You'll find Carroll's Army right there on page 3 of the Los Angeles Rams' 1979 Media Guide—70 soldiers in marching order, an army put together by the team's former owner, the late Carroll Rosenbloom. You can learn a lot from media guides; they're full of subtleties. You can learn when a player falls from grace, when a starting middle linebacker, for instance, is suddenly projected to No. 3 on the outside. "Oh, it doesn't mean a thing," the coach will say. "We're gonna be juggling everything around in camp." But you know different. It's right there in the media guide, and it's there because the coach told the PR man to put it there.
You can learn when someone has been subtly dishonored—when a coach who has been ranked as a "Coordinator" drops to "Special Assistant," and, taking it a notch higher, when a "Vice-President" becomes a "Special Consultant."
Page 3 of the L.A. Guide tells you that the Rams plan to attack the 1979 NFL season out of a wing formation, a 1-1-3 that has Carroll's 42-year-old widow, Georgia Rosenbloom, positioned in front. Georgia is President and Majority Owner, the majority consisting of 70% of the club, under the terms of a will that raised a few eyebrows when it was read.
Georgia is blonde and pretty, and she has her lighter moments. She wouldn't mind being called G.R., as Carroll was called C.R. She has an operatic background, and she would like to take a shot at the national anthem before one of the games—"But not a cappella. They suggested I do it a cappella, and I told them, 'At least give me a trumpet for the harmony.' " She is into levitation. And she plans to pilot her own helicopter from her home in Bel Air to the Rams' new office in Anaheim.
But Georgia has a tough side, too, and she has made it clear that those around her will be aware of it in weeks to come. Last Saturday night in Los Angeles, an hour after the Rams had beaten the Raiders 20-14 in sudden death in an exhibition game at the Coliseum, she was not caught up in the magic of it all. She was putting the finishing touches on a position paper that would be presented to all Ram department heads on Monday. The thrust of it was that Georgia is the boss, and she wants to know what's going on.
"Right now we don't have much leadership," Georgia says. "Oh, they played well—they're trying to earn their positions—and I'm not talking about the coaching. We have good coaching. I'm talking about the top. There are some things that have to be ironed out."
Which brings us to the second "1" on the Rams' 1-1-3. This is Steve Rosenbloom, 34, Carroll's son by a previous marriage. Popular around the league, popular on the club, Steve stands in the middle of the formation as Executive Vice-President. Last year he was Assistant to the President, a job that has not yet been filled for '79. Steve is one of four Ram vice-presidents, the other three filling the rear rank of the formation—Don Klosterman (General Manager) and Harold Guiver (Operations) on the wings, Jack Teele (Administration) at center.
Below them, in agate type, is a block of 65 names, beginning with Ray Malavasi, the head coach, going on down to Gabe Bartold's entertainment staff and ending with the office aides. But all the action is up there at the top.
The first stirrings were felt when Carroll Rosenbloom's will was disclosed in April, shortly after he had drowned off Golden Beach, Fla., where he was vacationing. The bulk of Rosenbloom's estate, guessed to be worth as much as $100 million, went to Georgia. The remaining 30% of the Rams was divided equally among the five children: Steve, Danny and Suzanne by his first wife; Lucia and 15-year-old Chip from his marriage to Georgia. And Georgia was to oversee the entire operation.
A double slap to Steve, his friends said. He was the one who had learned the football business from the ground up, who had spent five years in the equipment room in Baltimore, when Rosenbloom owned the Colts, helping Freddy Schubach sort through the dirty socks and jocks.