Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Under Cover: Rams Less Than Arresting at Dome

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Under Cover: Rams Less Than Arresting at Dome

Article excerpt

About this time last year, another sort of athletic contest was under way at the Trans World Dome.

Workers were waging a frantic footrace against the clock. The Rams' need for a playing field had been accelerated by the introduction of grass to Busch Stadium. And rain had slowed the construction of the Dome - it was still six months or so away from completion.

But a football game would be played that Sunday between the Rams and Carolina. It would be played, come a chalky coat of construction dust or the absence of some amenities. Ready or not, company was coming. It was the job then of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to get the stadium "football ready" for 65,000 fans. The CVC manages the dome's day-to-day operations. The commission's president, Bob Bedell, can chuckle now about the round-the-clock race. But, at the time, officials were stressed out. "The construction workers left on Friday at 5 p.m.," Bedell recalled Thursday. "When they left, it was still a construction site. We had all kinds of things to deal with. "It wasn't perfect obviously," he added. "But we pulled off that first game. And the first thing Monday morning, the stadium was back under construction." The Rams would beat the expansion Carolina Panthers 28-17 on Nov. 12, 1995, the stadium's inaugural football game. Since, the team has played 16 games in the Dome. Some Home-Field Advantage Home in the Dome isn't always sweet for the Rams. After that win over Carolina last season, the team went 0-3 at home the rest of the way. This season, the Rams are 2-2 at home, making them 3-5 overall in their indoor digs. That mark is nothing to brag about. But it's a sight better than the team's 1-7 record on the road during that 16-game period. Coach Rich Brooks insists his team enjoys a home-field advantage in the Dome. Crowd noise forced Cincinnati into untimely timeouts and delay of game penalties as it lost the season opener 26-16. "It definitely helped us against Cincinnati," Brooks said. "When we've needed them, the crowd has been very supportive. I just hope we can keep that." Said wide receiver Isaac Bruce: "We've got to do something to keep them loud." Grass Is Greener Bruce lost two passes in the lights behind the end zone in the Carolina game. Stadium officials adjusted the lights. But there's nothing those officials can do about the artificial turf, even though it rubs the players the wrong way. Literally. "Turf is turf," said safety Toby Wright, who covers himself from helmet to toe with tape and layers of extra clothing to protect against turf burns. But even that protection can be ripped away in the fray of football. "What hurts is the sliding," Wright said. "It's the friction. I'm talking about degree burns." After the Jacksonville game, cornerback Todd Lyght sat in front of his locker. …

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