One of the shortest stints of ownership in Rams’ history may actually have been one of the most productive, despite a paucity of wins. Check out this timeline of events that occurred under the watch of Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, and reflect the positive culture of change that they brought to this team. (Updated to include details on the sale process.)
- Jan 2008 – Georgia Frontiere dies, leaves team to Chip and Lucia.
- Feb 2008 – Rams hire Billy Devaney to be their director of player personnel
- March 2008 – Jay Zygmunt lets Isaac Bruce walk, and signs Drew Bennett to a ridiculous contract. Despite this massive error in judgement, it shows that Rosenbloom is able to trust his football men to make their decisions. Later, he will show that he holds them accountable for those decisions.
- April 2008 – The Rams’ draft under Devaney is their first solid draft in years, netting Chris Long, Donnie Avery, John Greco, Justin King, Keenan Burton, Roy Schuening, Chris Chamberlain, and David Vobora. All except Schuening are still with the team.
- July, 2008 – Rams sign Chris Long and bring him into camp on time.
- Oct 2008 – Rams complete difficult negotiations with the notorious Eugene Parker, and re-sign Steven Jackson to a big contract extension.
- Oct 2008 – Despite a promise Frontiere made to keep him on through his contract, the Rams let Scott Linehan go during the Rams’ bye week, and promote Jim Haslett. The Rams immediately win their next two games, and nearly upset the Patriots.
- Dec 2008 – Rams begin cleaning the top of the house, ridding themselves of Jay Zygmunt and announcing the retiring of John Shaw. The writing is on the wall for many of Zygmunts’ roster mistakes.
- Jan 2009 – Despite a signed player petition showing their support, the Rams tell Haslett they will be interviewing other candidates for head coaching job, and quickly center on two defensive-minded assistants: Steve Spagnuolo and Leslie Frazier.
- Jan, 2009 – Rams hire Spagnuolo as head coach.
- Jan, 2009 – Rams complete their front office makeover by hiring Kevin Demoff as their money man.
- Feb, 2009 – Rams make expensive roster cuts, dumping Trent Green and Drew Bennett, as part of a team-wide commitment to rebuilding.
- April, 2009 – The second Devaney draft nets Jason Smith, James Laurinaitis, Bradley Fletcher (IR), Dorell Scott, Brooks Foster (IR), Keith Null, Chris Ogbonnaya.
- May, 2009 – In the midst of a terrifying economic recession, Rosenbloom officially contracts with Goldman Sachs to field offers to buy the Rams. Rather than act hastily or desperately, Rosenbloom is patient with the process, and even drops hints that they may not have to sell.
- August, 2009 – Demoff completes the contract with Jason Smith, gets him into camp on time. Steven Jackson also reports to camp on time, in the best shape of his life and fully committed to the Rams.
- September, 2009 – Devaney is given free rein to continue to shuffle the Rams’ roster, trading Tye Hill and claiming Danny Amendola among several notable moves.
- September, 2009 – Rams retire the #75 worn by Deacon Jones, the first number retired by the Rams since December 2007, when Marshall Faulk’s #28 is raised to the “Ring of Honor”
- October, 2009 – Dave Checketts, owner of the Blues and bidder on the Rams, attempts to bring in Rush Limbaugh to his buying group. The Rams can’t openly discourage this move, but within days Limbaugh is dropped from the group.
- December, 2009 – Rams retire Merlin Olsen’s #74, honoring the second of their famed “fearsome foursome” that played at the height of their careers while Chip and Lucia were just children.
- 2009 Season – Despite their struggles on the field, there is no reported discord of any kind surrounding the Rams’ front office. Everyone from ownership to the coaches understands their role and the expectations of a difficult season.
- January, 2010 – Rosenbloom announces that the decision on the fate of the Rams will be decided before the 2010 Draft.
- February 11, 2010 – The Post-Dispatch reports that there is an agreement in place to sell Rosenbloom’s 60% stake in the Rams to local businessman (and Rams fan) Shahid Khan.
Shahid Khan inherits an organization that is in much better shape than it was just two seasons ago. Much younger, healthier, more streamlined, and more efficient financially. Congrats to him, and thanks again to the work done by Chip and Lucia.
Quick shoutout to @jmarkharper who reminded me of the Rams’ retirement ceremonies for Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones, paying honor to the Rams’ past. I just added them to the timeline as well.