Los Angeles Rams: Matthew Stafford trade highlights a shift in power

by CJ Barber
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In 2010, Stan Kroenke took over full ownership of the St. Louis Rams after remining a partial owner for the 12 years prior. The Rams, at the time of Kroenke’s takeover, were a struggling franchise longing for a quarterback and a coach to take them back to greatness.

Kroenke set himself up to be the guy to lead that charge.

Silent Stan In Charge

The organization went on to draft Sam Bradford, who the Rams fans hoped to be their franchise quarterback in 2010. Kroenke, along with the Rams front office was said to be very high Bradford heading into the draft. This was a huge proponent in the decision to draft Bradford. Throughout his tenure, Bradford showed glimpses of greatness but was limited by a flurry of injuries and an eventual degenerative knee condition, raising obvious questions about his future. 

Amidst those times, Kroenke didn’t speak much on football, specifically under Jeff Fisher. Kroenke kept his faith in Bradford, potentially forcing the front office to continue to build around him, while also continuing to absorb his rather large rookie contract. 

In 2013, Kevin Demoff told Mike Silver, “We have decided that Sam Bradford is our guy. If they came to us and wanted to do a contract extension right now, we’d do it in a minute.”

In this particular case, ‘we’ would mean Stan Kroenke, Kevin Demoff, Les Snead, and Jeff Fisher.

A couple years later, in 2015, Sam Bradford was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles despite rumors of him extending his contract with the Rams. Kroenke said the trade was specifically due to injury, as he was very clear in saying, “Sam is a very talented guy, and don’t underestimate him. I always say that about him. Don’t underestimate Sam out there on the field. (The Vikings) got a good one. I’m happy for him.”

It became increasingly noticeable how much of a hand Kroenke had in keeping Bradford around throughout the entirety of his rookie contract, and in wanting to extend him.  

Kroenke may not have been running the show himself, but he sure seemed to be rather heavily involved in comparison to some other owners in the league. It is worth noting how involved Kroenke seemed to be in management and player personnel decisions. 

A Shift in Power

Fast forward a few years and Kroenke has successfully moved the Rams to Los Angeles. Additionally, he hired the youngest head in NFL history. Immediately, fans, pundits and those in the front office could tell McVay’s personality and presence was a huge difference. It was night and day from the likes of Jeff Fisher or Steve Spagnuolo.

This seemed to inherently bring a brand-new energy and excitement into the entire building. During this transformation, we started to hear a whole lot less about how Stan felt about the team. This may be a sign of a shift in the power dynamic inside the Rams front office.

It appears Sean McVay has proved to Stan Kroenke that he can get this team to the promise land. Kroenke can trust him and Les Snead with the keys to the franchise.

There is a direct correlation between this apparent shift in the power dynamic in Los Angeles and the Rams finding a recipe for success in the NFL.

Nothing proves this more than the trade for quarterback Mathew Stafford. While in Cabo, Sean McVay and Les Snead were able to contact Mathew Stafford for a trade, to which Stan Kroenke was notified and signed off on, almost seemingly.

There is reason to believe that under a different regime, Kroenke does not sign off on the trade for Stafford. Maybe that’s because he either still has faith in Goff and/or he doesn’t have faith in others to make that big of a decision for him. However, McVay has brought a fresh and innovative mindset to the Rams.

What’s Next For Kroenke and the Rams?

The Rams haven’t held a Lombardi Trophy in over 15 years prior. Los Angeles is a city that hasn’t seen that kind of NFL success since the 80’s. 

Kroenke has tied his legacy to the Rams and Los Angeles. There is a championship or bust mentality around the Rams. Failure is not an option. Next season, the Kroenke will host Super Bowl LVI in SoFi Stadium. Like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year, Kroenke wants his Rams to be in that game and play the Super Bowl at home.

For the Los Angeles Rams, it’s now the Sean McVay show. Rams fans out there should remain extremely optimistic about the organization’s future, knowing who may now be calling the shots. 

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