LA Rams: Back on track to compete for a Super Bowl victory

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Since the LA Rams moved back to Los Angeles, the task of rooting for the team has been quite the emotional roller coaster ride. From trading multiple first-round picks with the Tennessee Titans leading up to the 2016 NFL in order to select Jared Goff with the first overall pick, to firing former head coach Jeff Fisher mid-season of 2016. Then, the team decided to hire Sean McVay before the off-season, making him the youngest head coach in the NFL.

Just two years later, McVay led the Rams to compete in Super Bowl LIII.  Although the Rams lost, the sudden ascension to relevance has not subsided. The Rams have had winning records in each of the past four seasons, and an overall record of 43-21 in the regular season, with a 3-3 record so far in post-season play. But it didn’t come together by coincidence.

The LA Rams front office has been very aggressive in making moves to support the team. The deluge of blockbuster moves that the team has made under GM Les Snead has been in both directions. The team moves aggressively to acquire talent. But this team is just as aggressive to part ways with talent. Yes, it’s been a heck of a five-year ride.

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Following a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl run in 2018, Vegas really liked the Rams entering the 2019 season. Pro Football Reference had the Rams 2019 season win total set at 10.5 and their odds to win the Super Bowl was the sixth-best in the NFL.  Thanks to the fact that the team’s best players were so young, many pundits believed that the team had the potential to win multiple Super Bowls.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

Down we go

Considering the lofty expectations, the 2019 season ended up being a disappointing one. The team saw meaningful injuries to the offensive line, along with regression from running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff, as the team finished the year 9-7 and missed the playoffs for the first time under McVay. Entering the 2020 season, projections for the Rams’ season win total fell to 8.5 and they fell to the 18th most likely team to win the Super Bowl that year.  That’s not good, considering there are only 32 teams.

On top of the team looking worse on the field, their salary situation looked terrible. The Rams committed a lot of money over the Jared Goff extension ($134 million over four years, with an NFL record of $110 million guaranteed) that quickly looked like a mistake as soon as the ink dried. Before the 2021 season, the LA Rams locked in a deal to trade away Goff. A year earlier, the LA Rams cut RB Todd Gurley and traded away WR Brandin Cooks.  It seemed as though the incentive to play hard fell as the compensation rose.  For the past two seasons, the Rams front office has been severely handicapped by the burden of so much dead salary cap money.

And back up

Due to these players regressing after signing huge contracts, many assumed the Rams Super Bowl window was prematurely shut. I myself pondered how the team could overcome these bad contracts and become an elite team again. Well, where there is a will, there is a way.

Fast forward to today, and prognosticators have set the Rams’ 2021 season win total is at 10.5 wins and the odds of winning the Super Bowl at have risen to 13 to 1, fourth-best in the league.  Apparently, the Rams impressed a few NFL Analysts by going into Seattle to face the Seahawks with a backup quarterback starting the game, and a successful relief appearance by a quarterback with a busted thumb on his throwing hand.

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There are several reasons for the odds swinging back in the Rams’ favor, including a list of our best players restructuring their contracts, excellent play from our stars, upgrading the quarterback position, and management continuing to find good players later on in the draft. Oddsmakers have taken notice, and they believe that the Rams are once again in a position to win the title.