The NFL will return to Los Angeles. Yesterday, the NFL owners gave approval to the St. Louis Rams to move back to L.A. after a 21-year absence. A new stadium is to be built on land in Inglewood owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The new stadium, which is purportedly to be built entirely with private funds, is expected to be ready in 2019. Where the Rams will play until then is anyone’s guess, but I would guess the L.A. Coliseum would be their temporary home.
The NFL has also given their blessing to the San Diego Chargers to move to L.A. and share the new facility with the Rams. The Oakland Raiders had also applied to relocate to L.A. The Raiders, of course, called L.A. home from 1982 to 1994. The late Al Davis infamously moved the team from Oakland to LA without NFL approval. The Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, but are now looking to pick up stakes yet again.
As for the Rams, prior to moving to the Midwest in 1995, the Rams had played in L.A. for nearly half a century. The Los Angeles Rams had won 2 NFL championships and had one Super Bowl appearance.
When I think of the Los Angeles Rams, the first thing that comes to mind is the Fearsome Foursome of Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy. During the 1980’s, Eric Dickerson set the NFL afire with his blazing speed. In 1984, he would attain the NFL single season record for rushing with 2,105 yards. I have no doubt the new Los Angeles Rams will create memories for a new generation of fans.
Still, I can’t help but feel sorry for St. Louis football fans who have now been burned twice. The St. Louis Cardinals moved to Arizona after the 1987 season leaving the city without an NFL team for nearly a decade. The St. Louis Rams would win Super Bowl XXIV with the tandem of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk and were heavy favorites to win again two years later, but would be upset by the upstart New England Patriots in Tom Brady’s first season as quarterback. The Rams haven’t reached the playoffs since 2004.
Despite the Rams’ lack of recent success, St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved $1.1 billion worth of financing for a new riverfront stadium last week. But there is more money to be made in L.A. so Kroenke and nearly all the other NFL owners voted for their bottom line.
It’s not quite as bad when Robert Irsay moved the Colts from Baltimore to Indianapolis in the dark of night. But no doubt St. Louis football fans will look at L.A. with resentment for many years to come.
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