LA Rams history with the NFC Championship Game

(Photo by Vic Stein/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
(Photo by Vic Stein/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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LA Rams History Mike Martz
AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo by JEFF HAYNES / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

Mike Martz takes over

The LA Rams won the Super Bowl, but the emotional wear-and-tear on head coach Dick Vermeil was too great. The head coach loved all of his players, but after winning the Super Bowl, the NFL business side of football quickly entered the picture.  Per an ESPN article at that time, Vermeil opted to step away, rather than be the guy who told players that they would no longer be playing for the St. Louis Rams.

"“I don’t want to participate in that,” Vermeil said. “I don’t want to cut the squad. These are my guys.” – Rams HC Dick Vermeil per ESPN News Service"

Vermeil left the NFL after winning a Super Bowl and created the opportunity for the Rams to promote offensive coordinator Mike Martz to head coach.

Won 2001 NFC Championship (3-6)
It’s not easy to follow a Super Bowl-winning season, but Mike Martz came very close. In his first season leading the team, he coached to a 10-6 season, good enough to make the playoffs as a wild card team.  The following year, the team finished with a 14-2 record and competed once more in the NFC Championship Game. This time, the opponent was the Philadelphia Eagles.

The story of this game was the indomitable rushing of Marshall Faulk, who put up 31 carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams won the game. St. Louis Rams 29 Philadelphia Eagles 24.

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Lost Super Bowl XXXVI (1-1)

The LA Rams faced the New England Patriots in SB XXXVI and the NFL would never be the same. While Brady did not do very much to help his team win in this first Super Bowl appearance, he did just enough not to lose the game. As was often the case, the Patriots’ defense was incredibly effective, getting their first touchdown as a pick-six off Warner. The Patriots’ offense would score a touchdown of their own with an eight-yard pass from Brady to WR David Patten.

The Rams would come back to tie the ballgame with a Kurt Warner two-yard TD plunge, followed by a touchdown pass to WR Ricky Proehl for 26-yards with just 1:30 remaining in the game. But the defense would allow the Patriots to move the ball into field goal range, and Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri booted the game-winning buzzer-beater.  St. Louis Rams 17 New England Patriots 20.