The Rams finished the 2011 NFL season with an abysmal record and attendance at the
warehouse in St. Louis Edward Jones Dome reflected that. I cannot completely blame St. Louis fans for not showing up in the end . . . the team SHOULD have been 0-16 for goodness sake! But 31st out of 32 teams and an average attendance of 56,394 is terrible even for a terrible team. Let’s not forget that while the Rams were not exactly tearing it up in 2010, they were in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final game of the season and there was a great deal of hope that the franchise had turned the corner. As a matter of fact, many people were predicting that the Rams would be the 2011 NFC West champions! Again, going back to the 2010-2011 offseason no one was predicting that the Rams would be Super Bowl contenders like, say, the Packers, Saints, or Patriots, but most thought that they would be a solid team. One would think that with high expectations, the Rams would see a modest (if not significant) attendance boost. Well, think again.
The Rams meddled at around 29th, 30th, and 31st in attendance throughout the year and even when there was still some lingering hope that they could have a successful season. Can you blame fans for staying away at the end? Definitely. Can you blame them for staying away at the beginning of the season? Yes, you’re damn right I can. This is why I make the claim time and time again, St. Louis has AWFUL football fans. Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team are incredible (even though most of the past decade they were outdrawn by the LA Angels and LA Dodgers), but the town just doesn’t seem to care about the Rams or the NFL. I cannot tell you how many boards I visit where people from St. Louis are openly wishing that the team would move away! Sure, we in California wanted Georgia to go away in the 1980s and 1990s, but NEVER the Rams. The St. Louis (football) Cardinals failed in St. Louis and the St. Louis Rams are failing as we speak . . . hopefully the NFL takes notice and does not place another team in that city any time soon. It seems to me that the NFL and Stan Kroenke have finally realized this simple fact by committing the team to playing 3 “home” games in London from 2012-2014. I am sure Londoners will at least be able to outdraw St. Louis and give the Rams organization the money it needs to succeed. The only reason the Rams attendance in the past few years has not been even worse than it has been is due to the mechanisms in place that help teams at the gate (think PSLs) despite lack of fan interest. No matter what Kroenke and the NFL do in the future, it does not change the simple fact that people are just indifferent towards the Rams in St. Louis and that in the next couple of years it would not be surprising in the least if the Rams drew an actual crowd of 11,795 like the St. Louis (football) Cardinals did in 1987.
I would hope that the Rams would cancel their London games in 2013 and 2014 if they were to move to Los Angeles in time for the 2012 or 2013 season, HOWEVER, it may not be a terrible thing if they kept those games on the schedule while playing temporarily at the LA Coliseum or Rose Bowl before the new stadium is complete. Sure, the fans may not like it too much, but what better way to build the LOS ANGELES Rams brand name than to get people interested outside of the United States? Nothing would make me happier than to see people with LA Rams merchandise while traveling abroad like I do with the LA Lakers and NY Yankees.
There is one last thing: the St. Louis media had the Jeff Fisher story all wrong . . . he did not want assurances that the team was going to stay in St. Louis, but assurances that the Rams were going to move HOME to Los Angeles. Happy Friday everyone! 🙂