Welcome back to Los Angeles, Rams


Carlos Islas, sports writer for The Orion Photo credit: Allisun Coote

The city of Los Angeles will welcome back the Rams, a team that at one point called LA home, for the 2016-2017 season. The city has been without a National Football League team for 21 years.

Amid controversy and fan outrage, the NFL voted to allow Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke to relocate the team to the same city he helped the team move away from in 1995.

Despite the city of St. Louis’ proposal for a new open-air stadium and the 86 percent attendance rate of fans in 2014, Kroenke went ahead and applied for relocation on Jan. 4, 2016. Just six days later on Jan. 12, the NFL approved Kroenke’s application to relocate.

This decision left St. Louis fans so angry that they even started a “Kroenke sucks” chant during a St. Louis Blues hockey game after the relocation was announced. The move does not appear to have bothered the fans from LA, despite the Rams not having a winning season in 11 years.

Although I am happy that my hometown will have a football team, I am not pleased with the way it happened. I would have liked Kroenke to have given St. Louis a fair chance to keep the team, especially since the year before they had such a high attendance record.

It would have made the move less controversial if Kroenke let the city officials of St. Louis have a real chance at keeping the team. If they had given their best effort and it did not work out, then maybe the move would have been seen in a different light. The way it happened gives the NFL and Kroenke a bad look.

In a city that is already dominated by two teams, the Dodgers and the Lakers, the Rams will have to quickly start winning if they want to endear themselves with the fans from LA. Sure, Los Angeles has not had much to celebrate in sports since the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014, but it’s a city where winning is the only thing acceptable. Anything short of that and the fans will turn their backs on the team.

Fans do not seem to mind though. Some have even started buying their season tickets in anticipation of watching the NFL’s biggest stars play in LA. All of this is great, but let us not forget this team has done nothing in the last 11 years. If they wish to be successful in LA, they will have to make changes quickly to remain relevant in a city that demands titles from its teams.

I hope the move works out and I can’t wait to see stars such as Tom Brady and J.J. Watt take the field in Inglewood.

Carlos Islas can be reached at [email protected] or @cIslasReports on Twitter.