Football fans in SoCal will be extremely happy to be seeing this at the Coliseum next season. Photo courtesy of ktla.com
IN CASE YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK ON MARS AND HAVE NOT HEARD…
After 21 years without a representative in the National Football League, the NFL owners approved a plan for the Rams to return to the city they called home from 1946-1994.
When I – along with everyone else in the known universe – heard that the Rams were ending an over two decade period of pro football not being in the nation’s second largest city, one word stood out in my mind:
Eric Dickerson, perhaps the greatest Los Angeles Ram ever as he joined O.J. Simpson in the 2,000 yard rushing club in 1984. Photo courtesy of brunchnews.com
Being that for nearly 50 years, those Rams were an L.A. institution; it would have been just plain wrong to not have them return to the Southland.
I was more of a baseball fan as a youngster, particularly of the Dodgers, but like pretty much every other red-blooded boy in the Los Angeles area I followed the Rams during their days in both the Coliseum and in Anaheim.
Even though I was more of a bandwagon-due-to-their-four-Super-Bowl-titles-in-the-1970s Steelers fan in junior high and liked the Raiders (that was the time when I referred to the Rams as the “Lambs”) – who likewise filed an application to return to L.A. but were rejected – more in high school and college; the Rams didn’t win that much by the early 90s and my true once-and-for-all football loyalties to UCLA were cemented by then.
I did have the experience of performing at a Rams halftime show while a member of the UCLA Marching Band in 1990, which was a positive one as we performed a medley of Disney classics in front of what seemed like a full house at Anaheim Stadium.
I specifically recall the Rams playing the Cincinnati Bengals that Sunday, getting a free lunch consisting of hot dogs and chips from the team during the first half, and standing next to the Rams sideline, watching Kevin Greene get into it with a Bengal as the clock started to wind down.
That was my prevalent personal memory of that blue and gold team as they will literally return to their Coliseum roots this coming fall, planning to spend three years there while their new digs at the former Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood is built and will open in 2019.
As for the Chargers getting a one-year window from the NFL to get a deal which will allow them to share the new Inglewood stadium with the (once again) Los Angeles Rams,
As the Chargers have been the closest thing to an NFL team that L.A. has had since the mid-90s, it would be quite cool for them to be called the Los Angeles Chargers for the first time since 1960, but..
If they can get a deal done, great!
If they can’t and are forced to stay in San Diego – where they would be the all time lamest of lame-duck teams with virtually no fan support except for the relatively few extreme diehards clinging to hope that they can work something out with those 120-miles south of L.A. neighbors – then they can’t.
There will be no skin off this nose.
A Los Angeles Rams pennant from back in the day. Gee, the name “Los Angeles Rams” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Photo courtesy of sports.mearsonlineauctions.com
In the meantime, I have two remaining thoughts:
1. In the eyes of everyone in St. Louis, Rams owner Stan Kroenke has just become the Walter O’ Malley of the 21st century in the sense that just as O’ Malley became the epitome of greed and evil incarnate when he took the Dodgers out of Brooklyn and moved them west in 1958, Kroenke will be thought of the same way; I wouldn’t journey to the state of Missouri ever again if I were him.
2. I’m going to have to buy a Rams jersey pretty soon, not necessarily because I’ve just became a big fan of the team (though they will certainly get my support), but because I just think it would be cool to have one.
There are three more words that I think sums up the feelings of the millions of football fans, and sports fans in general, who live in this region…
WELCOME HOME, RAMS!
An artist’s rendering of the new stadium in Inglewood that Rams owner Stan Kroenke is building and is scheduled to open in 2019. Image courtesy of cbssports.com