This week’s Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday will feature the Greatest Show on Turf with the Players being …Kurt wearner, Marshall Faulk , Issac Bruce and Torry Holt So enjoy the fast track of the greatest show on turf…
The Greatest Show on Turf” was the nickname for the St. Louis Rams’ record-breaking offense during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 National Football League seasons. The offense was designed by attack oriented offensive coordinator Mike Martz who advocated mixing both an aerial attack and run offense. The Rams’ offense during these three seasons produced a largess of scoring, accrued yardage, three NFL MVP honors, and one Super Bowl title for the 1999 season.
The offense was attuned to getting all five receivers out into patterns that stretched the field, setting up defensive backs with route technique, and the quarterback delivering to a spot on time where the receiver could make the catch and turn upfield. Frequent pre-snap motion and shifting were staples of the system, often including shifts to or from empty backfield formations or bunch formations. Pass protection was critical to its success. At least two of the five receivers would run a deep in, skinny post, comeback, speed out, or shallow cross pattern, and running backs would often run quick rail routes out of the backfield. Screens, draws, and play action passes were often used to slow the opponent’s pass rush. Mike Martz credits the offensive system as being originally catalyzed by Sid Gillman and then refined at San Diego State by Don Coryell, who later transmitted his system to the NFL. Martz learned the Coryell 3-digit system from offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese when both coached for the Rams under Chuck Knox from 1994-96. Using this offense, the Rams set a new NFL record for total offensive yards in 2000, with an astonishing 7,335 yards (since broken by the New Orleans Saints with 7,474). Of those, 5,492 were passing yards, also a new NFL team record.
Records and achievements
The St. Louis Rams scored 526 points in the 1999 season, a team record which was broken in 2000 when they accumulated 540 points. For their last consecutive 500+ season, the Rams scored 503 points in 2001. These three seasons of 1,569 points were the most points scored by any team over any three-year stretch.
1999: The Rams were first in the league in passing (4,580 yards), yards per pass attempt (8.64), passing touchdowns (41) and total offensive yards (6,639).
2000: The Rams were first in the league in total offense (7,335 yards), completions (380), passing yards (5,492), yards per pass attempt (9.36), passing touchdowns (37) and rushing touchdowns (26). Their 63 offensive touchdowns was 5 more than the 1998 Vikings, and only 4 less than the 2007 Patriots.
2001: The Rams were again first in the league in total offense (6,930 yards), completions (379), passing yards (4,903), yards per pass attempt (8.90), passing touchdowns (37), rushing touchdowns (20) and yards per rush attempt (4.87)