The Evolution of the St. Louis Rams Jersey

The Evolution of the St. Louis Rams Jersey

The closest a fan may get to his/her favorite football player is his jersey – the most visible part of the player’s presence on field. For many, the St. Louis Rams jersey represents everything good or worth rooting for with the team and is a wearable part of the team’s history and legacy.

“You can’t do any more than wear a player’s number on your back to show that connection,” said Merrill Melnick, a retired sports sociologist at SUNY Brockport who specialized in studying fan behavior, to Sports on Earth. “Jerseys have gained a greater symbolic value, and the average fan has some need that the jersey satisfies more than ever.”

For fans of the 79-year-old St. Louis Rams, the blue and yellow (or blue and gold) represents a history as rich as the plots of many Hollywood films, with enough victories, downturns, false starts, restarts, and heartaches to fill an endless number of conversations and debates. But, for a team that was – only 15 years ago – the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the ups and downs of the team, including a possible relocation back to Los Angeles, are just part of the charm of this unique franchise.

The History of the St. Louis Rams Jersey

The Evolution of the St. Louis Rams Jersey

1937: The Cleveland Rams, the second American Football League team (not to be confused with the fourth AFL, which would merge with the NFL in 1969), join the NFL under a $10,000 franchise expansion. The team is named after one of the top college football teams of the time, the Fordham Rams, of which team founder Homer Marshman was a fan. For its inaugural season, players wear black sweaters with a red sleeve-length yoke and red number patches on the chest.

The black and red color scheme only lasts a year, and in 1938, the jersey is blue with a yellow yoke that only covers the shoulders and yellow number patches.

1945: The Rams are bought out by Dan Reeves and Fred Levy Jr. for $100,000. After three years of poor performance and a suspended 1943 season due to the war, the Rams win their first NFL Championship. Despite this, the team would move to Los Angeles the following year.

The 1945 jersey is a long-sleeved gold sweater with a gold collar, blue shoulder yokes, blue number patches, and a patch on the left sleeve featuring an eagle with outstretched wings, a giant “C” for Cleveland, and red and white stripes symbolizing the flag. The patch is similar in design to the World War II Honorable Service Lapel Button.

1948: The 1948 jersey – the team’s first unique jersey as the Los Angeles Rams – is similar to the 1945 jersey, with the removal of the blue yokes and the eagle sleeve patch. What is most notable about the 1948 field uniform is the fact that the Rams are the first NFL team to feature a logo on their helmets; halfback Fred Gehrke painted golden horns on his helmet, which became a trademark of the team’s helmets from that point on.

1951: After losing the 1950 NFL Championship Game to the Cleveland Browns, the Rams get their revenge in 1951, defeating the Browns to claim the championship by a score of 24-17. The NFL record for most passing yards in one game – 554 – is set by Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin during that game.

As is the style of the Rams, the jersey only features a minor change from its previous incantation: in this case, it’s the addition of blue horizontal sleeve stripes.

1957: Starting in 1957, the Rams’ poor play causes them to miss the playoffs four times in five years. During this time, the team’s home jersey is a long-sleeved blue sweater with narrow gold sleeve numbers, gold chest numbers with a white border, and gold horizontal sleeve stripes.

The team does not have a winning season from 1959 to 1965.

1965: “The Fearsome Foursome” – arguably the most devastating defensive line in NFL history – emerges in 1965. Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, and Deacon Jones average 44 sacks per season over a five-year period, hold opponents to 196 points over 14 games in 1967, and repeatedly allow the fewest rushing yards in the league between 1964 and 1968.

The 1965 road jersey of this period is a long-sleeved white jersey that features blue horn-like sleeve stripes and blue sleeve and number patches. The 1972 home jersey is a short-sleeved blue jersey with a white double horizontal stripe at the cuff and white sleeve and chest number patches.

1979: In 1979, the Rams lose the Super Bowl to Terry Bradshaw’s Steelers after leading through three quarters. Despite the loss, the season is considered a great success. For this season, the Rams debut an away jersey that features a white background, yellow sleeves, blue sleeve and number patches, and blue shoulder “horns” circling the sleeve and ending at the cuff.

1988: The 1988 home jersey – inspired by the 1979 away jersey – is a blue jersey with yellow sleeves and number patches and a yellow curving horn that starts at the shoulder and finishes at the cuff. This jersey also features a “Drug use is life abuse” War on Drugs patch on the left shoulder.

1994: For the league’s 75th anniversary, the Rams wear a throwback to the 1951 season with the “75th Anniversary” patch on the left shoulder. At this point in history, all NFL jerseys bear the NFL Shield on the collar. This would be the team’s last season in L.A., as the Rams would move to St. Louis in 1995.

To commemorate the move, the team wears an “Inaugural Season” patch on the left shoulder, bearing an image of the iconic Gateway Arch and the words “St. Louis Rams.”

2000: The 2000 season features the first major change to the jersey since the 1970s, with the jersey’s yellow-gold replaced with a “true gold” color, gold surrounding the shoulder and number patches, the gold collar “horn” now extending down the length of the jersey, and a full ram head appearing on the sleeves.

The uniform, which is now seen as unlucky – it was introduced months after the team’s 1999 Super Bowl win – actually took a year to design and was already approved by the league prior to the Super Bowl.

The Blue and Gold

Despite the challenges the team faced – including an 11-year absence from the playoffs – Rams fans are passionately devoted to their team. “St. Louis loves the Rams. We love ’em,” said a fan at a relocation hearing for the Rams. “Nobody attends games who has been subjected to 11 years of mediocre football and five years of the worst football in the history of the game.” The Rams are one of three teams (the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are the other two) considering a move to Los Angeles.

Should the Rams make their third move in franchise history or not, the team will still hold a warm spot in many hearts – and many will still proudly wear the blue and gold.

Ultimately, a jersey is more than a uniform and more than a flag; it is the tangible representation of everything the team is and will ever be.

At this moment, you can buy the following St. Louis jersey’s on Fanatics:

St. Louis Rams white jersey St. Louis Rams throwback jersey St. Louis Rams team jersey St. Louis Rams alternate jersey

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