Missouri Loves Company: St. Louis and Detroit Sadly Aren't so Different
By Kevin Coll
on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 9:24 AM
What could possibly be intriguing about the St. Louis Rams vs. Detroit Lions match-up on Sunday -- the game that pits the two worst NFL teams in recent memory against each other?
This pre-grame graphic on the Detroit Lions web site seems to promise helmet-smashing football in outer space.
The pitiful squads have more in common than just losses it seems. Here are ten commonalities the pathetic squads share.
10. They both play in a dome. Sure, it's a simple and
obvious choice, but one that plays to the strengths (or lack there of)
for both teams. There is no environment change to use as an excuse for
the Rams to blow it in the end.
9. Two Defensive-Minded Head Coaches in First Year. Both
teams sought to rebuild their respective franchises with
defensive-minded head coaches from good coaching pedigree. Steve
Spagnuolo was hired by the Rams after two years as Defensive
Coordinator to Giants and is a disciple of the Jim Johnson assistant
tree. Detroit's Jim Schwartz was named Lions head coach after five
years at Tennessee under Jim Fischer and he stems from the Bill
Belichick coaching tree. Both coaches are from the New England area as
7. The Cunningham Connection. Detroit
Defensive Coordinator, Gunther Cunningham, once coached under Dick
Vermeil at Kansas City. Vermeil, as Rams fans remember is the guy who
won a Super Bowl for St. Louis.
6. Sylvester Croom. After
resigning his post as head coach at Mississippi State University,
Sylvester Croom, found a home in STL where he is now the running backs
coach. However, from 1997 to 2001 he was an offensive coordinator at
5. 2006. That was the last year these two
teams played against one another. In that game Marc Bulger passed for
328 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Rams past the Lions, 41-34,
in Week 4 of the 2006 season. Since then both teams have a combined for
only 13 wins.
4. The Streak. The Lions have won four of the past six meetings, but the Rams hold the overall series edge, 41-38-1, including the playoffs.
The Rams are under pressure to win. The Lions have been there.
3. Under Pressure. Detroit
became the first team in NFL history last year to go 0-16 and from 2007
to 2009, it lost 19 straight regular-season games before beating the
Redskins in Week 3 this year. Now it is the Rams who are facing a
similar situation. St. Louis has lost 17 straight regular-season games
and perhaps its best chance to win this year comes Sunday against the
Steven Jackson is third in rushing, but has yet to score a touchdown because of Rams' turnovers. Luckily, the Lions' defenese is the worst in the NFC.
2. Steven Jackson. Perhaps
the only thing to smile about for the Rams faithful. St. Louis' star
running back is the NFL's third-leading rusher this season, but he has
yet to score a touchdown. This week's game may provide Jackson his best
chance hit the endzone as the Lions have given up an NFC-high 31.3
points per game and average around a 115 yards allowed per game for
1. 1999. This is the last time St. Louis won a Super
Bowl and coincidentally it was the last time the Detroit Lions went to
a play-off game. St. Louis went 13-3 and beat the Titans 23-16 in the
big game. The Lions had an 8-8 year but a Wild Card playoff appearance
where they lost to the Redskins 27-13 (hehe who's laughing now