ST. LOUIS – Seven years have passed since the NFL Rams played their final game in St. Louis, a Thursday Night Football clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

More than 51,000 football fans gathered at the then-called Edward Jones Dome on Dec. 17, 2015. And with it came the harsh realization that it very well could be the last time the Rams called St. Louis home.

Prolonged chants of “Keep The Rams!” echoed the dome as the game neared an end. Former FOX 2 web producer Danielle Scruggs captured the emotional plea from the lower level.

One nostalgic Twitter account @STLRamsHistory shared Scruggs’ video Saturday morning, recalling a rollercoaster of emotions: “There was a certain energy level/tension that night. Felt like we were all on the field playing with the team that night fighting for a W, except our opponent wasn’t just the Bucs, it was the Rams owner, also.”

Large signs from fans also filled the venue with messages such as “We Don’t Need Kroenke, We Just Want Our Rams,” “All I Want For Christmas Is A New Owner” and “St. Louis Loves Our Sports: Stay Here.”

How exactly did St. Louis and the Rams get to that point? A stadium clause, a change in ownership and year of losing all played a part.

The 2015 season marked the first (and eventually only) campaign during which the Rams played at the Dome on a year-to-year lease. That happened because the Dome had not met certain qualifications to retain a 30-year lease from when the Rams first moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which operates the dome, agreed to a condition with the Rams that would allow the team to explore other venues and possibly leave St. Louis if it did rank not among the top eight NFL stadiums by 2015. In attempts to tackle that situation, the Rams ownership rejected proposals for mass upgrades to the Dome in 2012 and to build a riverfront stadium after 2015.

Prior to then, present-day Rams owner Stan Kroenke took control of the franchise in 2010. Georgia Frontiere had owned the franchise for nearly three decades up until her death in 2008. Her run included the Rams’ first Super Bowl title in 2000.

After Frontiere’s death, Kroenke purchased the remaining shares of the team from her children in 2010. He first publicly hinted at the idea of the Rams relocating back to Los Angeles in 2012.

Returns from recent Rams seasons didn’t necessarily offer promise that they might stay in St. Louis either. The Rams never finished above .500 in St. Louis after 2004 and won three or fewer games four times in their last St. Louis decades. Attendance suffered as well. The Rams finishing in the bottom-quartile for much of their last dome decade, leading some LA advocates to paint a narrative they didn’t belong in St. Louis.

None of that seemed to matter during the final home game. Neither did the Rams defeating Tampa Bay, 31-23, or barely hanging onto slim playoff hopes at the time.

Fans found solice in whatever forms possible as an era largely filled with frustration and disappointment came to an end that night.

Within the game, the color rush uniforms offered an intriguing mustard and ketchup look between the Rams and Buccaneers. Todd Gurley added to a strong rookie season, scoring a key insurance touchdown and reaching the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Tavon Austin also dominated the scoresheet with a receiving and rushing touchdown that night. The Rams prevailed, despite a late 17-3 charge from Tampa Bay in the fourth quarter.

Jay-Z, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube all made celebrity appearances at or around the game. Some members from the “Greatest Show on Turf” era were even honored at halftime. The National Anthem even had a different look than previous games too.

Once that all wrapped up, the Rams filed paperwork for relocation and NFL owners officially approved the move back to Los Angeles less than a month later. It marks the second time an NFL team has departed from St. Louis after the NFL Cardinals left for Arizona in 1988.

The Rams broke a seven-year NFL team drought in 1995. Their departure followed 21 seasons later. Because of that, next year will officially mark a longer stretch without an NFL team in St. Louis.

Check out the slideshow above with several Associated Press photos from the Rams’ final St. Louis home game.