Marc Bulger has found a new home. After quietly slipping onto the injured reserves list in December and then being released in April he signed with the Baltimore Ravens yesterday where he will become the veteran quarterback behind the young Joe Flacco.
Football fans in St. Louis never seemed happy with Bulger as the man under center for the Rams. He was handed the job five games into the 2002 season and was immediately expected to take the Rams back to the Super Bowl. He never enjoyed consistency and fans here never seemed ready to accept that he wasn’t Kurt Warner.
During his nine seasons as Rams quarterback Bulger put up some impressive numbers. He finished first in franchise history in completions (1,969), second in passing yards (22,814), completion percentage (62.1) and passer rating (84.4), and third in touchdown passes (122) and attempts (3,171). He had 27 games with 300 yards or more passing, went to the Pro Bowl and the playoffs twice. But none of that was good enough for Rams fans, who’s patience wore thin as the Rams finished near the bottom of the league the past few seasons.
In his time with the Rams he only missed 21 games due to injury. With a depleted offensive line he had little to no protection. Bulger played constantly with battered ribs and so many back and neck injuries that he often struggled to breathe properly during and after games. He lived in a world one filled with ice packs and pain killers. He lived in a world where the obligation to play was blurred constantly by the inability to know if you are being a brave teammate who is willing to play with a little pain or a damned fool who sacrificed too much by playing injured, but did it anyway for the good of the team, or the fear of losing his job. But none of that mattered to the fickle fans of the Rams.
Fans wouldn’t accept the excuses of a poor offensive line and little to no depth when it came to wide recievers. Despite the toughness he showed and regardless of the numbers he put up, Bulger was the man blamed for the teams failures. It’s not fair but it just reiterates the message we see far too often in sports: winning is all that matters. And Bulger’s record of 41-54 as a starter just wasn’t good enough.