Half a century ago, Southern California got the Rams because the owner of the franchise was dissatisfied with his financial situation in the Midwest.
Sometimes, what goes around really does come around.
The Cleveland Rams won the 1945 NFL championship, upsetting a Washington Redskins team led by the legendary Sammy Baugh, 15-14. After the game, owner Daniel F. Reeves petitioned the league to move to Los Angeles.
Initially, most NFL owners and league officials opposed the move. But when Reeves proved to them that he had lost $50,000 during the 1945 championship season, they gave him permission to move and the Rams became the West Coast's first NFL franchise.
Today, $50,000 might not cover the phone bill run up by the parties hammering out the deal that probably will send the Rams to St. Louis, but the bottom-line business of pro football obviously has changed very little in 50 years.
The Ram franchise, on the other hand, has seen more than its share of upheaval during its stay in Los Angeles and Anaheim, first under the reign of Reeves, who died of cancer in 1971. The next year, Robert Irsay bought the team from Reeves' estate and \o7 traded \f7 it to Carroll Rosenbloom for the Baltimore Colts. When Rosenbloom died in a swimming accident in 1979, his widow, Georgia, became the majority owner.
They've had their quarterback controversies. Ranging from the sublime--Van Brocklin vs. Waterfield--to, well, Pat Haden vs. James Harris. Now it has come to Chris Miller vs. Chris Chandler, the winner each week decided by whoever is ambulatory.
They've had their coaching controversies, too. How about George Allen? Reeves fired him after a 10-3-1 1968 season and then rehired him two weeks later in the face of a player mutiny. Two years later, Allen became head coach of the Washington Redskins. In 1978, Rosenbloom rehired Allen again. . . for two weeks. He fired him after the second exhibition game.
The Rams have won a few big ones on the field, but mostly they have seen their hopes squashed on the spongy grass of San Francisco's Candlestick Park, the frozen turf of Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium and under the friendly Southland sunshine at the Coliseum and even the Rose Bowl.
Few longtime Ram fans will ever forget images of the steam billowing above the heads of huffing Ram defensive linemen after another fox-and-hare chase of Viking quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Or the agony of another playoff loss on another frigid afternoon in Minnesota.
Or Dallas running back Preston Pearson sprinting under Roger Staubach spirals as the Cowboys flashed the scoreboard lights to the tune of a combined 65 points in the 1975 and '78 NFC Championship games. Or Dallas' "Doomsday Defense" allowing the Rams a total of seven points in those two games.
Or Dieter Brock bouncing passes 10 yards short of Ram receivers with another Super Bowl berth on the line on a blustery day in 1985 when the Rams were shut out, 24-0, by the Bears at Chicago's Soldier Field.
Or Eric Dickerson gaining 16 yards during another playoff drubbing, the 51-7 loss to Washington in 1983.
Or how about Ram quarterback Jim Everett throwing himself onto the ground in the fetal position when the nearest 49er was three yards away during a 30-3 loss to San Francisco in the 1989 NFC Championship game?
There are, however, a few season-ending high points for the Los Angeles Rams' highlight film. They won their first championship in 1951 when Van Brocklin and Tom Fears teamed up for a 73-yard scoring pass play to beat Cleveland, 24-17.
And in 1967 and '69, they won the now extinct Playoff Bowl, a matchup of the second-place team in the Eastern and Western conferences, beating Cleveland, 30-6, and Dallas, 31-0.
But most Ram memories tend to be measured in degrees of bittersweet.
The Rams haven't had a sniff at the playoffs in the '90s, but they made regular appearances in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Eight times they were one victory short of a spot in the Super Bowl.
They made it once.
Two days before Christmas in 1967, the Rams were overmatched in Green Bay; the Packers scored three rushing touchdowns and sacked Ram quarterback Roman Gabriel five times on their way to a 28-7 rout in the conference title game.
Two days after Christmas in 1969, the Rams shook off the effects of Minnesota temperatures that hovered in the high teens and had a 20-14 lead with 12 minutes to play. But Viking quarterback Joe Kapp orchestrated a long, time-consuming drive and scored from one yard to keep the Rams out of another Super Bowl.
In 1974, '75 and '76, the second, third and fourth seasons of Chuck Knox's first stint as head coach, the Rams won 32 games, lost nine and tied one.
In 1974, a Lawrence McCutcheon fumble on the Minnesota 19-yard line and an interception of a Harris pass inside the Viking five spelled disaster during a 14-10 NFC Championship game loss in Minnesota.