The Los Angeles Rams? It'll Be A Homecoming
On Tuesday, football fans from a couple of cities got some very bad news. For the first time in 20 years, some NFL teams are going to be on the move, and a certain West Coast metropolis looks like it's going to be the beneficiary. The St. Louis Rams will be playing in the city of Los Angeles starting in 2016, and the San Diego Chargers might not be far behind. But the former of those two teams has deeper historical ties to the city. Creating the Los Angeles Rams makes the most sense out of any of these potential moves, because the team has been there before — and for a long while, too.
There's currently momentum behind the idea of the Chargers and Rams sharing a new stadium in Inglewood, California, although that's not assured at this point. But even if they did so, the Chargers can't claim nearly as strong a tie to Los Angeles that the Rams can. After all, the Rams were the original team of the City of Angels, from 1946 to 1979. The team subsequently played in Anaheim in nearby Orange County from 1980 until 1994, before departing for St. Louis in 1995.
While the Raiders also have their own L.A. cred ― and have also been vying to relocate to Los Angeles, and could depart Oakland in the near future ― they can't touch the Rams as far as duration is concerned. The Raiders first moved from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982, then moved back to Oakland in 1995. That's a mere 13 years, compared to the Rams' 33 years in the city.
Make no mistake; these relocation processes aren't without their victims. On the one hand, you have the fans of these teams, who are having their decades-long rooting interests torn away from them. And on the other, you have the taxpayers in the cities where the teams will end up ― pro sports owners are notoriously greedy when it comes to getting public funding to build new stadiums, in spite of how overstated the economic benefits of these facilities often are.
Across all the major sports, this practice of bleeding taxpayers (many of whom, needless to say, are not football fans) is the status quo, with privately funded stadiums like San Francisco's AT&T Park few and far between. It's such a pervasive part of American life these days that John Oliver devoted one of his beloved rants to the subject last year. At least L.A. residents can take heart that the new Inglewood stadium won't cost them a dime.
But if there's any silver lining in all this, it's that one of the most biggest holes in the American sports landscape is finally being plugged. Los Angeles is one of the top cultural and media hot spots in the United States, and the fact that it has had no representation in what is now America's most popular sport has been glaring, to say the least. Soon, L.A. football fans won't have to wait any longer ― the boys are back in town, you might say. And it'll be in service of a very familiar franchise. Homecomings are the best, aren't they?