BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
A patron at Bello’s (the popular sports bar in Newark by Newark Penn Station) told me all sports owners are scumbags. He mentioned they did not get success just by being nice guys.
I finally got the point Sunday night when Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after his team celebrated a 23-20 Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night.
Kroenke is known for moving the Rams out of St. Louis to Los Angeles. He pulled a Rachel Phelps by fielding bad rosters in St. Louis to ensure fans would not show up to their games and make a case for him to move to Los Angeles. The NFL enabled his act because the league wanted an NFL team in Los Angeles, so it can make more money. He wanted Los Angeles since he was following the money.
No one can deny the move worked out for Kroenke. He made more money, and now he has an NFL championship to show for it. All St. Louisans can do is watch with disgust. I know I felt that way when the game ended. I went to sleep just trying to forget what happened in the Super Bowl.
I wanted the Bengals to win since they were the better story. Who didn’t want to see Joe Burrow hoist the Super Bowl? He’s so fun to watch which makes him likable. He plays the game with joy. That’s more I can say about anyone on the Rams. But then again there’s no joy working for Kroenke. The Yankees players can relate to that when they worked for George Steinbrenner.
Unfortunately, life does not work that way in pro sports. The bad guys always win in sports because they are good and they can outsmart you. How many times have we seen teams that we hate win in the end? It shows right there sports are not the movies or sitcoms or drama where it’s make-believe. It’s real life, and it stinks. It’s no different in society when evil people succeed and hate wins.
It’s hard to root for the Rams since they basically pulled the 1997 Florida Marlins by buying players. Yeah the NFL has a cap that makes it hard to do, but that’s where Kroenke got creative by trading draft picks to get stars such as Von Miller and Matthew Stafford. It worked, and that’s why it’s tough to watch the evil Rams owner pull this off. It should be hard to do, not easy.
In Los Angeles, anything goes. Kroenke had a luxury that he didn’t have in St. Louis. Players enjoy playing in Los Angeles because of the weather and lack of pressure to win it all. In St. Louis, it would be different, so it would be hard for him to get players to play in St. Louis. That’s also another reason he wanted to move the Rams.
Not many teams can do what the Rams do and get away with it. Even if it destroys their future, so be it. They won a championship so that itself should offer no regrets. Plus a smart and creative front office can help a franchise survive without draft picks. My money is on the Rams somehow getting by and being competitive the next few years.
It would have been nice to see Kroenke go 0-for-2 in the Super Bowl. Heck, it would have been beautiful just seeing him get denied year after year of a championship. But fantasy and real life are two different things. St. Louisans and I will be bemoaning this for a long time to the point we may never get over it. Heck, he could win many more Lombardis when all is said and done now.
This Super Bowl win was all about him. A rich guy getting his way like Gordon Gekko. That is the tragedy of all this.
This is a man that lucked his way to marrying Walmart heiress Ann Walton (she also lucked out being the daughter of the king of Walmart Bud Walton). He used the Walton’s money to build a real estate empire in 1991. He created such a great net worth that it was good enough for him to own the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and soccer’s Aresnal. Basically, he lucked out the way James Dolan lucked out in owning the Rangers and Knicks. Yeah, life is not fair. It never is.
This could be the year of Kroenke. The Avalanche can win the Stanley Cup, and the Nuggets can win the NBA championship. That should make a sports fan barf. I know it would for me.
It just sucks the NFL great postseason ends with this guy winning the championship. That’s what I will remember it for.
On what should have been the Joe Burrow story, we are celebrating Kroenke instead.
Yes, there is something to be said about Leo Durocher saying nice guys finish last.
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