What were a few of the highlights from the Rams’ first foray into Los Angeles?
Here’s a look:
One and done
The Rams played in Los Angeles from 1946-94. Their .549 winning percentage was the seventh-best in the league over that span.
The 1951 Rams were Los Angeles’ first pro sports champions. They went 8-4 in the regular season and defeated the Cleveland Browns for the league title, 24-17. The Rams had previously lost to the Browns, 38-23 in Week 2.
Those Rams had two great quarterbacks -- Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield -- who combined for 26 touchdown passes. Van Brocklin also set a single-game regular-season record for passing yardage (554 yards) that still stands. It was Van Brocklin who threw the winning touchdown, a 73-yard throw to Tommy Fears in the fourth quarter.
“It climaxed a constant stream of breaks, thrills and spills, which left the record-breaking crowd of 59,475 limp with excitement,” wrote Bob Myers of The Associated Press.
It marked the only championship the Rams won in Los Angeles.
The only MVP
Who was the only Los Angeles Rams to win league MVP? You might guess it’s running back Eric Dickerson.
But it’s not. The only Rams player to win MVP while the team was in Los Angeles was quarterback Roman Gabriel in 1969. Gabriel was the star during a four-year run (1967-70) in which the Rams went 41-10-3. He led the NFL with 24 touchdown passes during his MVP season. But the Rams could not hold a 20-14 lead and fell to the Vikings 23-20 in the divisional round.
During that four-year stretch, the Rams did not win a playoff game.
One trip to the big game
The 1979 Rams were not necessarily the best team of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, but they got the closest to a championship of any of them. Those Rams overcame a 4-5 start and won five of their last seven games.
They then won on the road against the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to advance to Super Bowl XIV. The Rams led the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-17 entering the fourth quarter, but a long touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth and a Jack Lambert interception turned the tide of that game, an eventual 31-19 Steelers’ win.
The unexpected star of the team was quarterback Vince Ferragamo, who replaced injured starter Pat Haden and went 4-1 as his replacement. Ferragamo was held in high regard by Rams fans for carrying the team down the stretch, and throwing the late fourth-quarter touchdown pass to beat the Cowboys.
Maybe the most talented player in Rams history was Dickerson, who ran for 1,808 yards as a rookie in 1983 and then broke the then-NFL record by rushing for 2,105 yards in 1984.
Dickerson averaged 112 rushing yards per game in his first four seasons in the league. His 6,968 yards are by far the most by a running back in his first four seasons in NFL history.
The Rams traded him to the Indianapolis Colts in 1987 and he played through 1993, finishing with just more than 13,000 yards. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Flipper Anderson game(s)
The name Flipper Anderson brings a smile to Rams fans faces on a couple of fronts. One comes from the memory of his winning touchdown pass against the New York Giants in the 1989 divisional playoff.
Anderson caught Jim Everett’s throw along the sideline, sprinted to the end zone and kept on running through the tunnel to the locker room. It was the last memorable moment of the season for the Rams, who lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship the next week.
The other game to remember came earlier that season when Anderson broke the single-game receiving yardage mark with 336 in an overtime win over the New Orleans Saints.
Anderson played seven seasons with the Rams, averaging better than 20 yards per reception.
That 1989 Rams team marked the end of a pretty good run. From 1973 to 1989, they made the playoffs 14 times.
The last few years for the Rams were ugly. Following that trip to the NFC title game in 1989, they went 23-57 over the next five seasons.
The team moved to St. Louis in 1995 and the struggles continued until Kurt Warner came along in 1999. He led the former Los Angeles team to a Super Bowl title.