For the 12s is a new installment at Seattle Sportsnet. Every week we’ll preview the Seahawks’ upcoming opponent, with each gameday primer geared towards those individuals who have been fans of the Seattle Seahawks since no earlier than 2012.
The Rams are back! You may have heard this recently and been thoroughly confused. Where did the Rams go? Were they ever really gone? Haven’t the Rams always been terrible? All valid questions.
Over the course of the past five years, the Rams have indeed been quite bad. While the Seahawks have dominated the NFC West and the 49ers and Cardinals have flirted with the postseason, the Rams have been entrenched at the bottom of the standings. Perhaps the only consistency has been their ability to play Seattle tougher than almost any other opponent during this time; which, in and of itself, is quite admirable.
Interestingly enough, the Rams haven’t always struggled! In fact, prior to 2012, the Rams, at times, excelled. Believe it or not, they even won a Super Bowl in the 2000 season behind a high-flying offense dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf” – a moniker earned due to the team playing its games on AstroTurf, an artificial surface that has since been replaced by Field Turf.
The Greatest Show on Turf Rams featured such greats as tailback Marshall Faulk, receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and quarterback Kurt Warner, a Hall of Famer who shares a name with ex-Seahawk Curt Warner, a running back who played for Seattle prior to 2012.
These Rams dominated the NFC West when the Seahawks first entered the division in 2002. Only after Seattle made a run to its very first Super Bowl in 2005 did a changing of the guard ensue. This corresponded with an organizational transition in St. Louis, where the Rams all but retired their “Greatest Show on Turf” roster and instead handed the reins to the likes of head coach Scott Linehan and quarterback Marc Bulger, both of whom underwhelmed.
The Seahawks’ string of success extended into the 2010s, around the time you likely became a sports fan. The Rams, meanwhile, continued to flounder.
One season ago, the Rams relocated from St. Louis to Los Angeles, a city they had previously called home prior to 2012. In fact, from 1946 until 1994, the Rams were technically Angelenos, despite playing home games in Anaheim from 1980 until their migration to Missouri some 14 years later. Thus, a return to California was a welcome sight to those who had supported the team before its move to St. Louis.
Currently, the Rams play their home contests in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, an iconic stadium that also houses USC Trojans football and has played host to the Summer Olympic Games in years’ past. In addition, the Coliseum was featured in the climactic scene of the movie Money Talks, a comedy starring Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker that was released prior to 2012.
The 2017 Rams are led by rookie head coach Sean McVay, a 31-year-old whippersnapper who previously held jobs as an assistant with the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Florida Tuskers of the United Football League. The United Football League – or UFL, as it was more commonly known – was a developmental pro football league that existed prior to 2012.
In addition to McVay, the Rams’ youth movement is pervasive in its backfield, where second-year quarterback Jared Goff and third-year tailback Todd Gurley have helped the team soar to a 3-1 record. Goff, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, is the son of former Major League Baseball player Jerry Goff, a catcher who played for the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Montreal Expos. The Expos were a baseball team that moved to Washington D.C. and became the Nationals prior to 2012.
On special teams, Los Angeles features Johnny Hekker, one of the best punters in the NFL. Hekker attended Oregon State University and hails from the Seattle area. He attended Bothell High School and started at quarterback for the Cougars – in addition to handling the punting duties – prior to 2012.
In 38 games all-time versus the Rams, the Seahawks lead the series 22-16. Since 2012, however, the teams are knotted at five wins apiece.
Come Sunday afternoon, one of these teams will have the edge over the other in the 12 Since ’12 era. Will it be your Seahawks? We’ll find out this weekend!