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Somewhere in an alternate reality …

With the Cardinals missing the playoffs, yet again, all attention in St. Louis has turned to the Rams.

Not since the turn of the century in the days of the Greatest Show of Turf have the Rams captured the imagination of St. Louis sports fans.

Heck, during the Jeff Fisher era, it seemed impossible to imagine a Rams team that was capable not only of winning, but of doing so in exciting fashion.

Gone are the days of losing. Gone are the days of boring, predictable offense. Gone are the days of underwhelming and underachieving.

If the 2017 Rams were up-and-comers, the 2018 Rams have fully arrived. Sitting at 5-0 and atop every power rankings list one can find, the Rams are among the Super Bowl favorites.

They have two potential MVP candidates in quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley, perennial defensive standout Aaron Donald and a slew of gifted wide receivers.

Goff leads the league in passing yards. Gurley is second in rushing yards and first in rushing touchdowns. Of the 19 players with more than 400 receiving yards, the Rams have three – Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.

Head coach Sean McVay has quickly become the toast of town and the entire NFL. His offensive schemes have fans flocking to the Edwards Jones Dome in droves.

Plus, it’s seem unthinkable that this success will be only short-lived. McVay is only 32 years old. From Goff (23), Gurley (24), Kupp (25) and Donald (27) to a number of other key players, the Rams are saturated with youth.

In St. Louis, there’s a kid in a Rams jersey on every street. Turn on a radio or head to a bar, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear someone talking about St. Louis football. Their games have become must-see TV. Sunday afternoons are once again blocked off for Rams games.

To think that the Rams were on the precipice of deserting St. Louis for the West Coast just a couple years ago is wild. Watching this team prosper from afar would have been depressing.

St. Louis fans weathered a long, tumultuous storm. They supported a losing franchise for more than a decade, and when it came time to prove their loyalty to the team’s owners, they prevailed. The Rams were saved, and now the team is repaying that debt.

The city is lucky to still have its team. The lure of Los Angeles can be great for owners, players, coaches and the league as a whole. Money talks, but this time around, the fans were the ones truly heard. The Rams are right where they belong in St. Louis.

Young. Talented. Exciting. Winning. Yes, the Rams are still here, and they’re here to stay.

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JEFF WILSON can be reached at jeffreyewilson5@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwilson83.

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