Of all NFL franchise, NFLbets dares say that none have a more interesting history than the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are the most-relocated team and in 2022 became just the third team to have won Super Bowls in two different cities; the Rams are also the only team to have one NFL titles in three cities. They were also the first NFL team to integrate racially, the first to sport logos on helmets and the first to be traded for a whole other team. Despite a long history of relative success, however, the one constant for the Rams, with exceptions now and then, is the team’s general inability to win in the playoffs…
Just two Super Bowls have pushed on the point spread: Green Bay Packers -14 vs New England Patriots in XXXI and St. Louis Rams -7 vs Tennessee Titans in XXXIV.
The franchise currently known as Los Angeles Rams Football Inc. has a history spanning back to 1937. Since that first season in the NFL, the Rams have moved from Ohio to the West Coast to the Midwest and back to Cali for a total of three relocations – four if you count the years played in Anaheim while still posing as the “L.A. Rams.”
If not exactly thriving, the Rams survived the late 1930s and through the war years (though temporarily suspending operations for the ’43 season), running up a cumulative record of 25-49-2 from ’37 through ’44, while never finishing higher than third in a five-team division.
The Cleveland Rams suddenly blossomed into greatness when quarterback Bob Waterfield returned from military service to play in 1945, however. Split end Jim Benton was the no. 1 receiver in the NFL’s top-flight passing attack – imagine 226 attempts in just 12 games – and went for a mind-blowing 303 yards receiving on Thanksgiving Day to set a single-game mark that would stand for 40 years. The season ended with the Rams sneaking by Washington, 15-14, and earning their first-ever NFL championship.
Citing financial difficulties, ownership proposed moving the team to Los Angeles for the following season. The proposal was accepting by NFL officials with the proviso – encouraged by California sportswriters – that the new L.A. Rams would be permitted to play if only the team allowed African-American players onto the roster. Thus did the 1946 Los Angeles Rams begin play with barrier-breaking RB Kenny Washington.
After three years of .500-level play, the Rams made it to the 1949 title game with Waterfield in his last year as a starting QB. The Rams lost 14-0 that year to the Philadelphia Eagles and 30-28 the next to the Cleveland Browns; but in his second year as starting QB, Norm Van Brocklin helped get the *Los Angeles* Rams into the winners’ circle for the first time in defeating the Browns, 24-17. Unfortunately, the team wouldn’t see real postseason success again for some time to come.
The 1960s and 70s teams are perhaps those still most associated with the expression “Los Angeles Rams.” These were the times of the original Fearsome Foursome (Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy), Hall of Famer Roman Gabriel and quarterback and George Allen on the sidelines. Unfortunately, the star power didn’t translate so well in the win-loss column: From 1960 through ’73, the Rams had seven winning seasons, four seasons of 10-4 or better and three postseason bids – for a cumulative 0-3 SU/ATS playoff mark.
Bizarrely, in 1972, the entire Rams franchise was traded (!) to temporary Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom for that franchise. Though the business deal did not yet affect the team’s fate in any way, its ramifications would be felt dramatically decades later.
For 1973, Chuck Knox took the coaching reins and reinstituted the dominant defense-first mentality of the franchise. Olsen was joined on the defensive line by Jack Youngblood, Fred Dryer and Larry Brooks. These Rams took seven consecutive NFC West titles and finally broke through into Super Bowl XIV – though by this time Ray Malavasi was head coach. From ’73 through ’80, the Rams had been in eight straight postseasons for a 6-8 SU/7-7 ATS mark in playoff games.
The John Robinson Era, which saw the Rams make the playoffs six times within seven years in the 1980s – but a brutal 4-7 SU/ATS showing in playoff games – could not stop the inevitable desire of owner-by-inheritance Georgia Frontiere to relocate the franchise. The now-familiar battle with Frontiere demanding a new stadkum for the team either in Los Angeles or Anaheim was all posturing, and she soon moved the club back to her native city. And so, 1995 saw the creation of the St. Louis Rams.
The mediocrity established in the early 90s in L.A. continued through 1998 in St. Louis. The 1999 season had the new team’s fans cautiously optimistic, with Marshall Faulk coming over from the Indianapolis Colts and young QB Trent Green arriving from Washington. Only Green was injured in the preseason, thus putting the future of the team on a grocery-store clerk who’d last played pro ball in the Arena League, a dude by the name of Curt Warner.
Of course, 1999 turned out to be a magical season for the St. Louis Rams, as the “Greatest Show on Turf” put on display one of the greatest NFL offenses ever; Warner & Co. even torched the sportsbooks that year, ultimately going 16-3 SU in all games and 14-4-1 ATS, with the push coming in the Super Bowl XXXVI. The Rams won a thriller in that Super Bowl and returned two years later, only to suffer one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history at the hands of those plucky upstarts, the New England Patriots.
After that, well … the team’s ties with Warner were ineffably cut and the St. Louis Rams threatened to redefine mediocrity in the 21st century. The bottoming-out came in the five-year span between 2007 and ’11 in which the Rams managed three wins or fewer four times. Frontiere died in 2008 and, despite having signed a 30-year lease agreement on the Dome in St. Louis in 1995, the writing was again on the wall.
Dumbshows aside, the sign that the return to Los Angeles was all but done could be seen as far back as 2012 and the hiring of Jeff “The Human Anesthesia” Fisher. Fisher sleepwalked a young bunch through several .500 seasons, camera-hogged in a season of “Hard Knocks” and, by the time he was fired in 2016, tied the all-time mark for losses by a head coach. Fisher was 31-46-1 SU/37-40-1 ATS in his tenure as coach. Between the Super Bowl loss in 2002 and the end of the ’16 season, the Rams had enjoyed a total of one winning season and a 1-2 SU/ATS mark in the playoffs.
Post Fisher, the Rams hired wunderkind Sean McVay and the winning has been like … well, really, never before in this franchise’s history. In his first five years as head coach, McVay’s Rams were profitable for bettors and fun for fans at 55-26 SU/43-35-3 ATS – plus an impressive 7-3 SU/5-5 ATS record in the playoffs. In keeping with the oddities that seem to always follow this club, though, the team made an odd bit of history in Super Bowl LVI when, in beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, the Rams became the first favorite of 5 points or fewer to win outright but lose ATS. Crazy!
A twisting and turning road through four cities and 10 decades of NFL football has led the Los Angeles Rams back to the West Coast, where they’ve finally become a viable option for NFL bettors both in the regular season and the postseason. And for as long as they stay in L.A., you can get tips, picks and predications on the Rams right here at NFLbets…