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Top 10 St. Louis Rams in NFL History
They are the only NFL team to win championships in three different cities. Today I rank the top 10 St. Louis Rams of all time.
10. Norm Van Brocklin
"The Dutchman" was one of the leagues first great passing quarterbacks.
A fourth round pick in 1949, Norm Van Brocklin split time with veteran Bob Waterfield in his first few seasons. in 1950, Van Brocklin helped the Rams set new records for offense and he and Waterfield finished as the first and second rated passers in the league. In 1951, he set the NFL record for most passing yards in a game with 554. The record still stands today nearly 60 years later. That same season, Van Brocklin came in late in the NFL Championship to throw the game winning touchdown pass to Tom Fears.
Van Brocklin left for Philadelphia in 1958 until he retired in 1960. In his career, he was a nine time pro bowler, led the NFL in passing three times and in punting twice, and the only starting quarterback in history to win an NFL Championship with two different teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
9. Jackie Slater
He was one of the most durable offensive lineman ever to play.
After blocking for Walter Payton in college, Jackie Slater became a third round pick in 1976. Although used primarily as a backup and special teams player during his first three seasons, Slater became the starting right tackle in 1979. That year the Rams went to Super Bowl XIV, where he successfully defended L.C. Greenwood from getting a sack. In the 80's, he blocked for Eric Dickerson as he broke the season rushing record for rookies in 1983 and the single season rushing record the next season. Slater was seen as most consistent lineman on one of the best offensive lines of the 80's.
Slater retired in 1995 as a seven time pro bowler, five time All-Pro, and the first player to play 20 seasons with one team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
8. Elroy Hirsch
"Crazy Legs" was one of the first receiver who could take a short pass and make it a long touchdown.
After spending three seasons in Chicago, Elroy Hirsch join the Rams switching from halfback to flanker. He got the nickname "Crazy Legs" due to his unusual running. He was one of the first players to sport the molded plastic helmet rather than the standard leather helmet. In 1951, Hirsch set a then NFL record with over 1,400 yards receiving on 66 receptions with 17 touchdowns in a 12 game season. He helped the team win the NFL Championship that same season. He finished his career with just under 400 catches for over 7,000 yards and 60 touchdowns.
Hirsch retired after 1957 as a three time pro bowler, two time All-Pro, and a member of the 50th anniversary team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968.
7. Jack Youngblood
He was one of the toughest defensive linemen ever to come along.
A first round pick in 1971, Jack Youngblood spent his first season as a back up to Deacon Jones. In 1973, he recorded 16.5 sacks as the Rams gave up the fewest rushing yards and total yards that season. Youngblood is best known for playing the entire 1979 playoffs with a broken left leg. He broke the fibula in divisional round and continued to play. His motivation to play inspired the team to make their first Super Bowl appearance. He also played in the 1980 Pro Bowl with the injured leg. He retired playing in 202 games, recorded 151.5 sacks, and holds team records for most consecutive games played and most career safeties.
Spending his entire 15 year career with the Rams, Youngblood was a seven time pro bowler, eight time All-Pro, and the 1975 defensive lineman of the year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
6. Eric Dickerson
The league had never seen a running back with his combination of size and speed.
A first round pick in 1983, Eric Dickerson quickly became the backbone of the Rams offense. He established rookie records for most rushing attempts, most rushing yards gained, and most rushing touchdowns and was named the Rookie of the year. In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book rushing for an NFL single season rushing record 2,105 yards. He went on to rush for a playoff record 248 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in post-season play in 1985. Dickerson is the fastest player to reach almost every career rushing statistic.
Contract disputes forced the Rams to trade Dickerson to Indianapolis in 1987. In his four and half seasons with the Rams, he rushed for over 7,000 yards and 56 touchdowns. He retired as a six time pro bowler, five time All-Pro, lead the league in rushing four times, and was a three time offensive player of the year. Dickerson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
5. Kurt Warner
He went from bagging groceries in a supermarket, to being one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Undrafted in 1994, Kurt Warner spent a few years in the Arena Football League and the European Football League before signing with the Rams in 1998. After Trent Green went down with an injury in the preseason in 1999, Warner stepped up in his opportunity. He became the first quarterback to throw three touchdowns in his first three games and was the second quarterback to ever throw for 40 or more touchdowns in a season. Warner led the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV and another Super Bowl appearance two years later while being named NFL MVP in both of those seasons.
Injuries forced the Rams to release Warner after 2003. He went on to lead Arizona to the Super Bowl in 2008. He retired as a four time pro bowler, two time All-Pro, threw at least 100 touchdowns with two different teams, and holds the three highest passing performances in Super Bowl history.
4. Isaac Bruce
He's quietly had one of the most productive careers a receiver has ever seen.
A second round pick in 1994, Isaac Bruce quickly became the Rams most dangerous offensive weapon. By 1999, he became the leader of the greatest show on turf and caught 77 passes for 1,165 yards and 12 touchdowns as Rams had a 13-3 record and advanced to the Super Bowl XXXIV. Bruce caught Kurt Warner's 73 yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to give the Rams a 23-16 lead which turned out to be the game winner. He was the second wide receiver in NFL history to achieve more than 15,000 receiving yards and retired as the Rams all time leading receiver.
Bruce spent his final two seasons in San Francisco. He was a four time pro bowler, a 1998 All-Pro, and Super Bowl champion.
3. Marshall Faulk
He is one of the most versatile running backs the ever played.
After spending his first few seasons in Indianapolis, Marshall Faulk was traded to the Rams in 1999. In his first year with the team,he put up some of the best all purpose numbers in the history of the league. Faulk's patience in learning the Rams' offense paid off when he totaled an NFL record 2,429 yards from scrimmage and becoming the second running back in history to rush and receive for 1,000 yards in the same season. In 2000, Faulk became the first running back in NFL history to lead his team in receptions five separate seasons and was named the NFL MVP.
Faulk retired after the 2006 season as a seven time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, and three time offensive player of the year. In his career, he rushed for over 12,000 yards, received for over 6,000 yards, and scored 136 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
2. Merlin Olsen
He is seen as the greatest defensive tackle ever play.
A first round pick in 1962, Merlin Olsen made am instant impact on the defense as he was named the defensive rookie of the year. He was leader of one of the most dominant defensive lines in league history with "The Fearsome Foursome." Throughout the 1960s, this quartet terrorized opposing offenses. Olsen's play helped the Rams to the playoffs multiple times.
Olsen retired after 1976 as a NFL record 14 time pro bowler, nine time All-Pro, and a member of the 60's and 70's all decade teams and the 75th anniversary team. In his 15 year career, he recorded 94 career sacks, returned his only interception for a touchdown, and was lone of the greatest run stoppers the league has ever seen. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
1. Deacon Jones
He is without a doubt the best and most feared defensive end ever to suit up.
A 14th round pick in 1961, David "Deacon" Jones went from being a raw defensive talent, to a great impact on one of the greatest defensive lines in history. Jones was considered by many to revolutionize the position of defensive end. He was credited with coining the phrase "sacking the quarterback" Jones also perfected the head slap technique to maneuver around offensive linemen. His 1967 season would have been the best season by a defensive end in history had sacks been official. That year Jones recorded 26 sacks in a 14 game season. In 1982, the sack became an official NFL statistic.
Jones spent his final seasons in San Diego and Washington before retiring in 1974. He was an eight time All-Pro and pro bowler, a member of the 60's all decade team, and a two time defensive player of the year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.