By Anthony Caruso III
Posted: August 26th, 2014 at 1:31 am EST
The St. Louis Rams are in the same position that they were in leading up to the 1999 season. Then-starting quarterback Trent Green went down with a season-ending torn ACL in a preseason game.
They had an unknown at backup when the team named Kurt Warner, a former NFL Europe and Arena Football League player, their starting quarterback. This weekend, Shaun Hill, who hasn’t started a game in three years, is getting the reigns of the offense.
The Rams lost often-injured quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending torn ACL on Saturday night. Jeff Fisher, Rams head coach, says the team will rally around Hill.
Dick Vermeil, Rams head coach in 1999, said the same thing and the “Greatest Show on Turf” was born. They would eventually have a 13-3 regular season, while outscoring opponents by 284 points (Rams had 526 to the opponents 242 points).
Warner had one of the best seasons in NFL history with the offensive weapons that was on the team, including running back Marshall Faulk and receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl. He had 4,353 passing yards with 41 touchdowns, while completing 65.1% of his passes.
In addition, he was named the MVP of both the regular season and the Super Bowl. The Rams won 23-16 on what is commonly known as “The Tackle” when Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson at the one-yard line.
Warner was 4-of-11 for 39-yards in one game during the 1998 season, before his successful 1999 season. Hill, on the other hand, has seen time as a limited starter in his career.
He hasn’t started a game in the NFL since the 2010 season with the Detroit Lions. He was a 10-game starter, where he completed 252 of 416 attempts for 2,686 yards with 16 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
In the past three years, he appeared in four games, where he completed 12 of 16 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill has started 26 games over his 11-year career with the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, and the Lions. He will be called upon to rely heavily on running back Zac Stacy and wide receivers Austin Pettis and Tavon Austin.
In 1998, the team went 4-12 before their Super Bowl run one-year later. Last season, the Rams had a 7-9 mark, also without Bradford, who also suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 9.
If Hill can pull out a miracle, like the Warner miracle, the Rams could have their first 10-game win season in more than a decade. In 2003, the team went 12-4 before losing to the Carolina Panthers, 29-23, in double overtime in the Divisional playoff.