Hall of Fame R.B. Dickerson retires as a L.A. Ram, then named V.P. of Business Ops.

RAMS DICKERSON
Ex L.A. Rams running back Eric Dickerson (center) is flanked by Rams GM Les Snead (left) and head coach Sean McVay at Tuesday’s press conference announcing Dickerson has been hired as the team’s V.P. of Business Operations. courtesy: L.A. Daily News

Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson returned as a member of the Los Angeles Rams signing a one day contract Tuesday to officially retire as a Ram.

Later, General Manager Les Snead announced the Rams hired the 56 year old Dickerson as Vice President of Business Development.

“Really with the main goal of doing what he did for me a long time ago – bridging fans to our organization and then not only making them fans of the Rams, but making a difference in their life.”

Continue reading “Hall of Fame R.B. Dickerson retires as a L.A. Ram, then named V.P. of Business Ops.”

Ex Rams QB Ferragamo on New Rams QB Jared Goff

The Los Angeles Rams believe they’ve found their franchise quarterback as they get ready for their return to Los Angeles.

He’s Jared Goff selected with the top overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft. The Rams acquired the top pick from the Tennessee Titans for a huge ransom of draft picks including this year’s 15th overall pick as well as next year’s Rams first round draft pick.

Continue reading “Ex Rams QB Ferragamo on New Rams QB Jared Goff”

L.A. Rams get offensive with five of six draft picks. QB Jared Goff cornerstone

The Los Angeles Rams got offensive with five of their six 2016 Draft picks trying to upgrade a passing game that ranked dead last in the NFL last year.

The jewel in the draft haul is quarterback Jared Goff out of Cal taken with the top overall draft pick.

According to Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead, Goff has all the traits of being an elite NFL quarterback justifying the trade they made with the Tennessee Titans for the top pick and some lower round selections in return for a bounty of draft picks which included this year’s 15th overall pick and the Rams top pick in next year’s draft.

To hear from Snead and what made Goff that missing quarterback piece in a possible championship puzzle, click on the video above.

With no picks during day two, the Rams made five selections in the drafts last day. Here are the Rams selections:

  • Jared Goff QB Cal. round 1, #1 overall, #1 in round
  • Tyler Higbee TE Western Kentucky, round 4, #110 overall, #12 in round
  • Pharoh Cooper WR South Carolina, round 4, #117 overall #15 in round
  • Temarrick Hemingway TE South Carolina St., round 6, #177 overall, #2 in round
  • Josh Forrest MLB Kentucky, round 6, #190 overall, #15 in round
  • Mike Thomas WR Southern Miss, round 6, #206 overall, #31 in round

The Rams have a young and stellar offensive line that gave up just 18 sacks last season and a running back in Todd Gurley III who galloped his way to the 2015 rookie of the year award. Adding the wide receivers and tight ends selected in the later rounds to these weapons are designed to help Goff succeed during his upcoming rookie season. He won’t have to do much because of that line and running game. Goff will just have to be a good game manager his first season learning on the fly, which is one of the attributes Rams brass said he demonstrated throughout his college career at Cal.

Adding a middle linebacker in Josh Forrest gives the defense added depth at that position after the Rams chose not to resign veteran linebacker James Laurinaitis.

The Rams also added rookie free agents to this draft class with all rookies heading to Oxnard next weekend for a rookie orientation.

L.A. Rams’ Fisher ecstatic after picking Cal QB Goff with top overall pick

The Los Angeles Rams used the first overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday selecting California quarterback Jared Goff. He becomes the face of a franchise back in the City of Angels for the first time in 22 seasons. The Rams called St. Louis home for 22 years. They were L.A.’s first pro team calling Los Angeles and Anaheim home from 1946 to 1994 prior to the move east.

Goff is the 22nd quarterback taken with the first overall pick in the common draft era (since 1967) and the first Cal quarterback to land in the first round since the Green Bay Packers took Aaron Rodgers at No. 24 in 2005.

In choosing Goff, the Rams are hoping he’ll be able to take over quarterback group that ranks last in the NFL in Total QBR since 2007. The Rams haven’t had a quarterback go to the Pro Bowl since Marc Bulger in 2006. The Rams bottomed out at the position in 2015 and ranked last in the league in passing yards (2,805), QBR (35.6), yards per attempt (6.2) and passing touchdowns (11).

At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Goff was the starter for the Cal Golden Bears for three seasons rewriting the Cal record books with more completions, passing yards and touchdowns than any quarterback in school history. He threw for 4,719 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2015 and owns 26 school records.

He excelled in Cal’s “Bear Raid” spread offense in which he spent more than 99 percent of his time taking snaps out of the shotgun. That means he’ll have an adjustment to make upon arrival in Los Angeles, as the Rams were in shotgun or pistol formation on fewer plays than any other team last season.

To hear from Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and the top pick Jared Goff, click on Eric Geller’s video report from Rams draft headquarters.

Rams in Manhattan Beach talking L.A. logistics before permanent move

The Los Angeles Rams made it out to Manhattan Beach for meetings to help acclimate coaches and players to what awaits them in L.A. in regards to getting to and from home and work in traffic.

As most of us Los Angelenos know, it can be quite difficult getting to and from work on a daily basis.

Some of the old L.A. Rams – including hall of fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater – were at the meetings helping out the new version of Rams players and coaches.

Of course fifth year head coach Jeff Fisher is an L.A. native having grown up in Encino attending Taft High School prior to playing football at USC and for the Chicago Bears.

The Rams still have an old ticket office on Pico Blvd just across from the Rancho Park Golf Course that’s now used for other purposes.

It looks as if they’ll have new offices just north of Los Angeles in Calabasas right near the concert venue – The Canyon Club.

I heard some whispers at today’s Manhattan Beach meeting the team could be featured on this season’s HBO series Hard Knocks. That’s the reality series where cameras follow an NFL team during their Summer training camp. Makes a lot of sense considering the Rams call “the entertainment capital of the world” home once again.

To hear from the new and old Rams on the L.A. logistics, click on the video report above.

 

 

Rams back to L.A. headlines 4th Annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Although the second largest media market hasn’t been home to an NFL team in 20 years, the beautiful Los Angeles weather has made its annual January appearance just in time for some pro football.

80 degree temperatures have greeted this year’s out-going college seniors this week who are taking part in Saturday’s 4th Annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at StubHub Center in Carson.

With the game’s slogan being For the players By the players many current and former members of the National Football League Players Association are here to help mentor the draft-eligible players trying to impress the many NFL – and CFL – scouts eyeing the new talent from the stands.

The coaching staffs of both teams include former players and coaches with local Los Angeles NFL ties. Let’s not forget the Rams called L.A. home for 49 years prior to their move to St. Louis in 1994 and the Raiders had a “cup of coffee” playing at the Coliseum for 13 seasons prior to moving back to Oakland in 1994 as well.

Convenient because it appears Los Angeles’ exile from the NFL is just about done with talks the Rams could be moving back as early as this coming season but with 2016 a more realistic targetdate.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke has partnered with a group in Inglewood to develop the almost 300 acres of land between the Fabulous Forum and the old Hollywood Park Race Track. Construction of an 80,000 seat stadium is part of what’s now called the City of Champions Revitalization Project.

The American Conference team is coached by Super Bowl champion Mike Holmgren. Included on his staff for the game are ex-L.A. Rams safety Nolan Cromwell as well as ex-L.A. Rams assistant coach Gil Haskell.

The National Conference team is coached by former St. Louis Rams head coach and assistant Mike Martz. His staff includes former L.A. Rams Jackie Slater and Keith Lyle who also played in St. Louis. Ex-St. Louis Rams Az-Zahir Hakim and Jeff Zgonina are also on his staff.

Milling through the stadium as scouts and mentors the list includes Ex-L.A. Rams running back Lawrence McCutcheon, current Rams running back Tre Mason as well as Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Of course the hot topic this week besides the game is the possible Rams move back to Los Angeles. I was able to ask some of these current and former Rams about a possible move. To hear what they had to say click on the video with this story.

Kickoff for Saturday’s 4th Annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is set for 1pm PST, 4pm EST. If you’re not attending the game you can watch t on ESPN2. Plenty of tickets are available and can be bought at the StubHub Center ticket office as well as on-line at collegiate.nflpa.com/ticketsandgear. Group discounts as well as discounts for the military are available.

The NFL in London could work with a little compromise

This coming Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars will play the third and final game of this NFL season’s International Series at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The series began as an experiment in 2007 by the National Football League to gauge interest of the sport in the European marketplace.

And although the second largest media market in this country – Los Angeles – is on the verge of landing not one but possibly two NFL teams as soon as maybe next season after being without a team for 20 years, the League is still hell-bent on putting a team across the pond in London by 2022.

Commissioned by the NFL and a London marketing agency, the accounting firm DeLoitte released its findings last week from their study that said an NFL franchise based in London could generate more than $255 million for Britain annually.

In British pounds, we’re talking 165 million.

Pounds. Dollars. No matter what currency you reference, that’s a whole lot of coin the 32 team owners can’t ignore.

So, what about the fans both in the States and the British Isles?

A majority of NFL fans here don’t like the idea of putting a team in London because of travel logistics and the idea that it would be similar to out-sourcing American jobs to foreign countries.

Tom Bateman, president of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots. courtesy: Tom Bateman
Tom Bateman, director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

As for the Brits, L.A. native Tom Bateman, the director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to merry old England for a week in October of 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams take on the New England Patriots.

While there, Bateman spoke with British fans he discovered enjoy American football immensely but think the idea of putting a team in London permanently is a silly one.

I agree with the Brits. If a team is moved or an expansion team is awarded to London, would the league’s name be changed to the International Football League?

“Part of the appeal to the Brits is that each (International Series) game showcases different teams” said Bateman who added, “The NFL in the UK is a spectacle as much as it is a sport. Probably more so.”

British tailgaters at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman
British tailgaters “dressed to kilt” at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

He also discovered an NFL game represents everything the British love about America.

According to Bateman the Brits love the fact that we’re a show off nation.

Really, no sport or league shows off more than the NFL.

“It’s flashy, spectacular, the uniforms, the helmets, the cheerleaders, the endzone celebrations, the sack dances, all of that.” Said Bateman continuing, “But as a sport, to the Brits it can’t hold a candle to soccer or as they refer to it, real football.”

Also on the NFL’s agenda, sooner rather than later, is reducing the pre-season schedule from four games to two while expanding the regular season from its current 16-game schedule to 18.

An 18-game schedule is something the Players’ Union isn’t too keen on for player safety and the extra two games don’t increase the players’ salaries.

What about a little compromise for all parties involved so the 32 team owners, the players and Britain’s annual economy can capitalize on the projected $255 million the NFL stands to generate should it have a permanent presence in London.

Since the Brits enjoy seeing different teams play each International Series game and the logistics of having a permanent team call London home seem a bit difficult to iron out, let’s give the Brits what they want.

America's Game - NFL Football - celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman
America’s Game – NFL Football – celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

At the same time, let’s expand the regular season from 16 to 17 regular season games with the extra game for each team played each week at Wembley Stadium in London.

So what if it’s an odd number schedule. Only thing affected is a team finishing .500 which isn’t a huge deal in the grand playoff scheme of things.

This way, only teams with winning records would qualify for the postseason.

Make the 17th game match ups interconference games – AFC vs. NFC – with the match ups chosen with ping pong ball machines much like the ones used to choose the World Cup soccer groups or the NBA Draft Lottery and do it during Super Bowl Week for games in the upcoming regular season. Cut the pre-season to just two games.

You’ve added a game while having an entire regular season schedule – 16 weeks – in London with the Brits seeing all 32 NFL teams in different match ups each game and year.

It becomes a “pseudo Super Bowl” each week in London because the logistics time wise of having the Super Bowl in London – which has been discussed – just won’t work for NFL fans in the States who want to see the biggest game and spectacle on U.S. soil and rightfully so.

After all, it is America’s Game. Somewhere all 32 teams need to always call home.

NFL in L.A.: Inglewood has the land. Rams owner Stan Kroenke owns 60 acres of it

“There is no deal until there is a deal but Inglewood is well equipped for an NFLstadium.”

Members of Bring Back the L.A. Rams listen to Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts discussing bringing the NFL to Hollywood Park. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke owns 60 acres of Inglewood land.
Members of Bring Back the L.A. Rams listen to Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts discussing bringing the NFL to Hollywood Park. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke owns 60 acres of Inglewood land.

That’s the message mayor James T. Butts gave an overflow crowd of some 500 residents at a town hall meeting this past weekend, most of whom would like to lure an NFL team to what is known as the City of Champions – Inglewood, CA.

“We have the largest single continuous block of land in Southern California and there is interest in development of some type,” said Butts referring to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The multi-billionaire Missouri native and Rams’ owner – who has a home in Malibu – purchased 60 acres of land earlier this year that sits between the Fabulous Forum and the now closed Hollywood Park Racetrack. It’s being demolished to make room for a 238-acre residential and business complex called Hollywood Park Tomorrow.

Hollywood Park Tomorrow is part of an almost 300-acre plot of land ready for development with ample parking.

There’s talk that Kroenke could eventually buy more land from the developers of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project who might consider selling some of those 238 total acres.

“Inglewood is the only city that an NFL owner owns land in and we are very well situated,” explained Butts who was elected Mayor in 2011. “Inglewood is at the center of four major freeways (405 to the west, 105 to the south, 110 to the east and the 10 to the north) and is a mile-and-a-half fromLos Angeles International Airport.”

The St. Louis Rams – who called the Los Angeles area home for 49 years prior to their move to the Midwest in 1995 – are “free agents” if you will after this season.

A top-tier stipulation in the team’s lease with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission(CVC) negotiated by ex-L.A. Rams general manager John Shaw prior to the move, stated that if theEdward Jones Dome (then known as the Trans World Dome) isn’t in the top 25% of all NFL stadiums after 20 seasons, the team goes year-to-year effectively allowing it to move anywhere.

Last year an arbiter ruled in favor of a Rams $700 million proposal to upgrade the Dome, while the CVC’s $126 million plan was ruled not enough to make the Dome one of the top eight stadiums in the league.

And here we are.

Inglewood is known as the City of Champions because of the racetrack, which opened in 1938 and had a 75-year run until it closed last year; the Fabulous Forum which opened in 1967 with its main tenants being the Los Angeles Lakers – who won six NBA Championships while calling Inglewood home until the team moved to Staples Center in downtown L.A. prior to the 1999-2000 season – and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings who moved to Staples Center along with the Lakers.

Having been without a major professional sports franchise going on 15 years and counting, and with the closing of the racetrack last year, Mayor Butts and the residents of Inglewood – which number more than 110,000 people – would like nothing better than to be the home of L.A.’s NFL team as part of the city’s revitalization and keep that City of Champions moniker.

While all the residents are in favor of bringing the NFL to Inglewood some don’t want the traffic a team and football games would bring.

“It’s just 10 games a year,” said Butts not figuring in possible playoff games, possible college bowl games and the big prize – Super Bowls. He continued, “With any kind of development comes traffic and money. If you don’t want the traffic, you don’t want the money. You can’t have one without the other.”

The newly remodeled Fabulous Forum – owned by MSG Entertainment – is home to world class concerts.

Naming some of the restaurants in Inglewood, Mayor Butts, who spent two decades as an officer in the Inglewood Police Department, explained:

“When the Forum holds major events receipts are doubled and even tripled because of the traffic the events bring.”

While Butts told me he hasn’t spoken to the NFL or Kroenke about a stadium, when the billionaire owner of an NFL team buys 60 acres of prime developmental real estate in the middle of your city, you’re going to have discussions about what he plans to do with it.

To hear more of my interview with Mayor Butts click on the video with this article.

Los Angeles the second largest media market in the country with more than 18 million residents and includes Ventura County to the north, Orange County to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Inland Empire to the east, and everything in between – has been without an NFL team since both the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season.

Many stadium proposals have come and gone over the past two decades in an attempt to bring the NFL back to the City of Angels. None more prominent than AEG’s Farmers Field proposal, which was to be financed privately by AEG in downtown L.A. in conjunction with the remodel of the Convention Center.

In September 2012 the L.A. City Council unanimously approved a deal with AEG to build Farmers Field. Although the stadium is shovel-ready, no ground has been broken because of one major detail: AEG doesn’t own an NFL team.

AEG won’t spend the almost $2 billion price tag to build the stadium without an agreement from any of the NFL team owners looking for better digs in return for a significant percentage of a team.

When I asked an AEG representative – who chose not to be identified – his thoughts on Kroenke’s purchase of 60 acres in Inglewood this is what he told me:

“Farmers Field is still the best option. We don’t think asking for 30 to 40 percent ownership of a team is too much to ask for in return for a new stadium we’re paying for out of our pocket.”

A third of a team for a stadium is a price tag none of the 32 owners is willing to pay.

And the clock is ticking because the deal between the City of Los Angeles and AEG to build Farmers Field expires in October of this year. If AEG doesn’t file for an extension by October 18th, Farmers Field is essentially dead.

When time runs out, the City of L.A. goes to Plan B focusing all its attention on remodeling the Convention Center.

Kroenke has a team, owns enough land in Inglewood to build a stadium, and coupled with ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s recent purchase of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for a hefty $2 billion, the NFL has amped up its efforts to return to L.A.

Considering NFL officials have always toyed with the idea of building a Hall-of-Fame West and a stadium-site NFL Network studio, Los Angeles, home to Hollywood – the Entertainment Capital of the World – as well as Inglewood, is destined to be home to an NFL team sooner rather than later.

And that team could very well be the Rams who playing in St. Louis are ranked dead last in franchise value, according to Forbes. A move to Los Angeles could very well increase their value from the current $930 million to what the Clippers were recently purchased for: $2 billion.

We could all soon find out.

Rams owner “Silent Stan” Kroenke finally raises his voice

Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land between the Fabulous forum and Hollywood Park. Thanx: AP
Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land between the Fabulous forum and Hollywood Park.
Thanx: AP

According to unnamed sources, St. Louis Rams owner Stanley Enos Kroenke – the native of St. Louis named after Cardinals baseball legends Stan “the Man” Musial and Enos Slaughter – has purchased 60 acres of land in Inglewood sitting between the Fabulous Forum and Hollywood Park.

Just enough land to build a top tier football stadium.

Also known as “Silent Stan” for staying out of the media spotlight and rarely speaking publicly when it comes to his business ventures and pro sports franchises, it seems “Silent Stan” opened his office window and, like the TV news anchor in the 1976 movie NETWORK,  yelled to St. Louis,

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

As I wrote in an article earlier this week, St. Louis’ sports media and fans have to be worried about the Los Angeles Rams.

The St. Louis media and football fans said L.A. wasn’t a factor going all-in on the outright lie that L.A. was a failure when it came to supporting an NFL team when in actuality L.A. supported the Rams 49 years prior to their move to the Midwest.

The St. Louis media said it was “in the know” about behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Rams and St. Louis for a new stadium.

Stan Kroenke wants a top tier stadium for his Rams. Thanx: L.A. Times
Stan Kroenke wants a top tier stadium for his Rams.
Thanx: L.A. Times

They said “Silent Stan” would build his own stadium in St. Louis.

It seems they were half right. He might build his own stadium.

In Los Angeles. Not St. Louis.

The Rams – and Raiders – move out of Los Angeles was all about stadium issues. Specifically, the lack of modern NFL ready facilities in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County areas.

If you’re still not convinced L.A. supported an NFL team, listen to ex-Los Angeles Rams stars Jack Youngblood and Bob Klein in interviews I did with each about two years ago.

Adding Hollywood Park to the shovel-ready Farmers Field site in Downtown L.A., it appears the Rams moving back to Los Angeles is seriously in play.

If St. Louis wasn’t worried about the Los Angeles Rams before, you can bet they are now.

This purchase gives Stanley Enos Kroenke amazing tourque with much leverage in his pursuit of a top tier stadium for his Rams in St. Louis or anywhere.

Ex-Rams GM John Shaw negotiated the "sweetheart lease" that moved the Rams to St Louis in 1995. Thanx: AP
Ex-Rams GM John Shaw negotiated the “sweetheart lease” that moved the Rams to St Louis in 1995.
Thanx: AP

That “sweetheart lease” negotiated by then Los Angeles Rams GM John Shaw moving the team to St. Louis for the 1995 season has stipulations in it calling for the Edward Jones Dome – formerly known as the Trans World Dome – to be in the top 25% of all NFL stadiums 10 and 20 years into the lease, or the Rams are free to go year-to-year in the Gateway City or move on to greener pastures.

Vilified by Rams fans in Los Angeles and Orange County for orchestrating the move of THEIR team to St. Louis in the mid-90s, it seems John Shaw could end up being a hero for negotiating that “sweetheart lease.”

It’s still too early to really tell what “Silent Stan” will do.

By now you know the story.

Arbiters ruled the Rams’ request for $700 million in upgrades to the EJD were approved while St. Louis’ plan for a $120 million upgrade isn’t an upgrade at all.

The Edward Jones Dome needs a $700 million face-lift St. Louis can't afford. Thanx: AP
The Edward Jones Dome needs a $700 million face-lift St. Louis can’t afford.
Thanx: AP

St. Louis can’t afford $700 million for a football stadium.

So, now we wait until the end of the upcoming season. That’s when that top-tier stipulation hits year 20 making the Rams free agents to play where they want.

What we do know is “Silent Stan’s” purchase of 60 acres of land at Hollywood Park has St. Louis hearing him loud and clear.

It seems the Los Angeles Rams 20-year road trip might be coming to an end.

Hope you’re still enjoying that “sweetheart lease,” St. Louis!

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