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Friday, December 12, 2014

Don't Blame The Fans

I don't go to The Dome for Rams games, preferring to watch them -- and other NFL games -- in the comfort of my home via the medium that makes for the best viewing: television. But plenty of other St. Louisans do go to the games, despite the team's lack of a winning season for over a decade. And still, billionaire owner Stan Kroenke is considering moving the team back to Los Angeles (where they got so little support, they came here 20 years ago).

I agree with Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bernie Miklasz, who says don't blame the fans:

I laugh at the simpleton portrayal of St. Louis as a weak football market.

The Rams came into the game with their highest average home attendance (57,402) since 2008, and were filling their sterile stadium to 88 percent of capacity. I’d say that’s commendable support for a team that ranks 31st among 32 NFL franchises in winning percentage (.313) over the past 10 seasons.

This is the 48th season of NFL football for St. Louis, Cardinals (1960-1987) and Rams (1995-present) combined. And over those 48 years, St. Louis fans have been treated to 16 winning records and eight playoff seasons.

The chronic losing is compounded by a team owner who seemingly goes out of his way to alienate the customers. Plus, the stadium has been deemed inferior by the owner and an arbitration panel. And despite all that...

St. Louis fans are filing through to watch a losing team play games in an inadequate stadium, contributing their sports dollars to an absentee owner who doesn’t even attend all of the games himself … and they’re filling the place to 88 percent capacity? And this is supposedly evidence of lack of fan support?

Over the Rams’ final 13 seasons in Los Angeles, they averaged fewer than 57,000 per home game (the team’s current level in St. Louis) 10 times. And that, in the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area.

Blaming St. Louis Rams fans for the 12 percent of the tickets that have gone unsold in 2014 is a blatant case of blaming the victims.
Read Miklasz's full column here.