ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Fans in St. Louis held their collective breath, then screamed with joy and poured out into the cold Sunday as their Rams held on -- just barely -- to beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 to win the Super Bowl.
"We're number one!" fans at the Trainwreck Saloon chanted as the topsy-turvy game came to an end. Dozens then poured out into the narrow streets of Laclede's Landing, an area of red-bricked, redeveloped riverfront buildings housing restaurants, taverns and shops. Many stopped traffic with their renditions of the "Bob & Weave," the end-zone dance made famous by the Rams' receivers. Throughout downtown, horns blared.
It was an up-and-down ride all night for fans in a city starved for a decent football, never mind a world champion. The Rams, 200-1 Super Bowl underdogs according to Las Vegas odds in the preseason, completed an improbable ride with a scintillating win.
And the town went nuts.
"This makes a name for our city," Gary Eaton screamed as he jumped for joy as the game ended.
Fans around the area were jubilant after their team went up 16-0 midway through the third quarter. But against all odds, the Tennessee Titans scored 16 straight points to tie it.
Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce combined on a 73-yard touchdown pass with 1:54 to go to regain the lead, then the Rams let Tennessee march deep into St. Louis territory, setting up the game's final play. Steve McNair hit Kevin Dyson at the five, but he could stretch out only as far as about the 1 as he was brought down to end the game.
"I'm 50 years old -- that's hard on your heart," said Steve Wolff. "I was never sure they were going to win."
There were no early reports of looting or vandalism, as sometimes accompanies a major-sports championship. It may have been just too cold for that sort of thing -- temperatures were in the low 20s, and four inches of snow on Saturday left many side streets slippery.
During the game, St. Louis was a ghost town on the outside. Interstates 64 and 70, the two main east-west corridors passing through the city, were nearly empty.
By halftime, downtown streets were eerily quiet. A bus passed by with one passenger. Yellow and blue bunting -- put up on lamp posts along the route of a victory parade scheduled for Monday afternoon -- flapped lazily in the breeze. A skyscraper -- yes, St. Louis has a few -- spelled out "GO RAMS" in lit offices. Busch Stadium, where the Rams played their first four games after arriving in St. Louis in 1995 before the Trans World Dome opened, lit its distinctive archways in yellow and gold.
And from Chesterfield to Florissant, Belleville, Ill., to Fenton, St. Louis-area fans partied hard on the inside.
At a St. Charles subdivision, blue and gold balloons bounced off mailboxes and porch lights. TVs glowed through front-room windows, with screaming fans on the edges of their couches and recliners.
Not all of the parties were in bars and homes. Many area churches held alcohol-free Super Bowl parties. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, a devout Christian who spoke at Billy Graham's rally at the Trans World Dome in October, has become a hero of many local churchgoers.
The parade to honor Warner and the rest of the Rams will begin at 4:30 p.m. CST downtown. A rally will follow at Kiener Plaza. Rams players and coaches were expected to speak at the rally. After the rally, the city will set off about $15,000 worth of fireworks.
Major League Baseball's Cardinals have won 15 pennants and nine championships, though the most recent was 1982. But otherwise, championships here have been few and far between here.
The football Cardinals never got close -- in 28 seasons here, they were 0-3 in the playoffs. The Blues made the Stanley Cup finals their first three seasons (1968-70), but they never won, and they haven't been back since.
The old St. Louis Hawks, who moved to Atlanta in 1968, won one world title, in 1958. And the Saint Louis University Billikens won the NIT championship -- before the NCAA tournament, the NIT determined college basketball's champion -- in 1948.
Now, the city has its first Super Bowl champion.
"I'm thrilled for St. Louis," owner Georgia Frontiere said as she accepted the Lombardi Trophy, signifying the NFL championship. "It proves we did the right thing in going to St. Louis. This trophy belongs to our coach, our team and our fans in St. Louis."