Football news we’d been expecting and waiting for in the L.A. area arrived today — the San Diego Chargers (previously the L.A. Chargers) are returning to L.A.
Prior to this last season, the Los Angeles area had been without an NFL team for some twenty years (since the Rams absconded to Saint Louis in the 90s). Such a loss.
We didn’t, at least as far as I was concerned, actually need an NFL team in our part of SoCal.
We had perennially contending “pro” teams: the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans — I am of the opinion that any team with dozens of players benefiting from $50,000+/year full-ride scholarships is a professional team and the players are professional athletes.
We have a number of other exciting to watch college and junior college teams.
And — we have some of the most exciting high school football teams in the nation playing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in stadiums where every seat is up close and personal. Having seen more than five hundred of these games over the last thirty years, I can assure you that most of them are a lot more exciting than those played by the L.A. Rams in 2016.
Just think of it — twenty years without an NFL team in L.A. and all of a sudden we have three teams vying to come to L.A.: 2016 the Rams arrive with a 4 and 12 record — losers; the Chargers leave San Diego with a 5 and 11 record — losers. The Oakland Raiders who appear ready to go to Vegas closed out their regular season with a 12 and 4 record. Lost Wages, Nevada wins again.
The Rams will play in the Coliseum which seats 80,000+ fans for the next two years before their own stadium in Inglewood, which also will seat 80,000 fans, is completed. If they continue to lose, there’ll be more than a few empty seats staring at the television cameras.
The Chargers, who’ll play at a soccer stadium in Carson until the Inglewood facility is completed, will be hard-pressed to sell out its 27,167 seats the next two years if they continue to play the way they have.
I doubt I’ll be going to any Ram or Charger games. If I want to watch them, I’ll catch them on the boob-tube. Just because they now have Los Angeles in front of their names doesn’t guarantee the support and loyalty of those of us who live in the Los Angeles area — and I live in Orange County. If these billionaire owners want my money — over and above what I spend on my Cable TV bill, that is — they’ll need to improve their product.
Yes, next year I’ll root for my favorite NFL team — Go, Packers and anyone else who plays the Forty-Niners.
Yes, next year I’ll root for the Trojans and Bruins and Gophers.
Yes, next year I’ll root for the Chargers (Edison High School Chargers, that is), Huntington Beach Oilers, Fountain Valley Barons, Orange Panthers, Villa Park Spartans, El Modena Vanguards and Canyon Comanches and other SoCal teams.
The L.A. Rams and the L.A. Chargers? Maybe . . . but not the way they played these last few years.
Oh, yeah — I’ll continue, perhaps a bit ironically, to root for Arsenal: Go Gunners!