The 2017 Rams draw similarities to the 1999 Rams

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Jared Goff (Photo by Shaban Athuman/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Jared Goff (Photo by Shaban Athuman/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Rams clinched their first NFC West Title since 2003 with a win over the Titans. With the playoffs a lock, the Rams look towards their first Super Bowl win since 1999.

The Los Angeles Rams‘ sweet homecoming was delayed one season, but what a homecoming it has been. After starting 3-1 in their first season back in LA in 2016, the Rams finished the year 1-11 for a 4-12 record. Head coach Jeff Fisher was fired, quarterback Jared Goff was labeled a bust and the team couldn’t even agree to a contract extension with star defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

The future was not bright for Los Angeles. A new, young head coach was brought in to change the culture of the team. The organization surrounded Jared Goff with new toys and protection by going offense-heavy in the draft while signing veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth. It was a long shot, but the Rams were going all-in on giving the city of LA a winning football team.

And it worked.

Los Angeles enters the last week of the NFL regular season with an 11-4 record. A red-hot Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers stand in the way of a 12-4 finish; their best since 2003 which was also their last winning season.

Goff has been phenomenal, Todd Gurley has rebounded from his sophomore slump and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has turned the Los Angeles Rams’ D into a respectable unit. McVay really has changed the entire culture of the Rams organization — a winless culture created by Fisher.

Now, the next step is the postseason. Los Angeles holds significant wins over playoff teams such as the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars. However, they also hold losses over other NFC playoff teams in the Eagles and Vikings.

This may lead to some doubt in the fanbase. However, this Rams team is eerily similar to an old Rams team; one that played in 1999. The same Rams team that won the organization’s only Super Bowl. Although the 2017 Rams won’t finish with the 13-3 record that the 1999 Rams did, they have very similar talent that could lead to another Super Bowl.

First, the overall stats of the two teams. In 1999 the Rams offense scored 526 points with 6412 yards; both league bests. The 2017 Rams currently have scored 465 points with 5533 yards; good for first and seventh in the league. The 2017 Rams defense is not as good as the 1999 but both are top ten in points allowed.

What about the actual talent on the field? The 1999 Rams were led by quarterback Kurt Warner who was in his second season. Warner threw for 4353 yards with 41 touchdowns to win NFL MVP.

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Quarterback Jared Goff is in his second year. Although he will not win the MVP, he is on pace to throw for 4058 yards and flirt with 30 touchdowns. Not a good as Warner, but close. Goff has a 62% completion rate, Warner 65%. Warner had a 109.2 quarterback rating, Goff has a 100.5.

Then there are the running backs. Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk was in the backfield with Warner for the Super Bowl-winning Rams. Faulk rushed for 1381 yards with 1048 receiving yards and 12 combined touchdowns. Faulks’ 2429 yards from scrimmage that season is the second most all-time.

While Gurley won’t hit the mark that Faulk set, he will come close. Gurley currently has 1305 rushing yards, 788 receiving yards and 19 combined touchdowns. If Gurley were to have the exact same game against the 49ers as he did in week three he would finish with 1418 rushing yards and 824 receiving yards.

That is 2242 yards from scrimmage, the 17th best in NFL history. If Gurley has a game like he did against the Titans he would finish with 2369 yards from scrimmage, the fifth best all-time.

While it may be a stretch to compare Goff and Gurley to two NFL Hall of Fame players, the numbers do not lie. The two youngins are producing at a very high level; a very high level that mirrors their 1999 Super Bowl counterparts.

Next: Making the Rams' case as the best team in the NFC

Hopefully, Goff and Gurley can lead the Rams to the same results that Warner and Faulk did in 1999. It is a hard road to get there, but if any team can do it, it is the Los Angeles Rams.