St. Louis Rams: Eric Dickerson

We wrapped up the weekly series featuring the NFL's most memorable plays by team and you'll soon have the opportunity to vote for the most memorable plays in the league as a whole but before moving on, I wanted to offer a few of the other suggestions you all made here on ESPN.com and on Twitter as options for the Rams.

When we first opened the discussion, the three plays that you all nominated from the 1999 season were the first ones to come to mind. Ultimately, you all overwhelmingly suggested that trio of plays. But there were some other good ones deserving of mention. Without further ado, here's a glance at some of the options that were also presented.

Vince Ferragamo to Bill Waddy for a 50-yard touchdown to beat Dallas -- 1979 NFC divisional playoffs: After an injury to quarterback Pat Haden midway through the season, Ferragamo took over and promptly led the Rams to wins in four of their final five games to make the playoffs at 9-7. There, they had to face a Cowboys team that had been a thorn in their side. With about two minutes to play and trailing 19-14, Ferragamo found Waddy for the 50-yard game-winning touchdown. It was a momentous occasion in franchise history and spurred the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance. Had they not fallen short in that Super Bowl, this play might have been a slam dunk for the top three.

Norm Van Brocklin to Tom Fears for a 73-yard touchdown to beat Cleveland -- 1951 NFL title game: Long before Isaac Bruce's 73-yard Super Bowl winning catch, the Rams had another big play from the same distance in a championship game. This time, it was Van Brocklin to Fears for 73 yards to knock off the Browns by a score of 24-17. Coincidentally, the Rams beat the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV 23-16. Kind of eerie, right? This was a game winner in the biggest game the league had at the time. You can't help but feel if it had happened more recently it would have rated higher with voters.

Any number of runs by Eric Dickerson, especially in 1984: There were many suggestions of simply picking one of Dickerson's many great runs throughout a Hall of Fame career. And many focused on his record-breaking 1984 season when he rushed for 2,105 yards or his 248-yard game against Dallas in the playoffs. There's certainly a strong case to be made for Dickerson's inclusion, but the lack of a big play or performance in a championship setting made it difficult for him to crack the list.

Trent Green suffers a season-ending knee injury against San Diego -- 1999 preseason game No. 3: This was one of the more macabre suggestions offered, but I liked the line of thought because this was the play that set into motion a chain of events that resulted in the Rams' win in Super Bowl XXXIV. Green was the team's big free-agent signing, the choice of coordinator Mike Martz to run his high-powered offense. And Green looked the part in the exhibition season before Rodney Harrison took him out at the knees. The result was a torn ACL and a missed season. Coach Dick Vermeil then famously put his faith in unknown quarterback Kurt Warner and the rest, as they say, is history.

All told, there was a lot to choose from here and you can't go wrong with many of the plays offered. There were even some plays going against the Rams that could have been nominated. Either way, it was a fun project. Thanks to all of you for participating.

Revisiting Rams' Mount Rushmore

February, 17, 2014
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In light of LeBron James' discussion of the NBA's version of Mount Rushmore last week, I took a shot at compiling a Rams version. I included players from all eras and found it a difficult exercise given the many great players and coaches through the franchise's history.

When all was said and done, I settled on a foursome of defensive end Deacon Jones, defensive tackle Merlin Olsen, running back Marshall Faulk and quarterback Kurt Warner. I gave a detailed explanation of each choice here but when boiling it down I looked at it from the perspective of telling the story of the franchise with four faces.

To me, that means having the defining eras of Rams football represented. The Fearsome Foursome and the Greatest Show on Turf are the most famous eras of the franchise. That isn't to take away from the guys who didn't play in those eras but I'm not sure the best story of the Rams can be told without those. Hence, both of those eras are equally represented on my Mount Rushmore.

But because this isn't something that comes with a definitive right answer, I wanted to open it up to my Twitter followers to see what they thought. In all, 38 people responded and the results were a little bit different than my quartet.

Here's the final tally from the kind respondents on Twitter:

Deacon Jones - 26
Isaac Bruce - 21
Jack Youngblood - 20
Marshall Faulk - 19
Kurt Warner - 17
Eric Dickerson - 16
Merlin Olsen - 12
Orlando Pace - 6
Elroy Hirsch - 4
Jackie Slater - 4
Norm Van Brocklin - 3
Dick Vermeil - 1
Torry Holt - 1
Henry Ellard - 1
Mike Jones - 1

Using those results of this relatively small sample size, the fans choice for a Mount Rushmore of Rams would be Jones, Bruce, Youngblood and Faulk.

I can't say I was surprised by the choice of Bruce and Youngblood, both of whom were right there with Dickerson as my toughest omissions. I was, however, a bit surprised to see Olsen trailing behind as much as he was. I suppose Jones gets the lion's share of the publicity for his work with the Fearsome Foursome but Olsen's accomplishments are matched by few players in the league, let alone in franchise history.

Really, you can't go wrong with any of the names above and all of those mentioned have rightfully earned a place in the memory of Rams and football fans everywhere.

Building the Rams' Mount Rushmore

February, 14, 2014
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Earlier this week, Miami Heat forward LeBron James made it clear that he intends to land on the NBA version of Mount Rushmore before his playing days are over.

Which is to say James believes he will be one of the four greatest players in league history, placing him next to Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. He's probably right. Barring major injuries, James absolutely has a chance to go down as one of the best ever.

Like anything, though, comparing players in any sport across eras is an inexact and difficult science. So when I set about trying to come up with a Rams version of Mount Rushmore, I figured it'd be a little easier than doing one for the entire sport.

I was wrong.

If I limited the choices to strictly the team's history in St. Louis, things would be a little easier. Quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, tackle Orlando Pace and receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce are the only real options. Cutting one of them would be difficult but not as difficult as choosing four from the franchise's rich history.

Alas, I gave it my best to come up with four deserving players and attempted to balance the Los Angeles greats with the St. Louis legends and simply come up with the best quartet possible.

Ultimately, my opinion is that the Rams' history has been best defined by two phenomenal eras, one on offense and one on defense. That's the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis and the Fearsome Foursome in Los Angeles. To me, that means both sides should be equally represented here.

Without further ado, here's my version of the Rams' Mt. Rushmore. I'd love to hear your answers in the comments.

No. 1 -- DE Deacon Jones
This one is an absolute no-brainer. The Hall of Famer was one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL and served as the face (and mouthpiece) of the Fearsome Foursome. Had Jones played in the modern era, he likely would have gone down as one of sport's biggest superstars. A case can be made for different names in each of the next three spots but this is one that shouldn't even be up for consideration.

No. 2 -- DT Merlin Olsen
In many ways, Jones' larger than life presence overshadowed the unadulterated greatness of Olsen. But for as much as Jones benefited from playing alongside Olsen, the opposite was equally true. Olsen went to the Pro Bowl a record 14 times, missing it a grand total of one time in his career. The Fearsome Foursome was great because it featured a quartet of dominant players, but Olsen and Jones were two of the most dominant defensive players of that or any era. I also considered Jack Youngblood for this spot as a way of spacing out the history of the franchise but Olsen's credentials are just too good to ignore.

No. 3 -- RB Marshall Faulk
This is where things get difficult. When I started looking at this, I knew immediately that a running back had to make the list. The choice comes down to Faulk or Eric Dickerson. Certainly, an argument could be made for Dickerson, who had the most prolific rushing season in league history with the Rams in 1984. And Dickerson had more rushing yards as a Ram than Faulk in a shorter period of time with the team.

Tipping the scales in Faulk's favor were two factors impossible to overlook: First, he was the key cog to taking the Rams to a world championship and his ability as a receiver and pass blocker were unlike any back that came before him, Dickerson included. Faulk's 470 catches for 4,071 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns with the Rams dwarfs Dickerson's 123, 912 and two.

No. 4 -- QB Kurt Warner
For the record, I changed the name in this spot multiple times before going with my first instinct here with Warner. The nature of Warner's journey is an irreplaceable element in the ultimate story of the Rams franchise. His rise from little-known Arena League quarterback to two-time MVP and Super Bowl champion is not only one of the great stories in Rams history but also the NFL.

Compared to the rest of the list, the sample size is small as Warner's star only shined for three seasons in St. Louis. Because of that, I gave strong consideration to longtime Rams mainstays such as Bruce, Jackie Slater and Pace. Ultimately, Warner's meteoric three years were too good and too important to the organization's history to leave out.

Honorable Mention: Bruce, Dickerson, Pace, Jackie Slater, Elroy Hirsch, Norm Van Brocklin, Dick Vermeil, Bob Waterfield, Youngblood.
ST. LOUIS -- In all sports there are many athletes who never reached their respective pinnacles. Some of the greatest players in football, baseball, basketball and more never won the big one. Beyond that group, though, is another group of all time greats who never even so much as had the chance to win the big prize.

With the Super Bowl approaching this week, ESPN put together a list of 24 players who fit that category, great players who never had the chance to play on the stage of the Super Bowl. The list isn't necessarily the 24 greatest players never to reach the Super Bowl though it certainly includes some of the best. It also includes interesting characters and stories that would have made for some great fodder in the buildup to the game.

Two legendary Rams made the list as well as a popular St. Louis football icon. Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson and Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones represent the Rams, while Hall of Fame offensive lineman Dan Dierdorf represents the football version of the St. Louis Cardinals.

It really is a shame that Dickerson and Jones never got the chance to play in the Super Bowl, especially Jones. Jones, who passed away last year, was a force of nature on and off the field. While he became one of the league's most popular players because of his on-field dominance, he also had personality to spare. Imagine Jones in today's NFL when sacks are kept as an official statistic and microphones are easy to find. Jones in a Super Bowl now would be one of the most interesting combinations you could find in sports.

Dickerson has always been willing to speak his mind on a variety of topics -- just last week he expressed his emotions over Justin Bieber's arrest -- and also would have been a big hit on the big stage.

Beyond that, let's face it, the Rams were rarely dominant enough during Jones or Dickerson's careers to merit a lot of national attention or opportunities for people all over the country to see them. That's not to say they were unrecognized or underrated, just that they were special talents that deserved the chance to play in the biggest game football has to offer.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Monday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we took a look at where the most successful quarterbacks come from in the draft and how that shapes the Rams approach to this year's draft. ... Next, we hit on the next in the series of NFL Nation Confidential with the reactions from players to the poll question "Would you play in a Super Bowl with a concussion?" . ... Next, we hit No. 3 on the plays that shaped the season list with a look at a long touchdown run from San Francisco back Frank Gore in week 4. ... Finally, we looked back at how the two Rams who made the Pro Bowl fared in this year's contest.

Elsewhere:

Here's Redskins reporter John Keim's news story on the results of the NFL Nation Confidential survey question.

Columnist Jeffri Chadiha writes that players should be more aware of possible health issues moving forward.

The Super Bowl mega chat featured players, coaches, analysts and more discussing all things NFL. Former Rams receiver Torry Holt was one of the participants.

At stltoday.com, columnist Bernie Miklasz takes a look at some reasons he believes Rams fans should root for Seattle in the Super Bowl.

Miklasz also offered up eight story lines to watch this week in New York/New Jersey.
ST. LOUIS -- Legendary St. Louis Rams running back Eric Dickerson has long made it known that he would like neighbor Justin Bieber to get off his lawn or, at least, off his roads.

Pop star Bieber was arrested early Thursday morning in Miami and charged with drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.

According to CNN, Bieber was originally pulled over because he was driving his yellow Lamborghini about 55 to 60 miles per hour in an apparent race against a red Ferrari in a residential Miami area.

Dickerson took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to let it be known that he was happy to see Bieber's dangerous driving finally taken into the hands of law enforcement.



Last year, Dickerson made it known that he had seen Bieber regularly driving fast around his Calabasas, Calif., neighborhood.



ESPN analyst and neighbor Keyshawn Johnson also made his feelings known about Bieber's arrest.



So there you have it, for now former star football players in the Calabasas community can sleep a little easier.
ST. LOUIS -- Over at stltoday.com, columnist Bernie Miklasz chronicled the thoughts of legendary Rams running back Eric Dickerson on Los Angeles as a viable football market.

Putting it mildly, Dickerson is not a fan of Los Angeles as a football market. He played in Los Angeles from 1983 until a 1987 trade landed him in Indianapolis. In those four years, the Rams were competitive and Dickerson was one of the league's most productive backs.

As Miklasz points out, Los Angeles had plenty of reasons to support the team during Dickerson's time there. According to Dickerson's comments, originally made to TMZ, Los Angeles simply isn't a market that can consistently support the NFL from year to year.

“First of all, L.A. don't deserve a team,” Dickerson told TMZ. “They ain't gonna support it.”

The relocation discussion as it pertains to the Rams is one that figures to linger until owner Stan Kroenke says something publicly or the Rams reach a resolution for a new stadium or a renovated Edward Jones Dome.

Making any bold proclamations about the team's future home is folly at a time when nobody is really saying much of anything. The Rams' lease at the Edward Jones Dome expires at the end of next season. Regardless of Dickerson's thoughts, the Los Angeles market doesn't offer any obvious solutions on the stadium front right now either.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Friday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we examined Mel Kiper Jr.'s hindsight selections of the 2008 NFL draft. ... Next, we looked at the three former Rams who made the list of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ... From there, we looked at the many questions surrounding the team's offensive line heading into the offseason. ... Finally, it was time for draft analyst Kevin Weidl's look at the NFC West and the Rams' draft needs.

Elsewhere:

More at stltoday.com, Jim Thomas discusses the Rams making the No. 2 pick available in trade again.

Columnist Joe Strauss says the Rams don't have the luxury of just hoping for improvement in 2014.

Miklasz says the Rams could be even younger in 2014.

Foxsportsmidwest.com provides a look at the team's needs heading to the offseason.

Turf Show Times has a breakdown of the Rams' largest salary cap numbers for this season.

Dickerson offers wisdom for Rams RBs

September, 25, 2013
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In the long history of the Rams whether in Los Angeles or St. Louis, they have had their share of franchise running backs, the one bell cow capable of carrying the load.

One of the originals was Eric Dickerson, the back who essentially set the bar for all future Rams running backs. The past met the present and future Tuesday afternoon with Dickerson in town for Thursday night's game against division rival San Francisco.

Dickerson attended the team's practice Tuesday and spent some time with the team's youngest and, by extension, most unproven position group. With no Marshall Faulk or Steven Jackson to be found in that meeting room, Dickerson was the most knowledgeable running back in the room the moment he walked in.

After Tuesday's practice, I asked Dickerson what he thinks of a group that includes second-year backs Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead, along with first-year backs Chase Reynolds, Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham. It's no surprise that Dickerson is waiting for one of those guys to become the most reliable option. It's strange to see a team without one but as of right now, that's the hand the Rams have dealt.

"I think one guy has to emerge," Dickerson said. "That’s how it comes, that’s how it works. One guy has to step up and be that guy and take that load on and make the big plays and make the big catch and make the difference. That’s what it’s all about. I think one of those guys will do it or they will get a guy that will do it."

Upon Jackson's departure to Atlanta in the offseason, the Rams made it clear they liked the mix they had in place, adding rookies Stacy and Cunningham to the drafted duo of Pead and Richardson in 2012. Although the offense was being built around quarterback Sam Bradford, Dickerson still sees the need for a reliable ground option.

"I still believe in the running game," Dickerson said. "The league has turned into a passing league but the running back is still a big part of a football game. If you can run the football, I think you can dominate a game still, especially if you have a quarterback and we have a quarterback here."

The idea, of course, is that adding a solid run game can keep defenses honest and allow the quarterback -- in this case Bradford -- more opportunities through the air. Dickerson said he spoke to the running backs a little bit about the importance of the Rams-Niners rivalry. He didn't necessarily remind them of the opportunity that's there waiting to be seized.

"I think they know that," Dickerson said. "When you play that position as a running back, all of them, it’s a position that you play with pride and you have a little arrogance within yourself of ‘Hey, I’m the best guy, I’m the guy that should be playing.’ They may never say it but you feel it. You have to prove it. That’s the thing, you have to go out and prove it."

As Dickerson points out, the time for waiting has passed. There almost certainly isn't a Dickerson, Faulk or Jackson in the bunch but there's clearly an opportunity for a back, any back to step up and take control of a big opportunity.

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