Print Share


Future of the NFL in Los Angeles

Class of 2012 seniors graduating from Southern California high schools this past spring held the distinction of being the first to do so without an NFL football team in Los Angeles in their lifetime. It is quite astonishing a major market such as Los Angeles has been without professional football since the Rams and Raiders both packed their bags following Christmas Eve games at the conclusion of the 1994 season. Both teams were relocated by similarly eccentric and bottom line owners for greener pastures with marginal success, the Rams winning one Super Bowl, and the Raiders fading into NFL obscurity and becoming a punch line to many jokes about NFL futility.  Many local fans likely share a similar point of view as myself, too young in 1994 to understand what the city had lost, and left now with only fading memories of the NFL in Southern California. Being left with no dog in the fight, no hometown team to support has left a hallow feeling on Sundays where the NFL is concerned. Certainly I’ve had some rooting interests over the years, the Green Bay Packers during the Brett Favre era, the Raiders for the ties they left in Southern California, and recently the Chicago Bears thanks to my wife’s unwavering support of the team. However, none of these had the feeling of “My” team, one to ride the ups and downs with as has always been the hope.

That hope has been given some possibility in recent years due to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) stepping forward and offering to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles on their dime. This clears what has always been the biggest hurdle in returning the NFL to Southern California, building a new stadium without a cost to tax payers. A point of concern has recently been the pending sale of AEG, but the group and city have indicated that the downtown stadium plan must be included in any possible sale. While ground hasn’t even been broke on Farmers Field enough progress has been made to allow fans to ask the next question, just who would be playing here on Sundays? Potential teams such as the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars have been eliminated due to a new stadium plan and a new ownership group respectively. The most commonly accepted short list is now down to the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and popular dark horse St. Louis Rams, whom I believe to be the best fit.

At first glance the San Diego Chargers seem an obvious choice for relocation, and may well be the home team when Farmers Field opens for business in 2016. The Chargers have established a respectable fan base in Los Angeles and Orange County, and have seen sagging home attendance in San Diego result in television blackouts and more speculation about a possible move. While a team with a sizeable fan base in Los Angeles and a roster ready to compete are appealing factors supporting a move up Interstate 5, several other factors can’t be over looked. Chargers owner Dean Spanos has taken a team a few short seasons removed from a 14-2 season and steered them dangerously close to football mediocrity. By providing a stay of execution to General Manager A.J. Smith and Head coach Norv Turner for a second consecutive season, and letting several high profile players leave via free agency Spanos commitment to winning has been called into question. If this trend continues moving the franchise to Los Angeles and having success could be a tricky proposition. Los Angeles is unique to other cities, having many alternatives for entertainment which could force the Chargers to be competitive immediately or face a similar fate to what they’ve seen in San Diego. Additionally, passing on the Chargers in favor of another team would give both Los Angeles and San Diego a boost with an instant rivalry which could substantially help the success of both franchises.

A second option is a relocation of the Raiders to Los Angeles for a second time, a move with substantial risk and possible reward. The Raiders have enjoyed strong fan support while playing in both ends of California, but in his last days even polarizing owner Al Davis realized his teams roots were in Oakland and should remain there. The team was founded in the Bay Area and enjoyed its greatest success there, and the decade spent in L.A. seemed more about Al Davis thumbing his nose at Oakland than making the team successful here. The popularity in the team enjoyed in Southern California can’t be denied, but it was something of a lightning in a bottle effect. The Silver and Black were enjoying success on the field, and were buoyed by fledgling South L.A. “Ganster Rap” acts proudly wearing the team’s apparel. This pairing forever changed the reputation of the team, boosting popularity immensely in the divisive early 90’s, and serving as an albatross since then. This reputation is now a part of the franchise’s fabric, and would be a tough sell in a city still rehabilitating its image after the senseless Brian Stow beating outside of Dodger Stadium. A second relocation would play well to a large part of the community, but be a detriment to the city in the long run.

Moving the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles faces the most hurdles to bring to fruition, and yet is most worth the effort. As the Raiders are truly Oakland’s team, the Rams are Los Angeles’. The names Ferragamo, Slater and Youngblood still entice a reaction of pride from the loyalist of Los Angeles football fans. Before “Showtime”, “Fernandomania”, or Gretzky there were the Rams, Los Angeles pride and heartache. St. Louis native, and then owner Georgia Frontiere slowly eroded that fan base by fielding a series of non-competitive teams, until she had enough leverage to uproot the team and move them to her home city. A short five years later, the ultimate insult to injury was inflicted when the team that always seemed just short of grabbing the brass ring, were now Super Bowl Champions. 13 years after that Super Bowl Los Angeles is still without football and the Rams are now facing a lack of fan support in St. Louis, and major renovations needed on their arena. Billionaire Stan Kroenke now owns the Rams, and is openly keen about sports in Los Angeles leading to speculation about where the team’s future is. If St. Louis doesn’t pony up for the necessary renovation (A matter currently being heard in court) the Rams likely would be
heading West again.

With football returning to Los Angeles moving from possible to the realm of probable the city must focus on making it a success this time. The team must be correctly marketed to compete with the Lakers, Dodgers, and yes even the Los Angeles Kings. The novelty of having a football team in our backyard will carry the team for a couple of seasons, but for continued success the city must love the team. There is no better hope for this than with the Rams who have a hibernating fan base ready to wake, and an established history in the city. They are the Rams, they are L.A.

About the Author Subscribe to author's RSS feed
Written by
Greetings all, I am a 28 year old aspiring writer from Southern California. I'm a fan of most sports and diehard Angels, Lakers, and NFL( Please give us a team in L.A., NFL!) supporter. Sports has been a part of me from an early age, and I look forward to sharing team news, and yes, a few opinions with all of you.


In response to “Future of the NFL in Los Angeles”

  1. Rocky Oct 9 201210:55 pm


    You are a biased DB. ANY fan base would quit supporting a team that has been one of the most inept franchises over the last 8 years, in NFL history! The STL Rams had won 15 games over the last several years, pre- 2012. They belong in STL, not surfer town. LA fans would be doing a million different things if the franchise was in LA the last 8 yrs. Bigger market doesn’t mean better support. The Dome was one of the most difficult venues to play in during the greatest show days. STL can be a great market, if the team competes. As the Rams get better, you will see more and more sell outs. The Rams will stay in STL, bank on it!

    1. Greg Quintero Oct 9 201211:04 pm


      Sounds like you’re a St. Louis homer DB. The Cleveland Browns have been inept for years are still have strong support. St. Louis couldn’t support the football Cardinals and can’t support the Rams. They were LA’s team long before St. Louis was a thought in the NFL.

      1. rocky Oct 10 201211:53 am


        Using your theory, the City of Cleveland owns the Rams since they were founded there in 1936. They should be returned immediately….
        Bill Bidwell moved the St. Louis Cardinals because he drove the team into the ground, then demanded a new stadium. The City was still a few years away from getting that deal done, so he moved. He moved for the same reasons Georgia moved. Drove the team into the ground, then flew the nest for a better deal. Your Browns example is not applicable, since the Browns have been around since 1946 and the Football Cardinals since 1960. By your example, LA should never get a team, since they had a long established franchise leave after the owner drove it into the ground. You make LA look worse because The Rams moved after being there 14 years longer than the Cards in STL. Simple fact; LA being as big as it is, should NEVER have an empty stadium. However, since there is so much to do, interest in a bad football team will dwindle, once the luster of a new team wears off, assuming they are not competitive. I’ve seen the Dodgers and Kings play to empty venues numerous times. LA is just like any other market. If the team sucks, fans do not show up. The STL Rams have just sucked more than any team in the league over the past several years.

        I would have been all for letting LA keep the Rams logo and name. I didn’t like the idea of taking it. I guess it is too late now. I just find it sickening how STL fans embraced LA Rams fans and now they basically badmouth STL Rams fans, to better their chance to get the Rams back in LA. That is basically what you are doing, but you are using your site to do that. Your comment “They were LA’s team long before St. Louis was a thought in the NFL” proves you are biased towards LA. You are probably part of that Facebook movement, “Bring the Rams back to LA”
        What happened to objective journalism?????

        1. Greg Quintero Oct 10 201212:00 pm


          It’s an OPINION piece. It’s a personal blog, is it in a hard news newspaper? I don’t have to be “objective”, I live in Los Angeles and would love the Rams to come back, why hide that? I’m not a part of any “Facebook movement” and I suggest you don’t judge people you know nothing about. Thank you for your opinions, I’ll take them with a grain of salt.

          1. rocky Oct 10 201212:14 pm

            Then I guess you should have made your true views known somewhere in the article. It appeared to be written from an objective point of view. Then as you read on, it gets more and more slanted. I understand why LA wants to Rams back. I’d love to get the Cardinals logo back. LA fans can express their desires all they want. Fine I get that. The thing that rubs me the wrong way is how LA NFL fans and the media try to paint St. Louis as a bad NFL market and say STL lost the Big Red because STL is a baseball town. STL is a sports town and the only reason the Rams would leave is because that God-awful lease was written in a way that allows the Rams to get out of it. It was the worst deal in the history sports leases. At that time, desperate times, called for desperate actions. If any team should move, it should be JAX, the franchise that STL should have gotten!

          2. Greg Quintero Oct 10 201212:28 pm

            I never knocked St. Louis as a sports town, great support for the Cardinals and Blues, but not as much for the Rams. And of course the terrible last decade has killed attendance, it’s in the news, that’s a major reason they’re even being brought up. If the city supports them and they stay there, great for them. If they don’t many people in LA would love them back, and people won’t be shy about that fact.

          3. rocky Oct 10 20122:45 pm

            I actually think LA should have a team. JAX should move. St. Louis has almost 3 million people in the metro area. JAX has barely a million. STL is a great sports town. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d give the Rams logo back to LA, Cardinals back to STL
            and the Colts back to Baltimore. I just think the STL franchise should stay and that is based upon the demographics, fan base, corporate support and things of that nature. Not homerism.

            PS – I am not judging you as a writer. Just didn’t like the way the article was written. I get why LA fans want the Rams back and you being from there. I am definitely on the defensive, considering how MANY articles have ripped the fanbase in STL. It’s just not true and a move would ONLY happen because of the TERRIBLE lease provision. No doubt LA gets a team, that is a fact. Which one, remains to be seen.

        2. Fuzzy19 Oct 10 20127:54 pm


          Uh…Rocky… the Rams left Cleveland because they had to. The Browns had won the lease to Municipal Stadium and were already the big draw because Paul Brown owned the club. It was a mutually beneficial parting of the ways. The Rams moved into a brand new market, and the Browns got the city to themselves. I get tired of you St. Louis folks trying to draw use Cleveland without knowing the facts or by ignoring them entirely.

          Second, you’re a hypocrite. You said this: “ANY fan base would quit supporting a team that has been one of the most inept franchises over the last 8 years, in NFL history! The STL Rams had won 15 games over the last several years, pre- 2012.” But then you go on to note that L.A. should always have a full stadium. Why should L.A. fans pay for the crap that Georgia was putting on the field, but the folks in St. Louis shouldn’t have to? The fans in L.A. knew what Georgia was doing. They knew what she was doing from the moment Rosenbloom died. They weren’t going to support that.

          Furthermore, You like to talk about Bidwell, but he had a deal in place to keep the team in St. Louis, and your city backed off from the stadium deal. You can label Bidwell as the worst owner on earth if you want, but he was trying to keep the team in Missouri.

          Finally, how are you going to talk about L.A. fans trashing St. fans when they have been doing nothing but spreading hate and discontent throughout the net towards L.A. Even your initial posts to the author were hostile.

          1. Greg Quintero Oct 10 20127:59 pm

            Very well said!

          2. Dirk Oct 11 201212:08 am

            Fuzzy for GM! Navy blue and white only please!

  2. Dirk Oct 9 201210:57 pm


    This isn’t difficult. The Rams fanbase is already established, it would be the feel-good story the NFL depserately needs right now, and Georgia F pulled the Rams out for the wrong reason(s). Not to mention the $$ and TV rights involved!! Win-Win.

    My only request would be to return in the navy blue-white uniforms!!

    1. Greg Quintero Oct 9 201211:22 pm


      Love the old school Blue and white!

  3. TimFrith24 Oct 13 20128:51 pm


    The Chargers and the Rams will apply for relocation between January 1st and February 15th if the Chargers leave San Diego after 52 seasons and the Rams leave St. Louis after 18 seasons. Beginning next season, the Chargers will play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum while the Rams will play at the Rose Bowl until Farmers Field opens its doors for the 2017 season.

  4. iseale88 Oct 15 20123:57 pm


    I feel like this move is inevitable. the nfl needs to put a franchise in the LA market.

    1. Timothy Frith Oct 15 20124:09 pm


      Big deal. The Chargers will leave San Diego and the Rams will leave St. Louis if they apply for relocation to L.A.

Add Your Comment