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Bernie: Rams fans don't owe Kroenke anything

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Bernie Miklasz
    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-rams-fans-don-t-owe-kroenke-anything/article_cbedfb56-9e49-5382-a0f2-6b69bb5f8e86.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/ ... f8e86.html</a>

    [wrapimg=left]http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/stltoday.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/42/34279a50-048b-5132-8820-f2d4fc089bf8/4e7817fce011a.preview-300.jpg[/wrapimg]We're rapidly approaching an important deadline. By Feb. 1, 2012, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission must present the Rams with a financing plan to turn the Edward Jones Dome into one of the NFL's best stadiums.

    That's virtually impossible. There's no way to renovate the dome to qualify for top-tier NFL status. More than 20 NFL stadiums have been built or fully renovated since the Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis and into The Ed in 1995.

    Per terms of the lease agreement, the CVC is obligated to make the Dome superior to three-quarters of all NFL venues. Again, there's no way to make that happen without building a new stadium. And that's not feasible. And so the Rams will be free to opt out of the Dome following the 2014 season, unless the Rams grant concessions and sign an extension on the lease.

    Here's what the CVC, the city of St. Louis, and the state should do for the Rams and team owner Stan Kroenke:

    Nothing.

    That's right.

    Nothing.

    The Rams want a top-tier facility?

    Great. Let's talk when Kroenke delivers a top-tier football team.


    Unless the CVC and the Rams fans want to spinelessly capitulate and surrender to the threats of a billionaire owner who ranks among the wealthiest Americans, there's no reason to roll over like a bunch of stooges to appease Kroenke.

    At some point, you just have to draw the line. The fans and the city aren't failing the Rams; the Rams are failing their fans. And they've been getting away with it for years.

    The franchise continues to receive strong support at the ticket windows. Sure, there are empty seats on game day, but it's understandable considering the abysmal product that's being served to the public.

    The fans don't receive enough credit for standing by this team. Since the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, only nine of 138 regular season and postseason home games have been blacked out on local television.

    Rams fans have nothing to apologize for.

    If anything, they are owed an apology.

    The Rams moved here from LA to take advantage of the riches offered by St. Louis, and to cash in on a remarkably lucrative lease agreement at the new stadium. The Dome was once a giant cash machine that increased the owners' personal wealth.

    When the taxpayer-funded Dome opened, guaranteeing astronomical profits, Rams owners Georgia Frontiere and Kroenke were the envy of other NFL owners. That's why other NFL owners were able to squeeze their cities for new stadiums. They saw what Frontiere and Kroenke had in St. Louis and wanted the same.

    The raising of the Edward Jones Dome was actually a turning point in NFL history — at least in terms of adding more layers to the vast bankrolls of NFL owners.

    And now the Dome, only 17 years later, is considered outdated and inadequate? The facility is somehow less than this franchise deserves?

    Oh, please.

    The Rams haven't had a winning season since 2003. They haven't made the playoffs since 2004. Other than the magnificent five-year run (1999-2003) of "The Greatest Show," the Rams have been simply awful.

    Between 1995 and 1998 the Rams went 22-42; that ranked 28th among the 32 teams in winning percentage.

    Since the start of the 2004 season the Rams are 37-85, ranking 31st in the NFL in winning percentage.

    Sure, the fantastic collection of talent led by Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Orlando Pace provided many thrills and a Super Bowl championship to end a magical 1999 season. But except for those five wonderful seasons, the Rams have gone 59-130 here.

    So before everyone starts worrying about what to do for Kroenke, maybe we should demand to know what Kroenke plans to do for the Rams, St. Louis and the fans.

    If Kroenke wants to move the team to Los Angeles or London, he'll almost certainly have the freedom to do so in a few years. But unless Kroenke fixes this franchise, it won't matter.

    The Rams couldn't sell out in Los Angeles with Eric Dickerson setting NFL rushing records for playoff teams there, so why would LA (or any city) provide undying support for a sorry, no-account team that wallows in futility?

    No, I don't want to see the Rams move. But this town has been great to the Rams franchise, and to its owners. And it's up to Kroenke to do his fair share. He doesn't have to, of course. It would be easy for him to take his team and run away and cash in again — big — at least for a few years in a new city.

    But the idea that this town owes Kroenke anything is preposterous. And maddening. The St. Louis economy has taken some hard hits. Taxpayers have done enough for the Rams. It was difficult, as is, to come up with $30 million to improve the Dome a few years ago.

    According to the annual Forbes survey for 2011, Kroenke had an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion. His wife, Ann, is worth $3.3 billion.

    If the Kroenke family wants a better stadium, they have the money to build it.

    Sure, it's fun to have an NFL franchise — yes, even with so many miserable Sundays. It's also fun to kick back and watch all of the NFL games on the NFL Sunday Ticket package on DirecTV.

    St. Louis has backed the baseball Cardinals with tremendous support. The NHL Blues haven't won a playoff game since 2004, but they play to sellout crowds at Scotttrade Center.

    You have to be really bad in this town to alienate loyal sports fans and drive them away. The Rams are threatening to destroy that bond. Since the start of the 2007 season the Rams are 15-59, for a winning percentage of .203. Of the NFL's 32 teams, 25 have won at least 30 games since '07.

    Deep into this third season, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is 10-32. The Rams are 12-46 since GM Billy Devaney was signed on in 2008 to improve the team's personnel. The Rams have selected 34 players since the 2008 draft, and 17 are gone already.

    Only a precious few of the draft picks rate as franchise pieces. Only nine Rams on the current roster (including injured players) were here before Devaney arrived in '08. Only six were here before Spagnuolo became coach in '09.

    It's up to Kroenke to clean up this mess. This is his team. He's also an absentee owner. No one expects him to be at Rams Park every day, but how much time can Kroenke devote to the Rams? Kroenke didn't attend Sunday's miserable 24-7 loss to Seattle. At least the fans showed up.

    Kroenke has a lot going on, whether it's making real-estate deals or lording over several sports franchises, including the prestigious Arsenal soccer club in the English Premier League.

    Kroenke is very good at making money. And St. Louis, and the Rams, have made a lot of jack for Kroenke. That's fine. But what does Kroenke plan to do to hold up his end of the deal?

    Absolutely, Kroenke has the contractual right to demand a better, or new, stadium.

    St. Louis should demand a better football team. And that's non-negotiable.
     
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  2. Anonymous Guest

    I don't know if i want to slap Bernie or shake his hand. :bummed:
     
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  3. ScotsRam Well-Known Member

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    I'll tell you what, I don't always agree with Bernie but that article is absolutely spot on.
     
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  4. bluecoconuts Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    I'm just kidding.

    Kinda.
     
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  5. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    I've seen some sick conceptual drawings of that stadium, so I don't mind seeing them again - it's cool to look at. I have no horse in this race. If the Rams are rumored to be moving to Florida, then I'll be interested in all this relocation talk. The L.A./St Louis stuff? No offense to anyone else, but I simply don't care either way.
     
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  6. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Figured I'd take a look at how Cowboys Stadium was funded, since this is the stadium by which all other stadiums are now measured.

    Cost of Construction = $1.15 billion

    Stadium Financing
    City sales tax increased by one-half of a percent
    The hotel occupancy tax increased by 2 percent
    Car rental tax increased by 5 percent.
    The City of Arlington provided $325 million in funding
    The NFL provided the Cowboys with an additional $150 million (loan)
    Jerry Jones covered any cost overruns.
     
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  7. bluecoconuts Well-Known Member

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    That seems to be the final concept for the Downtown Stadium, if it gets built. I don't think the Rams will be the ones that move to LA, but the NFL would probably like it because it's so much easier in terms of divisional realignments, and stuff like that. There's still a ways to go, if they don't get a move on and decide what stadium to build, there's a good chance LA will end up with nothing.
     
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  8. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    What about the other locale? Isn't there a City of Industry Stadium in the works or something. I'll admit I'm not following this that much. Just what I hear from this place or that place. It certainly sounds like there are a lot of plans in the works, but not much in the way of actual shovel moving.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MqdzsK0owY[/youtube]
     
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  9. bluecoconuts Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that's the other site. That was the original and then another group broke away and proposed the Downtown location, and AEG is backing that group. That's the biggest problem is that they're having a fight over the location and it's pushing the NFL away. The City of Industry location is actually ready to be built today, they said if a team commits they will break ground right away, but the Downtown location seems to have more support.

    Until the city makes a decision though NFL teams seem to be staying clear.
     
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  10. Stranger How big is infinity?

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    Bernie is such an idiot, and this story is such a disappointing rant. Of course Stan owes nothing to the fans, and likewise, the fans owe nothing to Stan. It's a business, both parties come together if the product meets the needs of the consumer at a prices acceptable to the consumer. If Stan thinks he can generate more profit in LA after his lease expires, then I'm sure Stan will move the team. I have no skin in the game, as I don't live in StL or in LA any longer.

    But what would be the purpose of such an emotionally childish story by Bernie? What exactly, does he hope to accomplish by publishing this?
     
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  11. Anonymous Guest

    Perhaps Bernie's table at Miss Hullings wasn't reserved?
     
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  12. Selassie I H. I. M.

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    Bernie is a Beast, with Beast Blood.

    We will all soon see what Silent Stan is gonna serve us. If he serves us more crap on a shingle,,, then I hope Stan developes a case of athletes foot like fungus of the scalp underneath that sweet wig of his.


    Bernie is spot on with this article.

    Time to invest in your football franchise Stan. Time to invest in a better hair piece too, although just taking ownership for what you really have would be my recommendation.
     
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  13. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Just curious here, but where did he fail? Pretty sure the Rams spent up to the cap. So it's his hirings that are the problem?
     
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  14. Selassie I H. I. M.

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    We've had a management staff in training running the franchise for the last 3 years.

    Time to pony up, and invest in a leadership group that isn't doing on-the-job training.
     
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  15. Anonymous Guest

    The stats Bernie gives are damning re: the front office. SK's involvement started this season. I suppose job security around Rams Park this off season could be rare.
     
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  16. steferfootball Well-Known Member

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    Farmer's feild will look nice next to the Mississippi. :razzed:
     
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  17. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Who you got? But first, tell me if you disagree with any of the following:

    In 2006 and 2007, the Rams drafted pee pee POORLY. This is evident by the amount of players drafted who are still in football. I think there's 4 total.

    In 2008, Devaney took over as GM in December. He didn't have final say in that draft, but he did put together the ranking methods and gave them a "board" to work with. That FO was still in dysfunction at the time, and residual effects of that "structure" had to be severed entirely. And so it was before the 2009 Draft.

    In 2009, The Rams had to dump millions in salary and get rid of overpriced, under-performing players to get within manageable cap situation. This was due to the previous FO's M.O. of back-loading contracts in order to sign even more over-priced free agents who also under-performed. (See: Bennett, Witherspoon, Chavous, et al). That year the Rams had barely enough money to sign their picks, and it was speculated that they weren't going to make it. The cap manager (Demoff) was able to pull it off, and didn't back-load any contracts either.

    2010 was a capped season. Subsequently, a player whose contract had expired became an unrestricted free agent (if he had four or more accrued seasons). In the "Final League Year" (2010), a player whose contract had expired became an unrestricted free agent only if he had six or more accrued seasons. Because of that, over 200 UFA's were relagated to RFA's because they didn't accrue that kind of time. Because of THAT, there was virtually no free agency. We were talking about possibly signing Owens or Moss back then. Remember? That's because, basically, no one else was available.

    In 2011, Shurmur left because he only agreed to a 2 year deal. Presumably because he didn't want to be handcuffed to a team in a league where HC turnover is at his highest rate in years. He was right. The Rams, as a result, had to change systems. They hired McDaniels in January before it was expected that a lockout was even a possibility. It was expected that there would be some negotiations, but nobody thought it would interfere with OTA's. Not in January, anyway. But, there WAS a lockout. So, the Rams had to try and implement one of (if not THE) most complicated offensive schemes in the league in 6 weeks. That was a mistake. But who is that on? Who takes ownership for a lockout? But, they tried anyway (mistake, IMO). With rookies and the majority of NFL players still in their first NFL contract. They tried to go balls-in with that offense.

    I don't have enough space to list the injuries. We all know what they are. But with ALL of that. The lockout, the new system, the rookies, the lack of OTAs, the lack of reps, losing the starting RB and outlet receiver in game 1, losing a record number of corners in a year, and all the receivers that followed (plus the inability to sign any in previous years), etc. With ALL of that. Which coach does a better job? Which GM does a better job? Which owner does a better job?

    I'll say it again. Circumstances may very well necessitate a house-cleaning. So. Who you got?
     
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  18. Anonymous Guest

    Looks like a fairy's shoulder pads.
     
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  19. bluecoconuts Well-Known Member

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    The O-Line coach needs to go, and they need to hire a QB coach in terms of coaching changes. I wouldn't argue an upgrade in receivers (coaches, but an upgrade at the position doesn't hurt either) or CB either.

    I don't care what it looks like, as long as there's football. Since Staples is only a few minutes away from me. Now they just need to convert the Nokia Theatre to a basketball court full time, and Staples to 24/7 ice, and we're the sports block capital of the world. Although I'm scared of a possibility of a Kings game, Lakers game, NFL game, and convention center all going on at the same time. Worth it still.
     
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  20. Ram Quixote Knight Errant

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    OTJ, NFL FO training ... is there a manual for that? The reason I ask is because the previous regime operated under a system that virtually assured a long learning curve. Martz never fully mastered it after 6 drafts. Vermeil did a fair job, but he had decades of experience, and time spent before the Rams hired him watching the college game and its players. Linehan? 2006 and 07 is a black hole in our depth because of his efforts.

    Devaney first came to the Rams in January 08, and all he could bring to the Rams draft at that point was organization of the board. And when Devaney took over in Dec. 08, he had to revamp the scouting pool. Even then, the 09 Draft came mostly from Devaney himself and the previous regime's scouts. That may sound like an excuse to some, but aren't the scouts sent out in the Fall to scout the college season? A lot of what directs a team's focus is the scouts evaluations before the Combine.

    Back to our depth, most teams (even Detroit!) have players drafted from 06 & 07. We do not, which has severely limited our options when starters go down. Spags has this philosophy of not handing rookies, even highly touted first rounders, starters jobs until they've proven themselves. At times that has seemed to handicap us, particularly in the instance of Quinn. But if our depth was where it was supposed to be, would that be an issue?

    See, I don't think what we've seen these last 3 years is a slow learning curve, but an endless series of detours (nice list X) hindering the progress of our FO and coaching staff.

    Devaney and Spags have been severely tested, but the time limit on that test hasn't run out yet.
     
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