"You could point to that as the turning point," he says. "Particularly in light of what Dallas did with the Herschel Walker trade. Dallas did a great job with all the picks they got for Herschel Walker but the Rams didn't with the picks they got for Dickerson.
"Just the fact they were losing--whether Dickerson being gone was the reason or not--contributed to the team looking elsewhere. . . . Had they won and been more entertaining, I think it would have been more difficult to leave.
"When you're losing, the abuse the front office takes, the press criticism the owner takes . . . Finally, you say, 'Geez, we aren't loved here. Absolutely, I'm going to entertain an offer from St. Louis.' "
Dickerson, who helped force the trade by suggesting Coach John Robinson "go run 47-Gap" during one angry rant with reporters, says he now looks back on the trade with regret.
"If things had worked out, do I wonder what would have happened? Of course I wonder," Dickerson says. "Go to the Colts? I didn't want to go to the Colts. I wanted to go to the Redskins. But the Colts were the only option the Rams gave me. They said, 'You go there or you stay here.' "
Years later, Dickerson says former Ram teammates told him that Robinson "would say to them, 'It was just a mistake. It was just a bad move to trade Eric.'
"I'm sure it was. I really didn't want to leave the Rams. I just felt like staying there, there was going to be so much animosity. I guess I was angry, they were angry. I thought it was best that I left, even though I didn't want to go."
4. Walter O'Malley hadn't invited Carroll Rosenbloom up to Dodger Stadium for a look-see?
In the mid-1970s, Dodger owner Walter O'Malley and Rosenbloom scheduled a meeting at Dodger Stadium. O'Malley gave Rosenbloom the grand tour. He showed Rosenbloom the land the city of Los Angeles had presented the Dodgers when they moved west in 1958. He outlined the negotiations of that sweetheart deal in exacting detail for Rosenbloom.
When Rosenbloom walked away from the meeting, Klosterman remembers him saying, "Don, I can't believe it. The Rams didn't even get a decent practice facility when I bought them. Look at what the city gave Walter O'Malley! Can you believe the Rams got nothing in return?'
"Because of that meeting, Carroll got his hackles up--'I'll show you, I can make a deal, too.' Because of that meeting, he decided to go out and make a deal to move the team to Anaheim."
Klosterman frowns and slowly shakes his head:
"Biggest mistake we ever made."
When the Rams moved their home games to Anaheim Stadium in 1980, "we had 60,000 season ticket holders and sold off almost all the suites," Klosterman says. "But we lost that flair. We lost Los Angeles. How we gave up the No. 2 market in the United States . . . "
Klosterman's voice trails off as he shakes his head again.
"I'll never forget. We were driving down to Anaheim for the press conference and someone said to Carroll, 'L.A. is a city of 10 million people. There's going to be somebody who's going to move in there.'
"Carroll said, 'Aw, they'll never do. They'll never do it.'
"Sure enough, you saw what happened."
By 1982, the Rams had neighbors to the north, with the Raiders occupying the Coliseum. But Davis never truly committed the Raiders to Los Angeles. To Davis, the Coliseum was just an oversized time-share--and a fixer-upper at that. The Raiders' roots in Los Angeles barely penetrated the topsoil.
But the Rams had a history here. According to Klosterman, "If the Rams had stayed in L.A., we'd have worked something out with the city of Los Angeles. Somehow.
"What a mistake it was to leave Los Angeles. A tragedy. And then to see the Raiders come to town--and they leave. And then the Rams leave.
"That earthquake we had here in 1994? That was no earthquake. That was just Carroll turning over in his grave."
5. Irwindale had built its stadium and been allowed to decorate it in silver and black?
The city of Irwindale now views its flirtation with the Raiders in the late 1980s as a costly--$10 million costly--mistake. But Tom Flores, the former coach of the Los Angeles Raiders, believes the Raiders would still be playing in the Southland if the Coliseum Commission hadn't blocked Davis' path to Irwindale.
"I thought that was great," Flores says of the Irwindale stadium proposal. "In fact, I think it was a big mistake that the city of Los Angeles did not allow Irwindale to build a stadium. That set football back in Los Angeles.
"Had they done that, L.A. would still have a football team, and they'd have a state-of-the-art stadium with freeway access and the beauty of the San Gabriel mountains, the whole thing."