Most St. Louis Rams fans I’ve spoken to in the last 24 hours are happy with the quarterback trade the team made yesterday, sending Sam Bradford to Philadelphia for Nick Foles — but it will be interesting to see if that happiness turns into season ticket sales. Those numbers were already affected (downward) by the team’s lame duck status here, as owner Stan Kroenke has all but come out and said he’s going to move the Rams to the new stadium he’s going to build in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood in a year or two.
There are plenty of questions yet to be answered. Will Foles be able to come back from last year’s broken collarbone to lead an offense that has struggled for the last decade? Now that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is gone, will he be permitted to throw the ball more than four yards downfield? Will the Rams put together a good enough offensive line to protect their quarterback or will he be the latest in a long line to be repeatedly helped off the field with yet another concussion?
The Rams investment in Bradford never paid off — except for him, to the tune of $65 million. That’s a helluva lot of money for a guy who played just 49 games out of a possible 80 since being chosen first in the draft in 2010. Even in the games Bradford did start, he only won 18 of them. I never thought he was going to be the team’s savior (and I’m not sure about Foles), but if I were him, after seeing all the traumatic brain injury stories of NFL veterans whose gray matter was turned to oatmeal from the pounding they took on the field, I’d take my tens of millions earned in the last five years and go live the rest of my life in one piece while I still could.
If Bradford thinks St. Louis fans were occasionally unkind to him, booing whenever the offense limped off the field after yet another three-and-out series, wait until he gets a load of the crowd at Eagles games (the people who once booed Santa Claus). My friend Dave told a story of going to a game in Philadelphia and sitting in front of a fan who spilled beer on him, cursing and yelling constantly while smoking a big, smelly cigar — and her husband was worse!
As for the post-Bradford Rams, if Foles stays healthy and does what he’s supposed to, and coach Jeff Fisher can finally instill some discipline in his young players to cut down on stupid penalties, and the defense can stay as strong as it was last year, and Roger Saffold can manage to stay on the field for an entire game without an injury, and the receivers can get open downfield, and on and on and on…then the Rams might pull off a winning season, which would certainly make the fan base happier and more hopeful than it’s been in years.
Just in time to have Kroenke pull the rug out from under us.