Although the St. Louis Rams couldn’t give their fans an early Christmas present last week against the Minnesota Vikings, it’s still been a season of giving from the Rams to their fans.
Coming off a 2-14 campaign, there was little to be optimistic about in 2012. The presence of a new head coach, Jeff Fisher, and a new general manager, Les Snead, along with a few new faces on the field suggested the team might not be as bad as the 2011 version, but the Rams showed up in few people’s playoff predictions.
In the end, the Rams will be left out of that postseason, but not without generating a little excitement in the Gateway City first.
This season saw the Rams win six games, including defeating likely playoff teams Seattle and San Francisco. The team still has a chance to finish above .500 for the first time since 2003. For many fans, a representative effort was a great gift this holiday season.
“(They’re) not an embarrassment,” Rams fan Kevin Dewaele said. “(They’re playing) .500 ball with a couple games they should have won. That’s been a wonderful gift compared to the last couple of years.”
For some Rams fans, the best gifts were as simple as a single win over their biggest rivals. Defeating the 49ers was as big a win literally as it was figuratively, signifying to the rest of the NFC West that the Rams were to be taken seriously.
“That was the perfect gift right there,” Rams fan John Kertz said. “(They needed to) change the attitude. And they’ve done that.”
Of course, missing the playoffs is still a disappointment for the organization and its fans. The possibility of postseason football energized the crowd last week against the Vikings, producing one of the loudest and largest crowds at the Edward Jones Dome this year.
But even the scene at the Dome spoke to one of the best gifts the Rams have given their fans this year. Gary Shrum, an original season ticket holder, said the relative success of this year’s team has made it clear to perennial tailgaters that support from the fans is back “tenfold.”
As far as Shrum’s favorite gift received this season, he said his was of the less tangible variety. Of all the things the Rams have given him this year, one word came to Shrum’s mind.