What's next for Spagnuolo?
"I would like to personally thank Steven and Billy for their dedication to the St. Louis Rams over the past several seasons," Kroenke said. "This was a difficult decision for many reasons. We have tremendous respect for Steve and Billy as people and football professionals. ... However, we believe it's in the best interest of the St. Louis Rams to make theses changes as we continue our quest to build a team that consistently competes for playoffs and championships."
Spagnuolo was considered a defensive whiz after leading an impressive performance by the Giants defense in a Super Bowl upset of the unbeaten Patriots in 2008, and received a four-year contract for his first head coaching job. The Rams were 1-15 in 2009 while undertaking a massive overhaul, then made a six-victory improvement in 2010, and entered this season viewed as NFC West contenders.
The Rams ended the year on a seven-game losing streak as speculation swirled that Spagnuolo would be let go at the end of the season.
Players stuck with the relentlessly upbeat Spagnuolo, who never singled out anyone for criticism, and believe they're not far away from another turnaround.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.