Black Monday brought about the firing of Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney. I was hoping for a personal appearance from the big man, Rams owner Stan Kroenke, but he sent his right-hand man (?) Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Kevin Demoff, to be the messenger of bad news. Kroenke did send along this statement:
I would like to personally thank Steve and Billy for their dedication to the St. Louis Rams organization over the past several seasons. This was a difficult decision for many reasons. We have tremendous respect for Steve and Billy as people and football professionals.No one individual is to blame for this disappointing season and we all must hold ourselves accountable. However, we believe it’s in the best interest of the St. Louis Rams to make theses changes as we continue our quest to build a team that consistently competes for playoffs and championships. We wish Steve, Billy and their families the very best in the future and thank them again for their commitment to our organization and the city of St. Louis.
It reads like your standard “thanks for trying but it’s just not working out for us” see ya later pink slip. All politically correct, of course. It’s even harder to really get a sense of how Kroenke really feels due to the fact that he’s harder to catch than a fly with chopsticks, Karate Kid style. We’ll just have to assume this is really him talking – or at least his speech writer.
Here’s a statement released by outgoing general manager, Billy Devaney.
I want to thank so many people for my time here in St. Louis. While certainly disappointed in our record, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. This is truly a special place.I thank old and new friends made. I thank Stan Kroenke, Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and the entire Rams organization. I wish you all much success. I thank all Rams fans. You are really great, great fans.To all in St. Louis, I’ll meet you further on up the road. Cheers!
Is is just me or does Devaney sound almost too chipper? Maybe it was the ending “cheerio!” that made it sound like a big burden was just taken off his shoulders. I’ll give you this much, Devaney was brief and to the point.
And last but certainly not least, Steve Spagnuolo released his own statement this afternoon:
I want to first thank every player and coach for their work ethic, character and loyalty throughout our three years together. I know each one of us firmly believes a solid foundation has been built and although not all of us will be here to experience it, this foundation will propel the team to great success in the near future.
I also want to thank Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and Stan Kroenke for their decision to bring me here three years ago. I truly appreciate the opportunity they gave me.
I want to pass along deep gratitude toward every Rams employee for their ‘behind the scenes efforts and loyalty’ and for embracing Maria and I throughout our time here.
I want to thank every Rams fan for their passionate support. I apologize for not bringing enough success for them to enjoy this past season. You deserve more!
It has been a privilege and an honor to represent this franchise as its head coach and I wish nothing but success for the organization going forward. I will always pull for the Rams. Maria and I feel blessed to have been a part of this city and we’ll continue to have caring hearts for the people of St. Louis. God Bless.
Now Spags’ farewell speech really touched my heart. I think maybe because I can almost picture him delivering it behind the podium in the media room at Rams Park. You can’t say he got fired for lack of trying or for not having that will to win. The execution of those intentions fell short and one too many mistakes were made though. I’ll miss your Monday afternoon pressers, Spags. For what it’s worth, I hope you do well in Philly (?). Thank you for the memories.