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And 32 Years Later … Rams Win the NFC West*

December 24th, 2017 · No Comments · NFL, Rams

* – L.A. Rams only

The last time a team named the “Los Angeles Rams” won the NFC West division title?

In 1985. In the one and only season of the Dieter Brock Era.

A long time ago, then. A very long time — 32 seasons, actually.

Which means fans of the current, L.A.-based Rams have permission to wildly celebrate the club clinching the division title today with a 27-23 victory away to the Tennessee Titans.

From 1986 forward, the L.A. Rams were not necessarily hapless.

Their main problem was being in the same division as the San Francisco 49ers, who had Joe Montana at quarterback, followed by Steve Young … and Bill Walsh, followed by George Seifert, at coach.

And some guys named Jerry Rice and Ron Lott, too.

The whole of the NFL had trouble keeping up with those guys; the 49ers won the Super Bowl five times from 1981 through 1994. They also won the NFC West 11 times during that 14-season span. That meant the Rams were almost always chasing the guys in red.

The Rams were competitive through the 1980s — they just could not finish ahead of the Niners, aside from 1985, when they advanced to the NFC title game.

Their timing was not auspicious. The 1985 season was when Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears produced their suffocating “46” defense, and the Rams (who were more Eric Dickerson’s team than Dieter Brock’s, of course), were limited to 130 yards as the Bears throttled them 24-0 at frigid Soldier Field.

In 1989, with Jim Everett at quarterback and John Robinson still the coach, the Rams returned to the NFC title game, despite being a wild card, only to suffer through the “phantom sack” game.

It was downhill from there. Five losing seasons followed (the final three under Chuck Knox) and somewhere in the 1991, 1992 time frame owner Georgia Frontiere began considering/planning a move to a new stadium in St. Louis, and the club disappeared to Frontiere’s hometown after the 1994 season.

The “St. Louis club” mostly reeked, poking up its head for a brief time around the turn of the century, before settling into its own funk (no division titles from 2004 through 2015) that ended today with the Rams at 11-4, having slain the Seattle Seahawks beast, behind coach Sean McVay and running back Todd Gurley.

Celebrate as much as you like. (In France, we broke out the Champagne though, to be honest … a party here corresponded with the victory.)

Might want to get it done soon, because the Rams face a certain old foe, the 49ers, in the final game of the regular season, and the Niners have been reborn since the arrival (from New England, for a second-round pick) of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is 4-0 as a starter for a team that had been 1-10.

Uh-oh. Did someone say “the new Joe Montana”?

Yes. Celebrate now. Right now.


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