|Pic courtesy of The Hartfordite|
We meet some new to the area that seem shocked we ever had an NHL team and express disbelief that the city could again support an NHL team, but it wasn't that long ago that the NFL was courting Hartford. And as Dennis points out in his story;
"Before you laugh, keep in mind Hartford is the biggest television market in the country without a major league sports team. The metro Hartford area has a desirable base of potential affluent fans, that made it attractive to team owners. "
We aren't talking about when the Patriots were rumored to be coming here in the late 1990's. We remember the Connecticut Patriots hats and t-shirts being sold and at gas stations and that despite our skepticism, there did seem to be a few days where it actually seemed like it might happen. The Hartfordite brings us back to 1994 when the L.A. Rams were in the process of relocating and Hartford was one of the front runners. As sports crazed teenagers at the time, we think we would have remembered this story, but for whatever reason, it has escaped us.
Our memories of the Rams of the era are as a pathetic sad sack franchise that never seemed to catch a break. Then in the late 90's they seemed to have finally acquired a great young quarterback in Trent Green and had some optimism. That same year they acquired him, Green broke his leg in preseason and was out for the year. We still remember the press conference after the injury and coach Dick Vermeil crying and saying the team was going to stick with and had faith in their backup quarterback no one had ever heard of and thinking "the poor Rams, nothing goes right for them." The backup was Kurt Warner and he and the Rams went onto become know as "The Greatest Show On Turf" for their offensive exploits and to win the Super Bowl that year.
A couple years later the Rams met the Patriots and their upstart quarterback Tom Brady in a Super Bowl. The irony of both of these teams flirting with Hartford in the few years before was pretty much lost on everyone. Oh and did you know that the New England Whalers had a crack at signing a 17 year old Wayne Gretzky but didn't want to give him a long term deal because they feared he was too small to last? Sigh. They say sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. This is not one of those examples.
Be sure to check out The Hartfordite and to tune into Face The State Sunday 11am on Channel 3 for a full flash back of the Rams story.