The NFL announced that during the 2012 season the St. Louis Rams will play the New England Patriots in a regular season game. That was a few months ago. Just recently it was decided that regular season game would be played in London. London, England. As in not the Edward Jones Dome, but Wembley Stadium, roughly 6 time zones from Missouri.
The NFL has been staging regular season games in England for a few years now, but the Rams are the first team to be tabbed for a regular slate; games in '13 and '14 will also be stripped from St. Louis and re-located to Europe. When asked if this agreement was a case of pulling the band-aid off slowly rather than ripping it off at one, Rams owner Stan Kroenke said ‘we'll see'.
Many probably think that this deal was consummated after the Rams hired Jeff Fisher as the new head coach, seeing as mullets and moustaches are as popular as ignoring dental care in England. But it probably had more to do with the fact that Kroenke owns the Arsenal soccer club, and this creates good business synergy for his burgeoning sports cadre.
But how do you feel about this, Rams Nation?
If you're an optimist you're thinking this is a pretty cool deal. This is the first opportunity for the British to really have a ‘team' to root for. It fills the coffers for the Rams organization, therefore putting less pressure on the city of STL to overpay for the Rams to stay in St. Louis past 2015. Hell, if they continue to suck... it's one less home game you have to pay for over the next three seasons, right, season ticket holders?
There are already Rams fans in Southern California and throughout the Midwest. I don't think I'd mind being a global powerhouse for the biggest sport in America. In fact, that might be awesome!
Then again, we saw Stan introduce Jeff Fisher as head coach this week. He wore his best hair and put on a non-tailored suit to face the media. And when pressed about his intentions to keep the Rams in St. Louis he responded with a ‘we'll see'.
That's reassuring. What's that honey, you're thinking about a divorce? Oh, we'll see? I feel much better.
Maybe this is the slow exit of a team. Maybe a team that was secure in its hometown wouldn't want to commit to eliminating 12.5% of its home games over the next 3 years. Maybe St. Louis is the new Buffalo?!
It's not a fun time to be a Rams fan. We like what the Fisher signing said. We didn't like what the owner said. There are a million back-room machinations and negotiations happening right now that directly affect the Rams' ability to play football in St. Louis, and we're privy to nothing. Hell, we're surprised when the guy making the final decision decides to even come to our city.
So while all these things going on around the team feel like they should be something we can embrace and celebrate... we can't go overboard. Because if this were a 25-year case of blue balls with the NFL, I don't think anyone could be reasonably expected to fete anything related to this team properly.
We've still got some pride, right?
So let the over-analysis begin, the sifting though cryptic quotes commence, the bold proclamations one way or another from pundits to start. Because the one guy that knows all is going to give you one answer to all your concerns and fears: we'll see.