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Five unforgettable Rams

The National Football League returned to St. Louis in 1995 after an eight year absence. That's when then teamowner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams here from Los Angeles.

Da Bears! : how the 1985 monsters of the midway became the greatest team in NFL history
Steve Delsohn.
New York : Crown Archetype, c2010.
An acclaimed sports journalist and native Chicagoan tackles what many call the greatest team in NFL history.Da Bears!tells the full story of the '85 legends-with all the contro¬­versy and excitement-on the field and off. ¬  It's been 25 years since the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX with what Bill Parcells called "the best de¬­fensive team I've ever seen" and an offense surprisingly good for a franchise where offense was often a dirty word. Now, for the first time, an incredibly candid book takes you through all the games and behind the scenes-into the huddles, the locker rooms, the team meetings, and of course the bars-for an intimate ac¬­count of that unforgettable season. ¬  Here's how a team that got booed in its regular-season opener ended up winning its first world cham¬­pionship in 22 years, led by the most capable, colorful, and un-PC characters ever to strap on helmets-including Jim McMahon, the hard partyer and so-called punk rocker who became a star quarterback and an antihero; William "Refrigerator" Perry, the rookie giant who turned into a full-blown national sensation; Mike Ditka, the legendarily combative head coach called "Sybil" for his mercurial moods; his nemesis, defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan, who insulted and broke down his players, then built them back up again, military-sty= Walter Payton, the hard-nosed running back and mischievous prankster; and middle linebacker Mike Singletary, known for his leadershipandhis jarring hits. From the inner workings of their innovative and attacking 46 defense to the inside story of their cocky "Super Bowl Shuffle" music video (shot, amazingly, right after their one loss of the season, to Miami), all the setbacks and triumphs, ferocious hits and foibles, of this once-in-a-lifetime team are recaptured brashly and boldly-the Chicago way. From the Hardcover edition.
     
NFL unplugged : the brutal, brilliant world of professional football
Anthony L. Gargano.
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, c2010.
Blood, guts, and glory-veteran players reveal the NFL you never see on TVBehind every glittering NFL game on television is a world of happy pain for a hundred men. NFL Unplugged lets you see that world through the eyes of the pros who live and sweat in it. Here are the places the cameras don't go: the locker room where coaches' speeches can deflate or motivate, the huddle where fart jokes vie with playcalling, the training camp where locusts and heat conspire to break the strongest bodies and shake the most determined minds. Now you can experience it all up close and unplugged. Draws on firsthand accounts of more than thirty players and coaches from teams across the NFL, including Mark Schlereth, Bill Romanowski, Kevin Long, Kyle Turley, John Gruden, Hugh Douglas, Jon Runyan, and Michael Strahan An unvarnished look at everything from training camp and broken dreams, conditioning and injuries, and camaraderie and hazing to the quest to gain a competitive edge and the exhilarating triumphs of the game Written by one of the top figures in sports radio, Anthony Gargano of Philadelphia's 610-WIPFrom the injuries that never heal and the money that never lasts to the memories and the glory that never fade, NFL Unplugged shows the unbridled brutality and sheer brilliance of the game.
     
The games that changed the game : the evolution of the NFL in seven Sundays
Ron Jaworski, with Greg Cosell and David Plaut.
New York : ESPN Books, c2010.
From the advent of the vertical passing game to the development of ever-more-sophisticated blitzing schemes on defense, professional football in the last half century has been a sport marked by relentless innovation. For fans determined to keep up with the changes that have transformed the game, close examination of the coaching footage is a must. In the words of Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, The film does not lie.o In The Games That Changed the Game, Ron Jaworski, a one-time NFL MVP turned Monday Night Football analyst and pro football's #1 game-tape guru, breaks down the film from seven of the most momentous contests of the last fifty years. With an eye toward the brilliant game plans and seminal strategic breakthroughs that revolutionized play on both sides of the ball, Jaworski offers readers a drive-by-drive, play-by-play guide to the evolutionary leaps that now define the modern NFL, as well as portraits of the seven men who exhibited both creativity and courage in bucking established strategies. From Sid Gillman's development of the Vertical Stretch, which culminated in the San Diego Chargers' victory in the 1963 AFL Championship Game and launched the era of wide-open passing offenses, to Bill Belichick's daring defensive game plan in Super Bowl XXXVI, which enabled his outgunned squad to upset the heavily favored St. Louis Rams and usher in the New England Patriots dynasty, the most cutting-edge concepts come alive again through the recollections of nearly seventy coaches and players interviewed for this book. Writing with the same vivid, passionate, and accessible style that has made him television's go-to X's and O's maven, Jaworski fills in the blanks for fans who aren't satisfied with merely dropping the terms West Coast offenseo or 46 defenseo into conversation, but want to understand them fully, in context, as they were experienced by the men who played the game. You'll never watch the NFL the same way again.
     
The man who built the National Football League : Joe F. Carr
Chris Willis.
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2010.
Founded in 1920, the National Football League chose famed athlete Jim Thorpe as its first president, a position he held briefly until a successor was elected. From 1921 to 1939, Joe F. Carr guided the sport of professional football with intelligence, hard work, and a passion that built the foundation of what the NFL has become: the number one sports organization in the world. During his 18-year tenure as NFL President, Carr created the organization's first Constitution & By-Laws; implemented the standard player's contract; wrote the NFL's first-ever Record and Fact Book; helped split the NFL into two divisions and establish the NFL's World Championship Game; started keeping league statistics; and developed the NFL Draft. But Carr's greatest achievement was creating a vision for the NFL as a big-city sport. By skillfully recruiting financially capable owners to operate NFL franchises in big market cities, he created the solid foundation for the league's successful future. While the sport has grown to unheard of heights, Carr's name and accomplishments have been lost and forgotten. The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr captures the life and career of this pivotal figure in professional sports, chronicling the many achievements of a man whose vision helped shaped what the NFL is today. With unlimited access and complete cooperation from the Carr family_including family interviews, personal letters, and family photos_as well as NFL League Minutes, Willis recounts the fascinating life and career of a man dedicated to the game.
     

"We've tried to build the team and do whatever it takes to be a winner."

Georgia Frontiere, 2000

Ask St. Louis Rams fans about their favorite memory and you will get different answers. Yet, any fan's list of unforgettable Rams is likely to include these five:

Jackie Slater -- Inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2001, Slater was the only player in NFL history to play 20 seasons with same team. That included his start against the Carolina Panthers in the Rams first year in St. Louis. Fans still talk about watching him block against opponents' best pass rushers.

Stadium stories : St. Louis Rams
Rick Smith.
Guilford, Conn. : Insiders' Guide, c2005.
The St. Louis Rams are among the most exciting and popular teams in the NFL. Join veteran NFL professional Rick Smith as he recounts the best tales of this terrific franchise.
     
Beyond Xs and Os : my thirty years in the NFL
Jim Hanifan with Rob Rains ; [foreword by Dan Dierdorf].
[Champaign, Ill.] : Sports Pub., c2003.
Arguably the finest offensive line coach in the history of professional football, Jim Hanifan of the St. Louis Rams tells the story of his life in the NFL as he enters his final season.
     
Heart & soul : the Kurt Warner story
text by Gary Ronberg ; photos by Marc Serota.
Chicago, IL : Triumph Books, c2009.
From stocking supermarket shelves to playing in two Super Bowls with the Rams and from being consigned to the NFL scrap heap to starring in a third Super Bowl with the Cardinals, Kurt Warner's story is a saga of dreams realized and opportunities rewarded against all odds. It's also a vivid testimony to the faith of a man and his wife to whom tragedy is no stranger and whose commitment to family and community is an inspiration for all. This stunning, full-color volume is a treat for both the eyes and the spirit.
     
First things first : the rules of being a Warner
Kurt and Brenda Warner, with Jennifer Schuchmann.
Carol Stream, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2009.
For instance, did you know...
     
First things first : [the rules of being a Warner-- what works, what doesn't and what really matters most]
Kurt & Brenda Warner, with Jennifer Schuchmann.
Carol Stream, Ill. : Tyndale Audio, p2009.
Kurt Warner is the two-time NFL MVP-winning quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. Brenda Warner is an ex-Marine turned stay-at-home mom who collects coats for low-income kids and rocks babies to sleep at a hospital for chronically-ill infants. Together they're the parents of seven, going into their 12th year of marriage, and founders of a foundation that helps disadvantaged children and families. Their formula for success? They put First Things First-family, faith, and giving to others- it's their family motto, and it drives everything they do. First Things First is an honest, insightful, and entertaining look at life inside the Warner household. Kurt and Brenda speak candidly about their marriage, the values they are working to instill in their kids, things they've done right, mistakes they've made, the importance of giving back, and the legacy they hope to leave behind.
     
Desert storm : Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals' unforgettable run to the Super Bowl.
 
Chicago : Triumph Books, 2009.
Fans were captivated by Kurt Wamer's story and on-field skill. Okay, the hurt is gone and now Cardinal fans can celebrate a great season. Arizona was this year's NFL best loved over-achiever.
     
Kurt Warner : and the last shall be first
by Rich Wolfe and Bob Margeas.
[St. Louis, Mo.] : Rich Wolfe, c2000.
     
All things possible : my story of faith, football, and the miracle season
Kurt Warner with Michael Silver.
San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 2000.
NFL sensation Kurt Warner tells the incredible story of faith and perseverance that captured the hearts of millions and rocketed him from obscurity to become MVP and Super Bowl champion.
     
Kurt Warner : the quarterback
Howard Balzer.
[St. Louis, Mo.] : GHB Publishers, c2000.
Kurt Warner: The Quarterback is more than just a biographical snapshot of the talented quarterback of the Saint Louis Rams. It is a story of Christian faith, family, and perseverance. In a unique combination of stunning, full-color photographs along with words by Howard Balzer, a national columnist for Pro Football Weekly and senior editor of Lindy's Pro Football magazine, football fans will come to know Kurt Warner from his childhood through the incredible 1999-2000 football season. More than just a glimpse of Kurt Warner, this book contains action-packed football photos; football tips for young players; quotes about Kurt from players and coaches; Kurt's strong Christian testimony; the day Kurt will never forget; a biographical look at Kurt's career; a question-and-answer section; a profile of Kurt; and statistics and records.
     

Marshall Faulk -- When the Rams acquired running back Marshall Faulk from Indianapolis in 1999 fans got the opportunity to watch one of the best, whether he was running for that extra yard or pulling down another pass. Faulk led the NFL with 160 points and 26 touchdowns in 2000 and again with 128 points and 21 touchdowns in 2001.

Kurt Warner -- Most fans know the story of this a former Arena League and NFL Europe player who went undrafted out of Northern Iowa, yet took the Rams to championships in multiple years. His story's amazing, but not as amazing as watching him pass to victory in crucial games. Who can forget his 74-yard pass play to Isaac Bruce with 1:54 left in Super Bowl XXXIV?

Isaac Bruce -- This wide-receiver helped get the Rams off to a winning start their first season in St. Louis.  For many fans their first St. Louis Ram memory is Bruce blocking a punt with just minutes left in the first half of the game against the Green Bay Packers. While remembered for both this blocked punt and his thrilling pass catch in Super Bowl XXXIV, another memorable play was his fourth down, 43-yard TD catch against Houston in 2005.

Best NFL offenses

Rams 2000
Redskins 1983
Vikings 1998
Dolphins 1984
Chargers 1981

(ESPN's rankings)

Mike Martz -- As offensive coordinator and later head coach, Martz was known for his innovative 'spread offense' and imaginative play-calling. His Rams offensive unit was nicknamed 'Greatest Show on Turf' during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 seasons. In five years as head coach Martz led the Rams to the playoffs four times.

Each fall Rams fans look forward to an exciting season of clutch pass catches, last minute tackles, and plays that surprise the opponents--moments like those already provided by the five unforgettable Rams--Slater, Faulk, Warner, Bruce, and Martz.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff