The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936–1945
James C. Sulecki
In 2016 the Rams left St. Louis for Los Angeles—having departed L.A. for St. Louis in 1995—and caused much heartbreak among fans. NFL teams are notorious for decamping to more profitable markets and the Rams’ history of opportunistic moves goes back to 1946, when they left Cleveland, their original hometown, where fans had cheered them to a championship a month earlier.
The move to L.A. from Cleveland shocked the NFL and shook up its power structure. It also jolted the all-white league into reintegration, prepared the way for the Browns, and made the Rams the only NFL champs ever to have spent the following season in a different city.
This is the story of how the Rams went from a home-grown Ohio team funded by local businessmen to the first major-league franchise on the West Coast, and how their departure jumpstarted a chain of events in Cleveland that continues to this day.