It's been a tough couple of years for football fans in St. Louis. Not only have we been disgusted with the Rams' on-field performance during the last two dismal seasons, but this week we have learned it is highly possible that our team could be stripped away from the city in a few years. Needless to say, things look pretty bleak. If we look closely enough, there are some signs of hope and some reasons for optimism. Here is why being a St. Louis Rams fan might not be as bad as it appears to be.
1. The Rams Probably Won't Leave:Any plans to forcibly remove the Rams from St. Louis and relocate them to Los Angeles will be doomed by both the bad economy and by the general apathy of sports fans there. The team's owners will quickly realize that St. Louis is one of the few cities in America with loyal fans that will support a team as far down in the dumps as the Rams have been.
2. Dave Checketts's Promise: The eccentric Salt Lake City based owner of the NHL's St. Louis Blues promised to put together a group of investors to buy the Rams and keep them here. Usually when a businessman makes promises, they can't be taken seriously enough to renew optimism. However, Dave Checketts has made other promises to citizens of St. Louis that he's actually delivered on. He promised to turn the mostly terrible Blues into a playoff-caliber team, and they did, indeed, make the postseason this year. He promised to revitalize and open the historic Kiel Opera House in downtown St. Louis. By all indications, the opera house will open this summer. Checketts has proven to be, if anything, a man of his word. If he says he can keep the Rams in St. Louis, we have no reason not to believe him.
3. The New Coach: It is difficult to read an interview with Steve Spagnuolo and not believe that he, at least a little bit, knows what he's talking about. The way he is restructuring the team makes a lot of logistical sense. His experience in producing winning defensive strategies, his offseason beefing up the offensive line, and his plans to make Steven Jackson's talents the center of the offensive attack should guarantee at least a little bit success.
4. No Major Felons: The Rams have officially gone another week without trying to sign either Michael Vick or Plaxico Burress to a contract. Beyond Internet rumor-mongering there has been no official sign that they're ever going to do so. Surely, this is good news for anyone who wants to take their family to a Rams game and tries to tell their kids the team is worthy of rooting for or looking up to.
5. They Will Win More Games This Year Than Last Year: I'm not foolish enough to predict that the Rams will be a Super Bowl champion or even a major playoff contender this year. In fact, I'm reasonably sure they won't be. When a team is being restructured, results like that generally take some time. However, I am quite sure that the "west coast offense" will make the Rams significantly better.They might even win as many games as they lose this year. Such an amazing turnaround will solidify the Rams local support, which in turn should convince whoever owns the team that to move them anywhere else would be a financially disastrous decision.
So, let's cheer up a little, fellow Rams' fans. This is certainly going to be an interesting year for us, and it won't do our team any good to sit around hopeless and depressed. Remember, it could always be worse... at least we're not Lions fans.