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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Los Angeles Rams Franchise History - A Fan's Essentials


Fall 2021: To purchase a reasonably priced 8" x 24" plaqued mounted version of the Rams poster that's ready to hang on your wall, please visit Heritage Sports Stuff.

1. Los Angeles Rams – The Team Name
This franchise was established in 1937. The team has been located in three cities and has been known as:
Cleveland Rams 1937-1942, 1944-1945
Los Angeles Rams 1946-1994
St. Louis Rams 1995-2015
Los Angeles Rams 2016-Present

Note: The Rams franchise suspended operation in 1943 during World War II due to a player shortage.

2. Los Angeles Rams – The Championship Record

Four NFL Championship Wins (1945, 1951, 1999, 2021)
+
Six Championship Losses (1949, 1950, 1955, 1979, 2001, 2018)

Two NFL Championships:
December 16, 1945 Cleveland Rams 15, Washington 14
December 23, 1951 Los Angeles Rams 24, Cleveland Browns 17

Three Other NFL Championship Appearances/Losses:
1949 Philadelphia Eagles 14, LA Rams 0
1950 Cleveland Browns 30, LA Rams 28
1955 Cleveland Browns 38, LA Rams 14

Two Super Bowl Championships:
Super Bowl XXXIV January 30, 2000 St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16
Super Bowl LVI February 13, 2022 LA Rams 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20

Three Other Super Bowl Appearances/Losses:
Super Bowl XIV January 20, 1980 Pittsburgh 31, LA Rams 19
Super Bowl XXXVI February 3, 2002 New England 20, St. Louis Rams 17
Super Bowl LIII February 3, 2019 New England 13  LA Rams 3

3. Los Angeles Rams – Home Stadium History
1. Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland
1937, 1939-41, 1945
2. League Park, Cleveland
1937, 1942, 1944-45
3. Shaw Stadium, Cleveland
1938
4. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
1946-79
5. Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim CA
1980-94
6. Busch Stadium, St. Louis
1995
7. Dome at America Center / Trans World Dome / Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
1995-2015
8. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
2016-2019
9. Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park / SoFi Stadium, Inglewood CA
2020-Present

4. The Rams horns on the Rams helmet

 Here's the "Fred Gehrke" story as of February 2022:
 
The first-ever NFL helmet with a logo was hand-painted by the Rams' player Fred Gehrke in 1947/1948. Visit here to watch a short TV clip done in 2022.

Team branding is a big part of the NFL's success. But did you know it all started with the L.A. Rams? When you consider the 100-plus-year history of the NFL, a lot has happened and a lot has changed. But could a single Rams helmet perhaps be the most historically significant artifact of the last century?

The story goes back to the mid 1940's, back when helmets didn't provide much either in the form of safety, or in this case, team identity.

The story also involves NFL player Fred Gehrke.  Gehrke played in the NFL in 1940, then again from 1942-1950. He played for the Cleveland Rams in 1945 and moved to LA when the Rams moved to LA - he played for the LA Rams from 1946-49.

The story goes that in the mid-1940s, Gehrke toyed with the notion of painting a football helmet. Rams coach Bob Snyder suggested Gehrke paint a helmet with the ram horns on it that he could present to the team's owner Dan Reeves. Gehrke painted two ram horns on an old college helmet and presented the design to Reeves, who was intrigued. Reeves then contacted the NFL for a ruling on legality of having a football helmet painted. It was reported that the answer Reeves received from the NFL was "You're the owner; do what you want!" Reeves then tasked Gehrke to paint 75 helmets at $1.00 per helmet. The project took Gehrke the entire summer of 1948.

Wikipedia picks up on the story: "The newly painted helmets debuted during a pre-season match-up between the Rams and Redskins at the Los Angeles Coliseum before a crowd of 105,000. Upon seeing the new helmets the crowd began cheering, which was followed by a five-minute standing ovation. To this day, Gehrke's rams horn logo is still worn by the team. By 1949, the Riddell sporting goods company had created a plastic helmet, baking in Gehrke's design. Some observers of the 1950 NFL Championship Game said that the only way to tell the Rams and the Cleveland Browns apart in the initial low resolution coast-to-coast telecast was the distinctive horns on the Rams' helmets. Throughout the 1950s many professional and college teams began painting logos to their helmets. The Pro Football Hall of Fame displays one of the original helmets, painted by Gehrke, along with the story behind it each year during Super Bowl Week. The logo innovation also earned Gehrke the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award in 1972."

Kevin Pederson, the current (as of 2022) owner of the helmet tells the story this way: "Gehrke
wanted to decorate the Rams helmet with a team logo. As an art major in college, he went to the coach. "He kept asking the question and the coach just kinda kept pushing him off until he finally got upset and handed him this helmet - and just said go home and paint," said Keven Pederson, the current owner of the historic helmet.

That helmet is believed to be the first of 75 that were hand-painted that year in Gehrke's garage. He was paid on the side at $1 per helmet.

According to Pederson "Fred carried a can of blue and yellow paint with him all through the next season, and after the game he would take your helmet and if there were scuffs on it, he would fix the yellow and fix the blue."

5. For more information on the Rams, you should bookmark these four great websites:

For a huge amount of great historic player and team information:
www.databasefootball.com
and
www.pro-football-reference.com/teams

For a great summary of the Rams' year by year standings:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Los_Angeles_Rams_seasons 

For great information about the team's stadiums (don't be fooled by the fact that the website is called "ballparks.com", it also has great information on football stadiums):
www.ballparks.com

6. Celebrate the Rams' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the Los Angeles Rams and the history of the Rams franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 15 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 15 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.

These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)



If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our St. Louis Rams YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfhYDCOQUag or go directly to the artwork website https://www.heritagesportsart.com/collections/st-louis-rams where you can see and purchase the artwork.

And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at www.heritagesportsart.com (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/user/ssillcox

And please search my blog archive http://heritagejerseys.blogspot.com/ for other blogs on the history of the Rams.

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This blog was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 19, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at ssillcox@rogers.com !

Many thanks!!!
Scott

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Thank you for taking the time to add a comment - all input is welcome, especially the constructive kind! All the best - Scott