strike, the team simply couldn’t get it together.
In 1995, the team relocated to St. Louis. Unfortunately, their record remained the worst in the conference until 1999, when the team achieved their first Super Bowl victory against the Tennessee Titans, in what some call “the best Super Bowl ever.”
The team made another Super Bowl appearance in 2001, but lost to the New England Patriots. It would be their last Super Bowl appearance to date. Due to management issues, the death of the Rams’ owner, sale of the team, and a couple of injury-laden seasons, rebuilding the team to its former glory is a task that continues to date.
As part of their “genealogical story,” I wanted to show the team’s migration pattern:
Ok, so now I’m supposed to predict the score of today’s Super Bowl. My scientific analysis goes like this … the Baltimore Ravens have better team colors (purple is my favorite), so I’m going to say the final score will be: Ravens – 33, 49ers -19.
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