The Rams began playing in 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio. The NFL considers the franchise as a second incarnation of the previous Cleveland Rams team that was a charter member of the second American Football League. Although the NFL granted membership to the same owner, the NFL considers it a separate entity since only four of the players and none of the team's management joined the new NFL team.
The team then became known as the Los Angeles Rams after the club moved to Los Angeles, California in 1946, opting not to compete with Paul Brown's Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference. Following the 1979 season, the Rams moved south to the suburbs in nearby Orange County, playing their home games at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim for fifteen seasons (1980–94), keeping the Los Angeles name. The club moved east to St. Louis prior to the 1995 season, then moved back to the Los Angeles area 21 seasons later in 2016.
The franchise were founded as the Cleveland Rams by attorney Homer Marshman in 1936. Their "Rams" name comes from the nickname of Fordham University. "Rams" was selected to honor the hard work of the football players that came out of that university. In 1936, they were part of the newly formed American Football League (not to be confused with the American Football League that launched in 1960 and merged with the NFL in 1970).
The following year the Rams joined the National Football League (NFL) on February 12, 1937, and were assigned to the Western division to replace the St. Louis Gunners, where coincidently, the Rams would relocate decades later.
From the beginning, the Rams were a team marked by frequent moves. In 1946, the Rams moved to Los Angeles to become the Los Angeles Rams, losing the town to the popularity of the AAFC's Cleveland Browns. In 1980, the Rams would move away to Anaheim in order to fill capacity of its stadium.
In 1995, plans for a new stadium in Anaheim fell through. As a result, the Rams relocated to St. Louis, thus becoming the St. Louis Rams.
In 2016, a Houston meeting resulted in a 30-2 approval to relocate the Rams back to Los Angeles, ending Los Angeles' 21 seasons without a National Football League team.
"The Greatest Show on Turf" became the talk of the NFL in 1999, where the St. Louis Rams came out of no where to finish with an NFC-best 13–3 record. The Rams were led by head coach Dick Vermeil and undrafted quarterback Kurt Warner, who after being cut by the Green Bay Packers after the 1994 training camp, launched a remarkable story by going from grocery store clerk to NFL MVP. During the Rams playoff run, they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 49–37 en route to the NFC Championship Game, where they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 11–6.
At Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans, Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Titans' receiver Kevin Dyson a yard shy of the goal line as time expired to secure a 23–16 victory. St. Louis had started the game with a 16-0 lead until the Titans tied it up with 2:12 remaining. Warner launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce to give the Rams the lead. Warner was named Super Bowl MVP, finishing 24 of 45 passing for 414 yards and two touchdown passes.