Does st louis have a football team ? ST. LOUIS — Tonight marks the start of the NFL season, leaving some St. Louis fans wondering which team to support. Since the St. Louis Rams were sold in 2015, St. Louis has been without an NFL team.
Eight years have passed since the Rams became the Los Angeles Rams. This marked the second time an NFL team had left St. Louis, with the NFL Cardinals departing for Arizona in 1988. The Rams, who ended a seven-year NFL team drought in 1995, left St. Louis 21 seasons later. This story recaps the last game the Rams played in St. Louis.
Eight years later, who should St. Louis support for the eighth season without an NFL team? Tonight’s first game features the Detroit Lions against the Kansas City Chiefs, and some FOX 2 viewers are voting for the Chiefs. We asked our Facebook fans who they were planning on rooting for in the upcoming NFL season.
History of football in St. Louis
St. Louis was home to four franchise football teams that played in the National Football League. The first professional team, St. Louis All-Stars, was established in 1923. The St. Louis Gunners was the second team established in 1934. From 1960-87, St. Louis became the home to its third franchise team, the St. Louis Cardinals. The team later moved to Phoenix, Az.
The last St. Louis NFL team was the Rams. Originally based in Cleveland, OH in 1937, the team moved to St. Louis in 1995 where they played in the Edward Jones Dome. In 1999, the Rams won their first Super Bowl, led by Hall of Famers Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Marshall Faulk.
In 2016, the Rams moved to Los Angeles, leaving St. Louis without a team for four years. In December 2018, the XFL announced that the Battlehawks will be the new professional football team in the Lou.
Where can I get Battlehawks tickets?
The Battlehawks have five home games. They will host their first home game on March 12 against the Arlington Renegades at 3 p.m. at Americas Center. Here is what you need to know to attend:
Tickets: Home game tickets can be found on ticketmaster. You can purchase tickets as low as $30. There is a variety of seating options inside The Dome at America’s Center.
What does the rest of the Battlehawks schedule look like? Where can I watch away games?
The Battlehawks will play a total of ten games, five home and five away. Their first game will be against the San Antonio Brahmas on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.
There will be four Sunday games, four Saturday games, and one Thursday game. Most of the games will air in the afternoon or later in the evening. You can watch the first game on ABC. The rest of the games will air on ESPN, ESPN 2, or FX.
The Beginning (1960-1987)
Our story of St. Louis football begins in 1960 with the Chicago Cardinals. The team had been battling the Bears for Chicago’s market share for some time, and they were losing badly. With the St. Louis market ripe for the taking, the team took the opportunity and made the move south.
During their tenure in St. Louis the team was commonly known as the “Big Red,” or less creatively, the “Football Cardinals” as to avoid confusion with the baseball team. The Cardinals were competitive for many of their early years in St. Louis, fighting vigorously for a playoff spot under the leadership of Charley Johnson.
Despite several winning records in the 60s the Cardinals never made the playoffs, sparking a trend that would become all so familiar in St. Louis. In 1964, the Big Red actually considered making a move to Atlanta, but were convinced to stay with the promise of a new stadium. This would not be the last time the Cardinals would make such a move, and the next time the city of St. Louis would not be so lucky.
The Big Red Bails (1988)
After 28 years of mediocrity, posting no playoff wins with just three appearances, the Cardinals took off and flew to Arizona. The Cardinals consistent lack of success and mediocrity had led to decreased fan turnout. This decline in attendance, along with the aging Busch Memorial Stadium, prompted then owner Bill Bidwill to seek greener pastures.
As a result of heavy backlash from diehard fans, Bidwill refrained from attending several of the team’s last home games in St. Louis. After the season was over, fans could only watch in disgust as the Gridbirds packed up their bags for good. For the first time since 1960, St. Louis was without football. The first of many waits had begun.
The Dome and the Ghost Team (1988-1993)
With the Cardinals leaving for Arizona, St. Louis found itself without a football team. With calls to re-enter the league, the city put together a stadium proposal to attract an expansion franchise. That stadium, later known as The Dome at America’s Center, would come to host the 2005 Final Four, professional soccer matches, concerts, and even religious conferences.
In 1991, the city of St. Louis petitioned for an expansion franchise, known as the Stallions, to enter the NFL. With people confident in the proposal, construction for the Dome began in 1992. Things seemed bright for the future of football in St. Louis. Just as the hype was building up, all hope disintegrated.
The NFL announced that Charlotte and Jacksonville would receive teams instead. The seemingly inevitable St. Louis Stallions evaporated in an instant, becoming nothing more than a memory. The Stallions had seemed so inevitable in fact, that merchandise had already been made for the team.
With the franchise going kaput, everything had to go; including tens of thousands of t-shirts, which were destroyed. Despite local support and a state-of-the-art stadium, St. Louis would have to wait a bit longer for more football.
Searching For a Tennant (1992-1994)
Despite the Stallions being sent to the glue factory, there was high demand for football in St. Louis, and businessmen were ready to spend. With their sleek new stadium under construction, St. Louis had heavy leverage over cities with existing teams. They just needed an owner to reach out.
It seems unthinkable today with all that’s happened over the last 20 years, but the team that answered the call was none other than the New England Patriots. St. Louis native James Orthwein, who had acquired the Patriots from former owner Victor Kiam, was determined to bring the team to his home city.
The St. Louis Patriots would have become a reality had it not been for Foxboro Stadium owner Robert Kraft who kept the team in New England by refusing to budge on the established stadium lease. Unable to relocate the team, the disgruntled Orthwein sold the team to Kraft. Seemingly cursed as Tantalus was to food and water, the Patriots had been snatched away from St. Louis at arm’s reach.
The Wait Is Over (1995)
After nearly a decade of impatient waiting, the NFL finally had a team for St. Louis’ football faithful. The Los Angeles Rams, a team that was facing hardship both on and off the field, was looking for a stadium deal with the city of LA. After a series of losing seasons, fan attendance had fallen off a cliff, and playing at the dated Anaheim Stadium wasn’t helping things either.
The Rams situation in 1995 is eerily similar to how it was 20 years later, save for one key difference as will soon be discussed. Unable to work anything out with Los Angeles, Rams owner Georgia Frontiere made the fateful decision to relocate the team to her home city of St. Louis. The near finished Dome and football-hungry public were enticing enough to enter The Gateway to the West, and the St. Louis Rams were in business.
The Greatest Show on Turf and Decline (1995-2010)
Out of the numerous football teams St. Louis has seen throughout the years, it’s hard to find one that could compete with the appropriately named Greatest Show on Turf. Led at the helm by Kurt Warner, a grocer turned Hall of Fame quarterback, the Rams saw a complete turnaround from their first few years of mediocrity. Warner along with Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and other notable stars went on to play in two championship games, winning Super Bowl 34 in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately for St. Louis, that was all they would get from the Rams.
Though they made it back to the Super Bowl two years later, they lost, and proceeded to start a seemingly never-ending series of losing seasons. As the years went by, The Greatest Show on Turf continued to fall apart, eventually leaving the city with nothing but a shell of the team’s former glory. Things got so bad for the Rams that they only won six games in a three-year stretch. As the stars left so did the fans, and ownership had become displeased with the team’s relationship with the city. Enter Stan Kroenke.
Kroenke’s Lust for Money (2010-2016)
After the passing of Georgia Frontiere in 2008, full ownership passed on to billionaire Stan Kroenke. In an interview he took in 2010, Kroenke tried to quell any rumors of relocation. “I’m going to attempt to do everything I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis.” “There’s a track record,” Kroenke said. “I’ve always stepped up for pro football in St. Louis. And I’m stepping up one more time.” Despite the team’s continued lackluster performance on the field, he was unhappy with the Rams’ low attendance.
In complete contrast to what he promised in his interview, Kroenke eyed potential relocation. By 2014, St. Louis fans were starting to become nervous. Kroenke had just announced his purchase of 60 acres of land in Inglewood, California. Ownership insisted that the land was not going to be used for a stadium, with Rams COO Kevin Demoff stating, “I promise you Stan is looking at lots of pieces of land around the world right now and none of them are for football stadiums.”
While continuing to say otherwise, Kroenke was taking advantage of the team’s contract with the city, which stated that the Dome had to be ranked as a top-ten stadium in the NFL. The Dome was most certainly not a top-ten stadium, with St. Louis fans ranking it as one of the worst venues in the league.
This effectively gave the Rams the right to leave, with Kroenke brazenly announcing his plan to build a 80,000 seat stadium on his Inglewood property. The city of St. Louis countered Kroenke’s plan with their own proposal. Known as National Car Rental Field, the 60,000 seat stadium would be situated on the St. Louis riverfront and was projected to cost over a billion dollars. This was a heavy price tag for such a small city, and it would have been one of the top 10 most expensive stadiums in the world.
This wasn’t good enough for Kroenke and the NFL, who stated that the proposed venue was outside of the agreed-upon lease and could not prevent the Rams from leaving. The Rams played their last game in St. Louis on December 17, 2015 in which they beat Tampa Bay 31-23. To local outrage, they announced their departure soon afterwards. St. Louis felt cheated and lied to.
They had been assured that the team wouldn’t leave, and when the Rams did threaten to relocate, they had given them a proper stadium proposal. The weary Dome fell empty as its tenant packed its bags for the last time.
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