The Los Angeles Rams have started the 2018 season with a bang, going 4-0 through the first four weeks. This Rams team had tons of expectations drawn upon them coming into this year.
They have answered the critics so far, leaving people to believe this team can reach the Super Bowl. That would be quite the feat for Sean McVay, making a Super Bowl in your second season as head coach, at just 32 years old (technically would be 33 by the time of the Super Bowl).
When you add talented players like Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, and Sam Shields in one offseason, you know all eyes will be on you. This is especially true when you play in a city like Los Angeles, where the cameras are always flashing.
This was a talented roster before adding those guys. The league though, had to take notice when the Rams started making Madden-esque moves. They meant business this offseason, with McVay still fixing the mistakes Jeff Fisher left behind.
The players on this team know the bar is set high for what they’re expected to do this year. Most of the pressure comes from outside the locker room. The guys on this Rams team understand with a talented roster, comes the attention and predictions from the public.
They have to drown out the noise and let their play do the talking. Even though you know Peters and Talib always have something to say about everything (unfortunately Talib was placed on IR, with a chance to return in eight weeks).
One of the biggest reasons why this Rams team is sitting pretty through three weeks, is the very quick, efficient start from their offense. With McVay calling the shots and Jared Goff at the helm, this offense is firing on all cylinders.
It’s a historic start for the Rams, beating their opponents by double-digit points through three of their first four games. The last time they started a season 4-0, was 2001. This was the last season The Greatest Show on Turf displayed it’s utter dominance on opposing defenses.
If you’re a true football or Rams fan , you remember The Greatest Show on Turf offense that began in 1999. You had an offense that was nearly unstoppable with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl at the forefront.
Of course you can’t forget Orlando Pace protecting Warner and creating running lanes for Faulk. They were arguably the greatest offense ever assembled in the history of the NFL. It was an exhilarating offense to watch every week, setting the league on fire.
Now it seems that we may be seeing a reincarnation of that offense in this year’s Rams. Could we be seeing a Rams offense who could actually surpass The Greatest Show on Turf? That may seem far fetched, but in reality, all signs are pointing to it being a possibility.
Of course we’ll have to take a wait and see approach, but early on, this offense has the blueprint to becoming a historic offense themselves.
The offenses are eerily similar in terms of personnel. You have the franchise QB in Goff, in 1999 it was Warner. You have a very versatile RB in Todd Gurley now, who has a similar role as Faulk back then.
The wide receiving corp is very dynamic as well, just like it was when they threw for 4,353 yards in 1999. Robert Woods, Cooks, and Cooper Kupp might not be the big name guys they had on The Greatest Show on Turf, but they definitely can hold their own.
You can’t downplay the offensive genius that is McVay though. He’s 32 years old, but if he can keep going at this pace, he could find himself in the discussion of best coaches of all time. I know it’s early, but there’s something special brewing in LA.
In 1999, the Rams also had an offensive mastermind in Mike Martz calling the plays. Martz was the offensive coordinator that season, then named the head coach a year later. He would finish his career as a coach with a 53-32 record through six years with the Rams (technically it was five years since he was fired in Week 5 of the 2005 season).
This season, the offense is putting up very comparable numbers to the historic group in 1999. The 1999 Rams had a point differential of +95 in their first four weeks. This year’s Rams currently have a point differential of +73 through four games, both putting up points in bunches.
This year’s team is actually outpacing the 1999 squad in total yards though, with 1,874 to 1,607 through both teams first four contests. Albeit, today’s NFL is a pass-first league, but the Rams in 1999 loved to air the ball out as well.
Goff is having a career year in his third season at QB, with 1,406 yards, 11 touchdowns, and two interceptions so far through four weeks. He’s on pace to throw for 5,624 yards and 44 touchdowns this year. So much for being a so-called system quarterback.
In 1999, Warner completed the year with 4,353, 41 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He went on to win MVP that season, which is a possibility for Goff if he can maintain his production thus far. Of course, individual awards aren’t the goal, Super Bowl rings are.
In Week 3, Goff became just the third QB in NFL history to throw for 350 or more yards, while completing 75% of his passes in consecutive games. The other two are Trent Green and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ironically, all three guys have played for the Rams in their career.
On Thursday night, the Rams’ signal caller became the only QB in NFL history to throw for 350 or more yards with a completion percentage over 75% in three straight games. We might be watching the making of an elite QB before our very eyes.
Back to Green, he actually played a part in The Greatest Show on Turf coming into fruition (suffering a gruesome knee injury in a preseason game, leaving Warner to step up in his place). It was an unfortunate event for Green, but Warner made the most of the opportunity.
One of the reasons The Greatest Show on Turf was so exciting, was their ability to score with ease. The 1999 unit scored 30 or more points in 12 of their 16 regular season games. So far, this year’s team has scored 33 or more in all four games, averaging 35 points per game.
This past Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings, Goff continued to make history. He became the first Rams QB to throw for four touchdowns in a half since (you guessed it), Warner. There are a bunch of occurrences that align rather similar, between the two different offenses.
The 2018-2019 Rams offense just continues to show their dominance and are taking the league by storm as we speak. Defensive coordinators are having late nights, trying to figure out ways to slow them down. Similar to how the league treated the Rams offense in the late 1990s, early 2000s.
Jared Goff really does this
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 28, 2018
Jared Goff dimes are worth 25 cents tonight ?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 28, 2018
Plays like these are why people are starting to ask if this group is the second coming of The Greatest Show on Turf. They even did it in the uniforms the Rams wore in 1999, just to give props to the guys who did it before them.
Fans in Los Angeles are hoping this year’s crew can yield the same results as the one in 1999. This was the lone time the Rams got to hoist up the Lombardi trophy. If this year’s team can achieve that, could we call them, perhaps, The Greatest Show on Grass or Greatest Show on Surf?
The name needs some work, but the level of talent on the offensive side of the ball doesn’t. One thing fans of LA are likely hoping for, is this unit to have a longer life than the legendary group in 1999.
The Greatest Show on Turf ended prematurely, coming to an end in just three years. Injuries and roster changes accounted for this, making Rams fans yearning for a high-powered offense since then.
I think they finally found the pieces to their long, awaited puzzle, and boy does it look like a masterpiece.
Now, Rams fans can rejoice knowing they now have a team who has a legitimate chance to win multiple Super Bowls for the next decade to come. The next historic offense could be residing in the City of Angels once again.