A little over one year ago, Los Angeles had no football team of its own. As of today, the second largest market in the United States has acquired both the Chargers and Rams; teams that have previously called Los Angeles home. Common sense would pinpoint the Rams as the most preferred team given their 50 seasons in Southern California, compared to the lone season the Chargers spent there in 1960. But it’s much more complex than that.
The Fight for Los Angeles is Officially Underway
Los Angeles is a city that values winning more than loyalty. The Lakers (16 NBA Titles) over the Clippers (0). The Dodgers (6 MLB Titles) over the Angels (1). The Kings (2 NHL Titles) over the Ducks (1). The Galaxy (5 MLS Cup Titles) over, back then, Chivas USA (0). And USC football (11 National Titles) over UCLA (1).
The same applies to both the Raiders and the Rams. Despite the Raiders having spent only 13 years in LA, their 1983 Super Bowl win created a distinct and far advanced fanbase that still stands today.
Winning is everything, especially in a city that carries a lot of glamour to it. Unfortunately for the Rams, winning hasn’t been easy, with their most recent season having been probably one of the most forgettable ones. It was a season where the team returned following a 21 year stint in St. Louis and carrying high expectations following a 3-1 start, only to have everything fade away following a 1-11 finish to the season. A season where fans thought benching a first overall pick for a backup-caliber quarterback was outrageous, but turned out to be the right choice.
Fortunately for the Chargers, they have an opportunity to start a new era, moving just 120 miles north from their old home. They now share a city with a team that has not made the playoffs since 2004, but have nowhere to go but up. The Chargers, right now, stand as the best team, having won more games last season as well as carrying more experienced and successful players. Despite their inferior fanbase compared to the Rams, the Chargers relocated to the City of Angels knowing their possibilities of winning a lot of fans, if, and only if, they come out and win.
The Rams know that also. This explains the sweeping changes the front office made three weeks prior to the end of the regular season by firing Jeff Fisher. Despite the shifting of coaches, personnel and players, which is still to come, the Rams haven’t come close to winning the hearts of fans in LA. Their tradition and history is what attracts the attention of most, but expect that to change if the new team playing just a couple miles down the I-110 South brings more excitement and success on Sunday afternoons.