The Los Angeles Rams are a professional American football team based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Rams compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Rams franchise has won three NFL championships, and is the only franchise to win championships while representing three different cities (Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951, and St. Louis in 1999). The franchise began in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The club was owned by Homer Marshman and featured players such as William “Bud” Cooper, Harry “The Horse” Mattos, Stan Pincura, and Mike Sebastian. Damon “Buzz” Wetzel joined as general manager.
After winning the 1945 NFL Championship Game, the franchise moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1946, making way for Paul Brown’s Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference and becoming the only NFL championship team to play the following season in another city. The club played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving into a reconstructed Anaheim Stadium in nearby Anaheim in 1979. After the 1994 NFL season, the Rams left California and moved east to St. Louis, Missouri. Five seasons after relocating, the team won Super Bowl XXXIV in a 23–16 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Rams continued to play in Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis until the end of the 2015 NFL season, when the team filed notice with the NFL of its intent to pursue a relocation back to Los Angeles. The move was approved by a 30–2 margin at an owners’ meeting in January 2016, with the Rams returning to the city for the 2016 NFL season.
The Cleveland Rams were founded in 1936 by attorney Homer Marshman and player-coach Damon Wetzel, a former Ohio State star who also played briefly for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Pirates. “Rams” was selected by Wetzel, who served as general manager, because his favorite college football team was the Fordham Rams from Fordham University; Marshman, the principal owner, liked the name. They were part of the newly formed American Football League and finished the 1936 regular season in second place with a 5–2–2 record, trailing only the 8–3 record of league champion Boston Shamrocks. The Rams joined the National Football League on February 13, 1937, and were assigned to the Western Division. The Rams would be the fourth in a string of short-lived teams based in Cleveland, following the Cleveland Tigers, Cleveland Bulldogs and Cleveland Indians. From the beginning, they were a team marked by frequent moves, playing in three stadiums over several losing seasons. However, the team did feature the MVP of the 1939 season, rookie halfback Parker Hall.
In June 1941, the Rams were bought by Dan Reeves and Fred Levy Jr. Reeves, an heir to his family’s grocery-chain business that had been purchased by Safeway, used some of his inheritance to buy his share of the team. Levy’s family owned the Levy Brothers department store chain in Kentucky and he also came to own the Riverside International Raceway. Levy owned part of the Rams, with Bob Hope another of the owners, until Reeves bought out his partners in 1962.
Rampage is the official mascot of the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). Introduced in July 2010, he is an anthropomorphic ram who wears a Rams jersey.