The NFL’s St. Louis Rams have called three different cities home. The club, which presently resides in St. Louis, Missouri, was established in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams. The Rams now play in the West Division of the National Football Conference (NFC).
Originally, the Cleveland Rams were part of the American Football Conference. The franchise, which was founded by attorney Homer Marshall, took on the nickname of the Fordham Rams, a college that had spawned so many tough football players. The Cleveland Rams played in the American Football League for one year, joining the NFL in 1937.
They played in Cleveland until 1945 and then moved to Los Angeles where they resided from 1946-1994. In 1995, the Rams moved back to the Midwest; this time to St. Louis.
The team has been a member of various divisions and conferences. In 1937, they became associated with the Western Division of the NFL. In 1950, they moved to the National Conference where they remained through 1952. They were assigned to the Western Conference in 1953. They played in the NFL West until 1969, spending from 1967-1969 in the Coastal Division. In 1970, when the NFL merged with the AFL, they became members of the NFC West. Despite moving to the central part of the nation, they are still in the West Division.
The Rams have earned 15 Division titles (NFL West 1945, 1949; NFL Coastal 1967, 1969 and NFC West 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985, 1999, 2001, 2003). Despite dominating the NFC West in the 1970s, they could not win a Super Bowl. They also took the NFL Coastal (1967, 1969) and NFL West (1945, 1949) twice each. They won conference titles six times, with three NFC Championships (1979, 1999, 2001), two NFL National (1950, 1951) and one NFL Western (1955). They’ve won three league crowns—two NFL Championships in 1945 and 1951 and Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999.
The Rams have appeared in three Super Bowls. Their first was Super Bowl XIV (1979). The then Los Angeles Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19. Super Bowl XXXIV featured the St. Louis Rams versus the Tennessee Titans. The Rams were victorious 23-16. Two years later, the heavily favored Rams were upset by the underdog New England Patriots 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.
The team has called seven different fields home. They occupied Cleveland Municipal Stadium various times (1936-1937, 1939-1941 and 1945). Between stints at Cleveland Municipal, the Rams played at League Park (1937, 1942 and 1944-1945) and Shaw Stadium (1938). In California, they first resided at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1946-1979) and then at Anaheim Stadium (1980-1994).
They played in two separate venues while in St. Louis. First, for the first half of the 1995 season, they were in Busch Memorial Stadium. During the second half of the 1995 season, they moved into their present home. From 1995-2000, the venue was known as the Trans World Dome and then in 2001 it was renamed the Dome at America’s Center. Since 2002, it’s borne the name Edward Jones Dome.
A total of thirteen players, coaches and executives associated with the Rams have been elected to the Hall of Fame. They include the multifaceted Bob Waterfield (1945- 1952), past owner Dan Reeves (1941-1971), defensive tackle Merlin Olson (1962-1976) and defensive end Deacon Jones (1961-1971 Rams, 1972-1973 San Diego Chargers and 1974 Washington Redskins).
Bob Waterfield was a quarterback, defensive back, place kicker and punter. He played with the team from 1945-1952 and then coached them from 1960-1962. He earned a QB rating of 61.8, having thrown 97 touchdowns. His passes covered a total of 11,849 yards. A member of the NFL 1940s All-Decade team, Waterfield was a two-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro. He played on two NFL title teams.
Merlin Olsen, who played his entire career with the Rams, was the third overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft. Olsen played in 208 games, earning 94 sacks and making one interception. He later had a successful broadcasting and acting career. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 14 times and elected to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, 1970s All-Decade Team and the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Deacon Jones, who was a teammate of Olsen’s, was one of the most feared defensive ends in the league. In 190 games, he earned 173.5 sacks and grabbed two interceptions. An eight-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, Jones was selected as a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the 1960s All-Decade Team.
Dan Reeves owned the Rams for thirty years. He moved the club to California and was the first NFL owner to sign African-American players. In 1946, he contracted minority athletes Kenny Washington and Woody Strode. Strode was an actor also. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in Spartacus.
Currently, the team is owned by Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and Stan Kroenke. The general manager is Jay Zygmunt. Scott Linehan, former offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins, has been the Rams head coach since 2006.