Being the fan of an up-and-coming team like the St. Louis Rams is exhilarating and frustrating at the same time. In St. Louis’ case, fans have so many legitimate causes for optimism, but their team is still overlooked as a candidate to win its own division in 2013.
That’s because the San Francisco 49ers are fresh off a Super Bowl appearance. So, from a national perspective, the Rams go from a squad with a fair enough shot to win their division to a long shot.
The NFC West is so stacked that the Rams have effectively become Bobby Brady: the little brother…to the little brother. The Seattle Seahawks balled out in 2012 too, winning a road playoff game against Robert Griffin III’s Washington Redskins before getting edged against the Atlanta Falcons.
They also led the NFC in point differential at plus-167. San Francisco was second at plus-124. St. Louis was 13th at minus-49.
That sort of thing makes sense for a team entering its 10th season since its last winning record. The Rams have been a doormat for the last six seasons, notching seven wins twice and failing to reach four in the other four.
But they beat the 49ers last year. And you know who didn’t beat the Rams—even in their home stadium? The 49ers.
St. Louis went 4-1-1 in its division, losing only at Seattle, where the Seahawks were undefeated in 2012. That tie came from a Week 10 stalemate with the 49ers in San Francisco, a game the Rams should’ve won.
Fans saw plenty of free football in St. Louis, too. If Greg Zuerlein didn’t connect on his 54-yard overtime field goal, we probably would have witnessed a 0-0-2 season series against the division rival. He hit it with 26 seconds to go before yet another tie would’ve resulted.
Just two short years ago, San Francisco was about to embark on a 13-3 season under Jim Harbaugh in his first campaign as head coach. Before that, it was mired in an eight-year drought of winning seasons.
Things can change quickly. For now, though, the 49ers are the top dog.
That is, of course, assuming Bobby was the last guy to win a Super Bowl.