The NFL returns to LA

The Rams relocate to LA after leaving 21 years ago while the Chargers and Raiders seek solutions to their own stadium issues.

Will Clark, Sports Editor

After 21 years of being left without an NFL team, the Rams are coming home to the city of Los Angeles. From 1946 to 1995, the Rams franchise called Los Angeles home after they relocated from Cleveland, Ohio. After 49 years in Los Angeles, the Rams left for St. Louis due to a number of issues: first and foremost, they couldn’t sell out the 90,000 seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which caused local TV blackouts. Add that to sharing a stadium with two college teams and being situated in South Central Los Angeles (perceived as the most dangerous part of the city), the franchise closed the books on Los Angeles.

On January 3, 2016, three NFL teams filed for relocation to Los Angeles: the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers. Two proposals were placed in front of a board of NFL owners, one for the Rams to move to Inglewood, and one for the Chargers and Raiders to share a stadium in Carson. The board voted 30 to 2 in favor of the Rams relocating to the Inglewood site and gave the Chargers one year to decide if they would like to exercise their option to join the Rams there. Though they gave the Chargers an option, the NFL is strongly encouraging the Raiders and Chargers to stay in their local markets of Oakland and San Diego – and I agree.

It was only a matter of time before the NFL moved back to the nation’s second largest media market, but I don’t think that a relatively new market could support two teams. The Rams and the Raiders still have fans in Los Angeles from their stint in the city, but if either one of the Oakland or San Diego franchises decides to move, they will become the Ram’s little brother so to speak, always living in their shadow. Both the Raiders and Chargers are staying in their respective cities for the 2016 season. This gives the Rams a head start to win back fans since they are playing in Los Angeles next year, which is why a second Los Angeles franchise wouldn’t be anything more than an afterthought.

The NFL is by far America’s most watched league but I think the NFL might be overestimating their reach. Los Angeles sports teams have done just fine keeping the city’s citizens interest and loyalty. The Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Ducks, and Galaxy all have die-hard fans and have found their niche in the city. Who is to say that an everyday Los Angelean will be nothing more than a casual fan of the Rams since they have their own teams to cheer for, especially a 20 year old who never lived to experience the NFL in his or her hometown?

I do not think it is possible for two NFL teams to survive in Los Angeles, and I think the Rams will struggle to attract crowds if the team does not win right away or have star players the fans can rally around. It makes sense why the NFL wanted a team there, but it would be best for the Rams, Chargers, Raiders, and the league if the Rams are Los Angeles’s sole team.