Brandon Perkins, Contributing Writer

As a kid growing up in St. Louis, football was always a part of my life. Anyone can look at me and see I’m no football player personally. However, I was once a die-hard Rams fan. For most of my life I’ve cheered those players on. Through good or bad. I can remember when the term “The Greatest Show on Turf” was used to describe the elite level of offense that we had. My favorite player all time, Marshall Faulk, was the leader of the group. Along with Kurt Warner, Issac Bruce, Torry Holt, Ricky Proehl, Ernie Conwell and tons of other players, the team was able to win a Super Bowl and make several late post seasons runs. During these times my family would watch these games together every Sunday. St. Louis Rams football was a must-see event. This high level of play brought an excitement to the city that was only matched by the monumental success of rap superstar Nelly during the 2000s. Surely excitement like this can’t last forever but it almost seems like the party was over just as it was beginning to start.

A few years after the Rams suffered the loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the deep playoff runs ended. The Greatest Show on Turf was no more and the stars that made the teams were all gone by the mid to late 2000s. The team was so terrible, it was worse than watching high school football. Yes, a small high school JV football could have beaten The Rams when they were at their worst point. However, this did not stop me from being a fan and cheering on for however long I could. I can remember going to the Edward Jones dome and seeing Peyton Manning and The Colts torch the team and win by over forty points. By this time, I had become numb to the team losing in such fashion and enjoyed the chance of seeing Hall of Fame player Peyton Manning do what he did best. The team had gotten so bad on the field that anyone could see that the team was intentionally kept at a low performing level. I can even remember telling a friend that I believed the team would relocate based on how long the team had been bad and based on draft decisions the team was making.

In 2014, things were beginning to change. The team hired veteran coach Jeff Fischer and began to make better draft decisions. One of the best decisions was drafting running back Todd Gurley. Todd Gurley is a pro bowl caliber player to this day. My family was talking about football again. You could feel the excitement in the air that the team was a few players away from a deep playoff run. The 2014 and 2015 seasons saw vast improvement as the team won six and nine games, respectively. I know it’s not the nine or 10 win season that typically constitutes the title of a good season, but when you’ve seen the team have minimum totals of one and two games for the entire season, those were great improvements.

In late 2015 and early 2016 when I kept receiving information about stadium issues that could cause the Rams to relocate, I knew the team was leaving. I was awakened by the overnight news when I heard that my St. Louis Rams would move to Los Angeles. The announcement woke me from sleep and I immediately felt betrayed by the team. I felt a sense of abandonment that I’ve never been able to get over. With the NFL season having recently started, I’m constantly reminded of the joy I once felt when I watched the team. The passion for the sport of football is gone from me. The National Anthem controversy and the NFL’s response to it has also impacted my views on the sport. The excitement and joy I felt about football as a youth is only a memory. I reminisce of the team every time I pass the dome in downtown St. Louis. With no plans of getting a new NFL team and the ongoing controversies, those wounds will remain fresh.