Hazy as this seems now, a decade ago, Steve Spagnuolo was among the most coveted commodities in NFL coaching. So much so that he initially seemed beyond the St. Louis Rams price range for their vacant head coaching job.
And this was back when you could still assume that trying to win, elusive as it was, was meaningful to the organization across the state. Back before Stan Kroenke took full ownership and dedicated his energy and resources to his covert and treacherous scheme to return the franchise to Los Angeles where three years after the maneuvering the Rams are suddenly a Super Bowl team after failing to make the playoffs in their last 11 seasons in St. Louis.
As the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants at the time, Spagnuolo was only a year removed from orchestrating a rare smothering of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. That Patriots team, you may remember, was 18-0 entering Super Bowl XLII and had led the NFL with 36.8 points a game including a 38-35 victory over the Giants in their regular-season finale.