For close to half a century, the Rams were Southern California’s pro football team. Whether in Los Angeles or Anaheim, this was the team that belonged to the region. But then (and yes nothing was ever proven, but I know I am right) Georgia Frontiere murdered her husband Carroll Rosenbloom and took controlling interest in the team.
What happened next was constant mismanagement of players, poor draft picks and even worse trades (they traded Jerome Bettis to the Steelers so Lawrence Phillips could be the lead runner), that caused fans to lose interest.
When the stadium was finally empty due to nobody giving a damn, Frontiere was able to move the team from So-Cal to her home city of St Louis. Although several owners opposed the move at the time, and even cited the fact that Frontiere mismanaged the team on purpose (just watch the movie Major League and you’ll get what I’m saying), she threatened to sue the NFL itself, so Commissioner Paul Tagliabue acquiesced and the St Louis Rams were born.
Why is all that history significant? Well fast forward to 2015, Frontiere has passed and Stan Kroenke is now the owner of the Rams.
With talk of Los Angeles finally getting a team again, Kroenke’s Rams are one of four teams that are being talked about as coming back to Los Angeles. The Chargers, the Raiders again, and a “mystery team” (it is the Jacksonville Jaguars, I go on record here saying it) are all vying to land in the country’s second biggest market. The possibility looms large that two teams will make their way to Los Angeles, and Kroenke wants to be in the middle of it.
So much so, that he has his team practicing with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California, which is a little city just up the coast from LA. But the bigger deal here is that the Rams are paired with the Cowboys.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who holds a lot of weight with the owners, is a big fan of Kroenke’s and is fully behind him bringing the Rams home. Jones even went on record saying:
“Since I was born in Inglewood, since I’m a favorite son of El Segundo — and if you go down through there you can probably find 15 or 20 relatives of some distance back — so I’ve got a lot of background in California. I’m a real fan of Stan Kroenke. I’m really a fan of Los Angeles and having the NFL have a major posture relative to the sports scene in Los Angeles.”
It may be just short of an endorsement for Kroenke, but it does show the kind of faith Jones has in him. Being the good business man he is, Jones knows that the Los Angeles market has to have one, if not two teams. Kroenke of course shows his business acumen by making sure that he is paling around with Jerry too.
There are other LA ties for the Rams, not that they matter in the grand scheme of things. Their head coach Jeff Fisher won a National Championship at USC back in 1978, they were the first Los Angeles team to make it to the Super Bowl (losing to the Steelers in 31-19 in 1980) and the way they left the city back in 1994 left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Add that to the fact that of all the owners vying to land a spot in Los Angeles, Kroenke has already purchased 60 acres of land across from where the Fabulous Forum is in Inglewood, CA and has already plans approved for a 80,000-seat stadium on the land where the famed racetrack Hollywood Park used to sit.
So what does all this mean? It means the NFL is dead serious on having a team (or two) in Los Angeles. When all the dust settles I think you will see the Raiders in San Antonio, the Chargers in San Diego and the Rams and Jaguars in Los Angeles.
You better believe training in Oxnard with the Cowboys will go a long way into making it happen the way Kroenke and the Rams want it to.