At this point, it’s looking more than likely that there will be an NFL team in Los Angeles in 2016, a little over 20 years since the Rams and Raiders both left the city after the 1994 season. What’s still uncertain, however, is which team – or teams – will be moving, with three potential franchises all looking to relocate. For all three, it would be a return to LA – the Rams, the Raiders, and the Chargers, the only team to have actually been founded in LA, albeit only staying there for the inaugural AFL season before relocating 120 miles down the West Coast to San Diego. With that in mind, we’ve decided to look at the argument for why each of those three teams should move to LA, and why each of those three teams should stay where they are. First up, we take a look at the team with the longest history in the city, the Rams.
The Rams should return to their spiritual home
by David Venables
The reasons I have for the St. Louis Rams moving is twofold.
Firstly, they belong in Los Angeles. They younger ones of you may not remember, but the franchise was based in L.A from 1946-1979, after moving from Cleveland after just ten years. They also stayed in California from 1980 through to their eventual move to St. Louis in 1995, moving just a short distance to Anaheim in Southern California. There are a lot of people that maintain that the Rams belongs to Southern California, and were bitter about their move to Missouri. They maintained that the initial move to St. Louis just did not make sense from a media perspective, as Los Angeles was the second largest media market in the USA, while St. Louis was just the 18th largest. Their roots may have been in Cleveland, but their foundations have remained in Los Angeles, and it is their spiritual home.
Secondly, why stay in St. Louis? The team have not been successful since there since 2001, where they were defeated by Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. In fact, they have not had a winning season since 2003, finishing bottom of the NFC West six times in the past 10 seasons. Owner Stan Kroenke has made it clear that he sees no future for the Rams in St. Louis, and seems to be determined to move the Rams any which way or how. With the fans regularly staying away (the Edward Jones Dome only sold 86.4% of its capacity on average in 2014), you cannot blame Kroenke for wanting to uproot the team and go back to pastures greener.
So, with the Rams belonging in Los Angeles, and with an owner intent on getting them there, I say full steam ahead. See you in 2016, L.A Rams.
The Rams can’t keep uprooting when things get tough
by Nathan Hards
The Rams have got history when it comes to moving, and the reasons tend to be the same every time. The team was originally formed in 1936, as the Cleveland Rams. They competed against the big teams at the time, and did quite well for an emerging team. Around their 6th season, things started to decline for the team, with a decrease in wins, and ticket sales low on games across the league. The team started posting a loss in their financial statements, and with the formation of the Cleveland Browns in the AAFC, the Rams feared the possibility of folding. With the California area expanding, and interest in a franchise for the area, the Rams moved to LA. The Browns filled in the gap left by the Rams, easily, and are regarded as a legacy team to this day.
One of the factors in renting the stadium in LA was a requirement that they hire at least on black player for their team. The LA Rams agreed to this, and alongside the Browns, effectively desegregated the game of football in the US. The Browns played in LA for 33 years, until 1979, when it became clear that they were struggling to fill their 90,000 seater stadium. Due to the NFL blackout clause at the time – meaning that if a game hadn’t sold out within 72 hours of kick-off, it wouldn’t be televised – the Rams were heavily suffering under a lack of coverage and support. Again, following a run of bad seasons, the support was draining away from the Rams. Financial concerns reared their head again, and the management decided that the nearby Anaheim stadium, in the Orange County area would make a great base to grow their franchise again. A 60,000 seater stadium would be much easier to fill, enabling them to stay in California, and get back on the television.
In 1982, the Oakland Raiders moved to LA, effectively splitting the area’s fanbase. The next few years would decide the fate of either team. With the Raiders romping to a Super Bowl, and the Rams failing to match that level of achievement, support for the Rams dwindled further up to 1994. This led to the management to look at a way out. St Louis presented them with an option, and they went for it. New city, new start, new fan-base. The rest of the NFL ownership voted overwhelmingly against the move, citing the level of history that the Rams had in the LA area, and encouraging the team to invest in their fans instead of abandoning them for greener pastures. St Louis, being without a team since the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1987, vaguely threatened litigation against the NFL for blocking the move. The NFL re-voted on the issue, and the Rams move to St Louis in 1995.Now we’re in 2015, and the Rams are looking at a return to LA for the 2016 season. They need to stop. They have run away from their problems in Cleveland, and the Browns stepped into the gap, and took the fan-base. They ran away from their problems in LA. Now they’re struggling in 2015, and they’re looking
Now we’re in 2015, and the Rams are looking at a return to LA for the 2016 season. They need to stop. They have run away from their problems in Cleveland, and the Browns stepped into the gap, and took the fan-base. They ran away from their problems in LA. Now they’re struggling in 2015, and they’re looking at greener pastures back in the LA area. This isn’t how you solve problems. You don’t become a great team by moving every time the fanbase starts to drop. You identify the problems, you make changes, you adapt and grow. Stop blaming the fans for your problems, and start looking in the mirror. The Rams need to stay in St Louis, and work on their team. Give the fans something to get behind, instead of running away.