(Kurt Warner photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Talk of Fame Network
This is “Los Angeles Week ” at the Talk of Fame Network.
We featured Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher and Hall-of-Fame candidate Isaac Bruce on our weekly radio show to discuss the return of the franchise to Los Angeles after a 21-year absence. Bruce broke in with the Rams as a rookie in their final season in Los Angeles in 1994 before moving on with the team to St. Louis in 1995.
The franchise has an illustrious history, winning NFL championships in three different cities: Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1950) and St. Louis (1999). So in keeping with this week’s theme, we’re asking our listeners and readers to vote on the greatest Ram of all-time. Here are your six choices:
Eric Dickerson. A Hall of Famer and the NFL’s seventh all-time leading rusher with 13,259 yards. Dickerson set the NFL single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards in 1984. He led the NFL in rushing four times, including his rookie season in 1983 with 1,808 yards. His final rushing crown came in 1988 after his trade to the Colts. Dickerson rushed for 100 yards or more in 64 games, fourth best in NFL history.
(Eric Dickerson photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Marshall Faulk. A Hall of Famer and the NFL’s 10th all-time leading rusher with 12,279. Faulk accomplished two feats that Dickerson could not – he became a Super Bowl champion (1999) and an NFL MVP (2000). Faulk rushed for 100 yards 24 times with the Rams, and his team went 24-0 in those games. Like Dickerson, Faulk also spent time with the Indianapolis, where he was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1994. He ranks second all-time among running backs with 767 career catches.
Deacon Jones. The Deacon introduced the term “sack” as a tackle of the quarterback. Nonetheless, the NFL does not acknowledge any of his sacks because they all occurred before the NFL officially started counting them in 1982. But we will – the Deacon had 173 ½ sacks in his 14-year career from 1961 through 1974, third best of all-time behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White. Jones went to eight Pro Bowls and was voted the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in both 1967 and 1968. He’s also in the Hall of Fame.
(Deacon Jones photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Merlin Olsen. Olsen played alongside Roger Brown, Deacon Jones and Lamar Lundy to form a “Fearsome Foursome” for the Rams in the 1960s and has joined Jones in the Hall of Fame. He won the Outland Trophy as college football’s best lineman at Utah State in 1961 and was voted the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1962. He went to 14 Pro Bowls and joined Jones on the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. He collected 92 career sacks from his defensive tackle position.
Norm Van Brocklin. From 1949 through 1952 the Rams had a pair of Hall of Famers split the quarterbacking duties, Bob Waterfield and Van Brocklin. That tandem took the Rams to the NFL title game in 1949, 1950 and 1951, and Van Brocklin did it on his own in 1955. The Rams lost all of those championships except 1950 when Van Brocklin threw a 73-yard pass to Tom Fears for the game-winning touchdown in a 24-17 victory over the Browns. Van Brocklin owns the NFL record with a 554-yard passing game against the New York Yanks in the 1951 season opener. He also quarterbacked the Eagles to an NFL championship in 1960.
Kurt Warner. A two-time Hall of Fame finalist, Warner is still waiting for his ticket to be punched for Canton. He was a two-time NFL MVP who took the Rams to two Super Bowls and the Arizona Cardinals to another. Stepping in for an injured Trent Green in 1999, Warner steered the Rams to a 13-3 record and their first NFL crown since 1950. Just as Van Brocklin did in 1950, Warner threw a 73-yard TD pass to Isaac Bruce in the closing minutes for the winning touchdown in a 23-16 Super Bowl victory over the Tennessee Titans to cap that 1999 season.