The Info List - Cleveland Rams

The professional American football
American football
team now known as the Los Angeles Rams was established in Cleveland
as the Cleveland
Rams, and played there from 1936 to 1945. The Rams competed in the second American Football League (AFL) for the 1936 season and the National Football League (NFL) from 1937–1945, winning the NFL championship in 1945, before moving to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
in 1946 to become the only NFL champion ever to play the following season in another city.[1] The move of the team to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
helped to jump-start the reintegration of pro football by African-American players and opened up the West Coast to professional sports. After being based in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
for 49 years, the Rams franchise moved again after the 1994 NFL season
1994 NFL season
to St. Louis. In 2016, the team moved back to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
after 21 seasons in St. Louis.[2]


1 Early days

1.1 1936: Founding in the AFL 1.2 1937–43: Struggles 1.3 1944: Rebound

2 1945 NFL Champions 3 Relocation to Los Angeles 4 References

Early days[edit] 1936: Founding in the AFL[edit] The Rams franchise, founded in 1936 by attorney/businessman Homer Marshman and player-coach Damon "Buzz" Wetzel, was named for the then-powerhouse Fordham Rams
Fordham Rams
and because the name was short and would fit easily into a newspaper headline.[3] Coached by Wetzel, and featuring future Hall-of-Fame coach Sid Gillman as a receiver, the team finished 5–2–2 in its first season in 1936, good for second place behind the Boston Shamrocks. The team might have hosted an AFL championship game at Cleveland's League Park; however, the Boston team canceled because its unpaid players refused to participate.[4] The Rams then moved from the poorly managed AFL to the National Football League
National Football League
in February 1937. Marshman and the other Rams stockholders paid $10,000 for an NFL franchise, then put up $55,000 to capitalize the new club, and Wetzel became general manager.[5] 1937–43: Struggles[edit] Under head coach Hugo Bezdek and with sole star Johnny Drake, the team's first-round draft pick, the Rams struggled in an era of little league parity to a 1–10 record in 1937 under heavy competition from the NFL's "big four": the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and the Washington Redskins. After the team dropped its first three games of 1938, Wetzel was fired, then Bezdek. Art Lewis
Art Lewis
became coach, and guided the team to four victories in its last eight games and a 4–7 record. Future Hall-of-Famer Dutch Clark
Dutch Clark
was named head coach for the 1939 season, and with Lewis as his assistant and with star back Parker Hall on the squad, the Rams improved to 5–5–1 in 1939 and 4–6–1 in 1940 before falling back to 2–9 in 1941, the year that Dan Reeves, a New Yorker with family wealth in the grocery business, acquired the team. The Rams bounced back to 5–6 and a third-place finish in 1942, but in the heavy war year of 1943, when many NFL personnel including Rams majority owner Reeves had been drafted into the military, they suspended play for one season. 1944: Rebound[edit] The franchise began to rebound in 1944 under the direction of general manager Chile Walsh
Chile Walsh
and head coach Aldo Donelli, the only man both to participate in a World Cup game and coach an NFL team. With servicemen beginning to return home, and with the makings of a championship team that included ends Jim Benton and Steve Pritko, backs Jim Gillette and Tommy Colella, and linemen Riley Matheson and Mike Scarry, the team improved to 4–6 in 1944, defeating the Bears in League Park
League Park
and the Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
in Briggs Stadium.[6] 1945 NFL Champions[edit]

Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Waterfield
Bob Waterfield
led the Cleveland
Rams to the 1945 NFL Championship.

With the arrival of star quarterback Bob Waterfield, the drafting of Pat West
Pat West
and the return of back Fred Gehrke, who would go on to create the first ever designed and painted helmet in NFL history, the team finally gelled into championship calibre. Donelli was drafted into the Navy, but Chile Walsh's brother Adam Walsh quickly took over as head coach. Waterfield-to-Benton became an aerial threat to opposing teams, with Benton becoming the NFL's first 300-yard receiver by hauling in 10 passes for 303 yards against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day 1945. Benton’s performance shattered the mark set by Green Bay Packers legend Don Hutson
Don Hutson
(237 yards) two years earlier in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The record stood for a remarkable 40 years, until it was broken by the Kansas City Chiefs' Stephone Paige in 1985. It still stands as the fourth-most receiving yards in a single game.[7] The only loss on the Rams' 9-1 regular-season record came to the Philadelphia Eagles. Otherwise Cleveland
plowed through the powers that had held a championship hegemony in the NFL since the early 1930s—the Bears, Giants, Packers, and Lions—and defeated the Washington Redskins, 15-14, in the 1945 NFL Championship Game
1945 NFL Championship Game
in near-zero degree weather at Cleveland
Stadium. The Rams, led by Waterfield, who was married to Hollywood star Jane Russell, were described as "sport’s first spectacular postwar team."[8] Relocation to Los Angeles[edit] Only one month after winning the championship, Reeves overcame initial objections of his fellow NFL owners and announced he would be moving the Rams to Los Angeles. He cited financial losses and poor attendance in Cleveland, but just as likely he had had his eye on the booming L.A. market since buying the team in 1941.[9] He also was leery of competition in the Cleveland
market from the incoming Cleveland
Browns of the All-America Football Conference, who would be stocked with many Ohio players and coached by former Ohio State coach Paul Brown. The Rams' move opened up the Cleveland
market to the new Browns, who would meet with a high degree of initial success in the AAFC and the NFL. At the same time the Rams and their championship were soon forgotten in Cleveland, in part due to a month-long, citywide newspaper strike that paralleled the team's departure, delayed coverage, and muted public outcry.[10] Once in L.A., the Rams were forced to integrate their team with African-American players as a condition for renting the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[11] In doing so, the Rams (along with the Cleveland Browns) reintegrated pro football, and Reeves's move also opened the West Coast to pro sports teams that later included the westward moves of five franchises and establishments of additional pro sports teams in California and Los Angeles
Los Angeles
from the major sports leagues. References[edit]

^ "NFL Champions 1920-2014". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 16, 2016.  ^ SI Wire (October 20, 2014). "Report: Rams considered most likely team to move to Los Angeles". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 16, 2016.  ^ Hal Lebovitz, “Remember the Cleveland
Rams?”, Coffin Corner 7 (1985), Professional Football Researchers Association. ^ " Cleveland
Rams," Encyclopedia of Cleveland
History." http://ech.cwru.edu/ech-cgi/article.pl?id=CR3 ^ Joe F. Carr, ed., Official Guide of the National Football League: 1937 [New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 1937], 43. ^ " St. Louis
St. Louis
Rams Team Encyclopedia," Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/ram/ ^ "Thanksgiving 1945: NFL's first 300-yd receiver," Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/story/2010/11/23/Benton-becomes-nfls-1st-300-receiver-Thanksgiving/ ^ Steve Gietschier, “Go west, young Rams,” The Sporting News, January 23, 1995, 7. ^ Vince Guerrieri, "Documentary documents Browns' pro football integration," Telegraph-Forum, September 21, 2014. http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com/story/sports/local/beyond-the-scores/2014/09/21/documentary-details-browns-pro-football-integration/16030407/ ^ Sulecki, James C. The Cleveland
Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936–1945. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2016. http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-9943-4 ^ Gretchen Atwood, "Unsung Heroes of Rams Football Integration," LA Weekly, June 10, 2009. http://www.laweekly.com/2009-06-11/news/unsung-heroes-of-rams-football-integration/

v t e

Los Angeles
Los Angeles

Founded in 1936 Played in Cleveland
(1936–45) and St. Louis
St. Louis
(1995–2015) Based in Los Angeles, California Headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California


Franchise History

in Cleveland in St. Louis

Seasons Players Coaches First-round draft picks Starting quarterbacks Statistics Broadcasters Awards


Stadium League Park Shaw Stadium Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Memorial Coliseum Anaheim Stadium Busch Stadium Edward Jones Dome Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Stadium at Hollywood Park (under construction)


Rampage Cheerleaders Heaven Can Wait (film) Melonheads Carroll Rosenbloom John Ramsey


The Greatest Show on Turf Bull Elephant backfield Fearsome Foursome "The Tackle"


San Francisco 49ers Kansas City Chiefs

Retired numbers

7 28 29 74 75 78 80 85


Broadcasters Radio network KCBS-FM J.B. Long D'Marco Farr Dick Enberg

Wild card berths (8)

1980 1983 1984 1986 1988 1989 2000 2004

Division championships (16)

1945 1949 1967 1969 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1985 1999 2001 2003 2017

Conference championships (6)

1950 1951 1955 1979 1999 2001

League championships (3)

1945 1951 1999 (XXXIV)

Current league affiliations

League: National Football League
National Football League
(1937–present) Conference: National Football Conference Division: West Division

Former league affiliation

League: American Football League (1936)

Seasons (82)

1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Championship seasons in bold

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Rams 1937 NFL inaugural season roster

Jules Alfonse Mark Barber John Bettridge Carl Brumbaugh Phil Bucklew Forrest Burmeister Sam Busich Chuck Cherundolo Bud Cooper Johnny Drake Bob Emerick Wayne Gift Ed Goddard Paul Halleck Ralph Isselhardt Ray Johnson Joe Keeble Ted Livingston Harry Mattos Ookie Miller Primo Miller Bill O'Neill Stan Pincura Ted Rosequist Ollie Savatsky Mike Sebastian Ed Skoronski Bob Snyder Jim Turner Wayne Underwood Walt Uzdavinis Joe Williams Dick Zoll

Head coach: Hugo Bezdek

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Rams 1945 NFL champions

Graham Armstrong Jim Benton Dave Bernard Gil Bouley Tommy Colella Bob deLauer Roger Eason Fred Gehrke Jim Gillette Don Greenwood Ray Hamilton Roger Harding Red Hickey Jack Jacobs Harvey Jones George Koch Floyd Konetsky Mike Lazetich Les Lear Butch Levy Sonny Liles Riley Matheson Art Mergenthal Ray Monaco Rudy Mucha Steve Nemeth George Phillips Steve Pritko Albie Reisz Bill Rieth Ralph Ruthstrom Mo Scarry Eberle Schultz Bob Shaw Rudy Sikich Bob Waterfield Pat West Joe Winkler Jim Worden Walt Zirinsky

Head coach: Adam Walsh

Owner: Dan Reeves

v t e

American Football League (1936–1937)


1936 1937


Boston Shamrocks Brooklyn/Rochester Tigers Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland
Rams Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Bulldogs New York Yankees Pittsburgh Americans Syracuse/Rochester Braves


Braves Field Cleveland
Stadium Crosley Field Ebbets Field Fenway Park Forbes Field Gilmore Stadium Municipal Stadium (Syracuse) Red Wing Stadium Triborough Stadium Ya