Stepson says city better off without Rams' Frontiere

January 25, 1994|By Bill Tanton

"She'd be worse for Baltimore than Bob Irsay was."


Who could possibly be worse for Baltimore than Irsay, whose name will live in infamy for moving the Colts to Indianapolis a decade ago?

The woman referred to is none other than Georgia Frontiere, who owns the Los Angeles Rams and is flirting with the idea of moving her team here.

At least she has told Anaheim, Calif., officials that on May 3 she will give 15 months' notice so the Rams can play elsewhere beginning in 1995.

And who is the man saying such a terrible thing over the phone from New Orleans about Frontiere?

Why, it's none other than Steve Rosenbloom, her stepson -- and her former Rams general manager. He knows Georgia well.

I reminded Steve: "That would be hard for anybody to do, to be worse than Irsay."

"Well, she could do it," he said. "I can't imagine why Baltimore would take another useless, squirrelly owner."

Does Rosenbloom take seriously Georgia's talk about possibly moving back here?

"I don't take anything she says seriously," he said. "But if she does go, it would just be the lure of the money and the fans will get shafted. It's the Carpetbagger Show. It's an insult to the fans."

Rosenbloom's late father, Carroll, was married to Georgia when Irsay acquired the Rams in 1971, only to trade that team for the Baltimore Colts.

The Rosenblooms didn't know Irsay from Adam until then. They had no idea what kind of person Irsay was.

But Carroll Rosenbloom no longer felt appreciated here in his own hometown, and when Irsay surfaced as the investor who could pull off the first swap of two NFL teams, the deal was made.

Just as Irsay ran a great Baltimore franchise into the ground and ultimately moved it, Steve Rosenbloom says Georgia -- who later married Dominic Frontiere -- has destroyed the once-great Rams franchise.

And now she is talking about moving that.

"My dad drowned in April of 1979," Steve said, "and Georgia inherited the Rams. I was her general manager.

"We had all the players signed early and in August of '79, during training camp, she wanted me to quit. She didn't want anybody around who was close to Carroll Rosenbloom. I made her fire me.

"That season the Rams went to the Super Bowl. [They lost to the Steelers, 31-19, in Pasadena before 103,985.] And she dismantled the organization.

"Now the Rams can't win and they can't draw and they've told everybody they want to move. How many tickets are they going to sell now?

"When you have a lousy team and you're not involved in the community, you're not going to draw. She's blaming everybody but herself.

"All the Colts did was win when we were in Baltimore in the '50s and through the '60s. We were heavily involved in the community. We had the Colt Corrals and the Colt Associates.

"In all these years I've never seen fans anywhere as involved with their football team as those Baltimore fans were with the Colts. But Georgia has never made contact with the community."

Steve Rosenbloom says Georgia never did like Baltimore, that the place "wasn't big enough for her. She likes Hollywood." She admits she hasn't set foot in this town since 1971.

Steve says the best thing for Baltimore would be for one of the groups that tried to bring an NFL expansion team here to buy the Rams from Georgia, but she has shown no interest in selling.

"I'd have sold the Rams long ago," Steve said, "but Georgia can't make a decision."

Steve Rosenbloom, at 49, is in the investment business in New Orleans. He doesn't miss the NFL, though he spent 25 years in it. He goes to a Saints' game only if one of his three sons "really wants to go."

"I don't miss the game because of what it has become," he said. "We used to have a great group of owners who were football-oriented. Today, they have used car dealers who've been turning back odometers for 20 years.

"The commissioner [Paul Tagliabue] is a lawyer. What does that tell you about the league? Tagliabue used to be the guy in the league office who told us what we couldn't do.

"I was surprised when the league passed over Baltimore and awarded expansion teams to Charlotte and Jacksonville.

"Now we know that Jack Kent Cooke has been planning to move his Redskins to Laurel. The brotherhood decided not to hurt one of their own and go to Baltimore.

"The NFL doesn't recognize what Baltimore has. What Baltimore has -- good, solid, working-class people who love football -- is exactly what the league needs.

"The league needs an Ernie Accorsi, and he doesn't even have a job right now. They're going after the wrong people. Ernie understands the human side of the game.

"America has to be a great country when two people like Georgia and Irsay can run a business and take an income out of it every year. It shows you what a grip pro football has on the public."

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