The 1999 Rams Hailed as ‘the Enduring NFL Cinderella Story’ by CBS Sports

Mike Jones

Getty Mike Jones of the Rams hauls down Kevin Dyson of the Tennessee Titans to end the 2000 Super Bowl. The Rams were mentioned as one of the 10 best Super Bowl champs of all-time by CBS Sports on Thursday.

Fifty-five Super Bowl champions, and CBS Sports labeled one of its 10 selections on Thursday as the “Cinderella.”

And it’s the 1999 Rams who earn the title.

That St. Louis Rams team didn’t earn the No. 1 label by the national network, let alone crack the top five of greatest Super Bowl champions. But did receive a top 10 ranking in the list compiled by Bryan DeArdo.


Behind the Ranking

DeArdo and CBS pointed out three accolades that cements the case of the Rams’ No. 10 rating: The 16-3 overall record (most-ever franchise wins), shattering a then-record for most points in a single season with 526 and being led by the league Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner.

Here’s what DeArdo wrote about the underdog story Rams:

“The ’99 Rams are the enduring NFL Cinderella story. A former grocery store clerk, Warner went from relative unknown to bona fide NFL star in a matter of weeks. Warner was the conductor of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” offense that sprinted past opposing defenses all season. The Rams’ majestic offense also featured running back Marshall Faulk (who that season became the second player to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season), receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and Hall of Fame left tackle Orlando Pace.”

Ram fans and anyone who vividly recalls the 1999-2000 season obviously thinks of the offense as their first memory. Understandable, when the “Greatest Show on Turf” finished the regular season with 55 offensive touchdowns, a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver, four players who caught between 6-12 touchdowns from Warner and lastly, produced 11 games of scoring past 30 points.

However, DeArdo and CBS sent the reminder that the Ram defense was a key catalyst behind their title run too.

“The Rams’ offense was great, but one reason why they made the cut was due to their underrated defense — a unit that held the Buccaneers to just six points in the NFC Championship Game. Linebacker Mike Jones’ tackle on Kevin Dyson one yard short of the end zone completed the Rams’ thrilling 23-16 win over the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.”

Remember the saying “defense wins championships?” Even an offensive-minded team like the Rams needed defense to win their first Super Bowl, proven by arguably the greatest tackle ever in Super Bowl history.


The Rest of the Rankings

The NFC dominated the top 10 listings by CBS Sports. Six of the 10 championship selected teams represented that conference.

The Rams were one of two three-loss teams who were honored by DeArdo and the outlet. But rating higher than the Rams were the 1992 Dallas Cowboys, who cracked the top five by landing at No. 5. Dallas routing all three playoff opponents by a combined score of 116-47 played a key role in its top five listing.

Surprisingly, the ’85 Chicago Bears and the ’72 Dolphins weren’t the No. 1 overall choice. The former has been labeled by past pundits as the most dominating Super Bowl champion of all-time, winning 14 of their 18 total victories by more than 10 points. The Dolphins, to this day, represent history’s lone unbeaten team at 17-0.

But No. 1 was the 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers. The reasoning? That team produced 10 future Hall of Fame players while finishing 17-2 overall.

The Rams may be 1-3 all-time in the big game. But their one Vince Lombardi Trophy winning team is still revered to this day, even as the proverbial “Cinderella.”


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