January 12, 2016: A two-year grind of rumors and angst come to an end as NFL owners vote 30-2 to allow the St. Louis Rams to move back to Los Angeles. Owners chose the Rams’ plan for a new stadium in Inglewood over one in Carson proposed by the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers. But the league gave the Chargers the option of sharing the new stadium—and exactly one year later, the club announced it was moving to L.A after 56 years in San Diego.
Incredibly, the nation’s second-largest market had been without NFL football since both the Rams and Raiders departed following the 1994 season. The Rams settled into St. Louis, and they won Super Bowl 34 over the Tennessee Titans following the 1999 season. The team also made Super Bowl 36, falling to the New England Patriots. Then in 2015, the Rams became embroiled in a stadium dispute with the city of St. Louis that many felt was manufactured, with owner Stan Kroenke following the money and exploring a move to L.A.
The Rams certainly had history in Los Angeles. The franchise was originally born in Cleveland in 1936. After the Rams won the 1945 NFL championship, the Rams moved to L.A. and set up camp in the Coliseum, which was their home until 1980. It was then that they moved into Anaheim Stadium, home of the California Angels. It had been remodeled into a cavernous multi-purpose facility. The place eventually wore out its welcome, and fan support dwindled. Owner Georgia Frontiere used that opportunity to negotiate a new home in St. Louis.
Upon the Rams’ 2016 return, the team went retro and played in the L.A. Coliseum for three seasons until SoFi Stadium was ready. While fans in the Southland generally embrace the team, the most striking thing about Rams home games in SoFi is the dominance of opposing teams’ fans. It’s even more stark during Chargers games there. As far as Super Bowls go, the Rams’ only one during their first stint in Southern California came after the 1979 season in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first actual L.A. Super Bowl title came last February, of course. That seems like a long time ago now to Rams faithful.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)