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WELCOME HOME, LA RAMS

49 Years Here, Then St. Louis, Now They’re Back

 

January 14, 2016



By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Have you ever had a close relative or a favorite neighbor who broke your heart by moving to another city?

And then came back for a joyous reunion?

Los Angeles football fans know the feeling.

The Los Angeles Rams, formerly of the LA Coliseum and Anaheim Stadium, were granted permission to leave St. Louis and return here Tuesday by a 30-2 vote of National Football League owners.

In addition, the San Diego Chargers, who also began in Los Angeles, were given the option of coming here too but chose to wait one year before making a decision.

If the Chargers stay in San Diego a year from now the Oakland Raiders can join the Rams.

For at least two years beginning with the 2016 season the Rams will play in the Coliseum while their new stadium in Inglewood, where Hollywood Park used to be, is being built.

After years of speculation the NFL made a decision, and I’m pretty sure the Rams will be welcomed.

The nation’s second largest city has been without an NFL team for far too long. There are a lot of NFL fans in southern California. Enough to fill an 80,000-seat stadium on a regular basis.

Stan Kroenke, the Rams’ owner, purchased the land across the street from the Forum in 2013 and then resisted any counter move in St. Louis. He had his mind made up. He could afford the land purchase because his estimated worth is more than seven billion.

Kroenke is from the Midwest but he’s had a home in Malibu for 20 years.

Although I’ve built a career of writing about the NBA, I had some years early in my time at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner on the Rams beat.

I can laugh about it now but I once wrote a story quoting then-Rams coach George Allen on a sensitive matter and heard a lot about it later.

Bud Furillo, my boss at the paper, wanted Allen’s thoughts on a rule that the NFL had put in. He assigned me to ask about it.

The rule had been put in at the insistence of the Rams’ owner. If Allen didn’t like the rule he’d be

criticizing his boss.

Well, Allen didn’t like the rule which dealt with how many taxi squad members a team could have.

But after he gave me his quotes he got into trouble with the Rams’ owner.

So he had to think of something in his defense. And he did.

“You know how that Chortkoff operates, how he twists the words out of you,” he said.

Well, OK George, I thought. Glad to help you out.

Those were the days, and we’re going to have a lot more now that the Rams are back.

The NFL sure took its time but it has made a wise decision. The commissioner, Roger Goodell, spoke the right words when he said “The Rams are back in their home.”

 

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