At a news conference held at the Forum in Inglewood, California, on January 15, 2016, Rams fans cheered for the NFL football team. This year, the St. Louis Rams are returning to play in Los Angeles to become once again the Los Angeles Rams! In the future, a stadium will be built for them where the Hollywood Casino once stood. With a vote of 30 to 32, NFL owners approved Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan of moving his team back to the Los Angeles area. If the San Diego franchise declines, Chargers have a yearlong option to join the Rams, followed by the Raiders. In total, the fee to move the team costs a whopping $550 million.
The Rams’ History
Fans know that this is history in the making, but what is the history of this team? It all began on February 13, 1937 when the National Football League (NFL) granted a Cleveland franchise to Homer Marshman and Associates, a prominent group of local businessmen. Hugo Bezdek was named head coach and in that year, Rams finished with a 1-10 record where games were played in the Municipal Stadium and League Park. The next year, assistant coach Art Lewis took over the team after three losses began the season. The Rams won the first three under Lewis but finished with a 4-7 record. In 1939, Earl (Dutch) Clark became the head coach, leading the Rams to finish at .500 for first time with a 5-5-1 record. Parker Hall won Joe Carr Trophy as NFL’s official Most Valuable Player. In 1940, the Rams dropped back to 4-6-1 record. A year later, Daniel F. Reeves and Fred Levy, Jr., purchased the Rams in June and hire Billy Evans as general manager, winning first two games but dropping next nine to finish fifth in NFL West. In 1942, Evans resigned before the season and Charles (Chile) Walsh became assistant coach. After three seasons, Rams return to play all home games in League Park, finishing 5-6. NFL grants Rams permission to suspend operations for one season because of the war. In the 1950s, Rams win 2nd NFL title defeating Cleveland 24-17 at the Coliseum.
Some more notable highlights were to follow. During 1962, Rams draft future great Merlin Olsen—Utah State Defensive Tackle. In 1970, Rams finish second to 49ers with 9-4-1 record. The next year, Reeves dies and William A. Barnes becomes president and general manager. In 1972, Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom trades the Baltimore franchise to Robert Irsay in exchange for the Rams on July 14. During the 1980s, in the season’s last game, Vince Ferragam throws for 509 yards vs. Chicago, making it the second highest in league history. During 1990s, Jackie Slater becomes the first player in Rams history to play 16 seasons. During the 2000s, the Rams win three playoff games and won the Super Bowl XXXIV, defeating Tennessee. In 2010, RB Steven Jackson was selected to second Pro Bowl, becoming the first Rams’ running back to have five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. LB James Laurinaitis becomes the second rookie in franchise history to lead the team in tackles. With the first overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Rams chose Oklahoma Quarterback Sam Bradford and had 11 picks in the 2010 draft. In the beginning, the franchise resided in Cleveland from 1937 to 1945. They moved to Los Angeles in 1946. The Rams were originally in Los Angeles, but they left Southern California for St. Louis after the 1994 NFL season. Now, the team is expected to play three seasons at the Coliseum before moving into their new stadium in Inglewood before the 2019 season.
The Effects on Los Angeles
Since the departure of both franchises, there have been many conscious efforts to bring the NFL back to the heart of Los Angeles, including a resolution to give the city an expansion team during 1999. However, a stadium deal and ownership group was not able to come together and therefore, the franchise was awarded to Houston instead. So how will this affect the Los Angeles area? This is aside from the already jam-packed traffic just becoming increasingly worse. For one, L.A. is second in the entire nation’s media market with over 5.4 million television homes, which means that more than $1 million will boost the Rams and Chargers value. In addition, with the NFL returning, Los Angeles will be more prominent in the sports world and L.A. will officially be cemented, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
-By Bonnie Wong