Rams owner Frontiere dies

Jan 19, 2008 - 2:44 AM ST LOUIS (Ticker) -- Georgia Frontiere, the owner and chairwoman of the St. Louis Rams, died on Friday in Los Angeles after a battle with breast cancer. She was 80.

One of the few active female owners in sports, Frontiere was at the helm when the Rams won their only Super Bowl title in January 2000.

She inherited the team after her then-husband, Carroll Rosenbloom, died in 1979 and, under her ownership, the Rams were located in Los Angeles from 1979-95. Frontiere then moved the franchise to her hometown of St. Louis.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recognized Frontiere for her charitable endeavors, loyalty to St. Louis and dedication to the league.

"Georgia Frontiere was the first lady of sports in her native St. Louis," Goodell said. "She returned pro football to St. Louis and brought the city its first Super Bowl championship. She had a deep love for her Rams and all the people who contributed to the success of her franchise and the NFL, especially former players.

"Her philanthropic work was legendary and wide-ranging, but her special focus was retired NFL players and the arts. She was a talented and wonderful person. On behalf of the entire NFL, we extend our sympathy and prayers to her family and the Rams organization."

Rams president John Shaw also expressed his affinity for Frontiere.

"It's been my privilege for 28 years to work for a loyal, generous and supportive owner who was totally committed to her football team," Shaw said. "This is an enormous loss for me and for the Rams' organization. All of our prayers and sympathy go out to her family."

Frontiere was one of the league's most popular owners and, according to her daughter Lucia Rodriguez and son Chip Rosenbloom, she always will be remembered for her endearing traits.

"Our mom was a beautiful person who lived an extraordinary life," they said in a dual statement. "She put up a courageous and brave fight. Thanks to her doctors and her spirit, we were blessed with more time with her than expected.

"Our mom was dedicated to being more than the owner of a football team. She loved the Rams' players, coaches and staff. The warmth and generosity she exuded will never be forgotten. She will be missed by those who loved her and will be remembered as a kind and generous person. We will love her forever."

When Frontiere moved the Rams from Los Angeles, she was criticized for leaving one of the country's largest markets behind for St. Louis.

The Rams were the first professional sports team to arrive in California after they moved from Cleveland in 1946. Frontiere originally moved the team from the Los Angeles Coliseum to Anaheim - just 35 miles away.

St. Louis, which failed to land an expansion team after the Cardinals departed for Arizona, convinced Frontiere to move the team with a $260 million civically funded indoor stadium.

It turned out to be a positive move for the Rams, who also were NFC champions in the 2001 season before falling to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in February 2002.

During that time, Frontiere was a fixture on the sidelines alongside coach Dick Vermeil, celebrating wins in the waning moments of games.

She - along with Vermeil and quarterback Kurt Warner - was the most prominent figure on those squads, which were deemed "The Greatest Show on Turf," a reference to their artificial home field.

Frontiere, who was hospitalized for much of the 2007 season, did not attend any games this season as St. Louis posted a disappointing 3-13 mark.

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