Culver City Observer -

My Thoughts on LA Having Two NFL Teams

Chargers Are Joining Rams; San Diego Fans Blame Team’s Owner


January 19, 2017

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

We all have to get used to this.

After 20 years without an NFL team we now have two of them. And neither one has a recent history of making the playoffs.

Well, if you settle down and keep reading I’d like to tell you a few things about L.A.’s own Rams and Chargers.

First, I’d like to tell you that The Observer has an excellent journalist. Fred Altieri, who covers Culver City High sports and this season added Rams coverage to his duties for the paper.

I’m so pleased with his work that a few days ago I told him he could continue covering the Rams or he could switch to the Chargers. The choice is up to him.

I thought he’d consider a change since the Rams had a dismal season. But he said he enjoys working with the Rams’ players and staff. He isn’t likely to change his mind so he’ll remain on the Rams beat and we’ll hire someone for the Chargers.

My next topic is the state of mind of San Diego Charger fans. I have relatives in San Diego and they were here last Sunday for my cousin Milt’s 88th birthday celebration. Naturally, they wanted to know what I thought of the Chargers’ decision to begin playing in LA.

I reminded them that I briefly worked for a San Diego paper in 1990 and when I lived there I was very much impressed with the passion the fans had for their team.

My initial reaction to rumors the Chargers were moving here was I expect San Diego fans to become regulars for the LA Chargers starting next season. It isn’t a very long drive and they love the team.

But maybe I was wrong. I’m learning how unhappy those fans are at Chargers owner Dean Spanos for not paying for construction of a new stadium in San Diego.

He tried to get the city to pay half of it when he met with San Diego leaders every year since about 2000. As I understand it, seven different mayors were involved Finally, a hotel tax was proposed and it was voted down.

The feeling in San Diego is that Spanos is a billionaire and he should have paid the majority for a new stadium. Feeling that way, they may not drive here on Sundays to watch the LA Chargers play.

Well, about 30,000 fans are expected to attend the LA Chargers’ home games for two years in a soccer stadium in Carson.

Then the Rams and Chargers will share a new stadium in Inglewood owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. I’ve been told that stadium will be magnificent.

‘We welcome the Chargers and hope to work with them to provide NFL fans an unparaled experience at our stadium,” said Kroenke.

The Chargers have a highly regarded NFL quarterback in Phillip Rivers. That should give them an advantage initially over the Rams.

But how soon will Jared Goff, the Rams’ rookie this season, develop into a solid NFL quarterback? And how soon will new Rams coach Sean McVay upgrade the offense?

“I love San Diego. That will never go away,” said Rivers. “But I’m fired up about a new challenge in Los Angeles. And I hope some San Diego fans will come to LA and keep watching us. But you have to win.”

Rivers realizes that four or five wins a season isn’t going to thrust one LA team over the other in popularity. Right now that’s where both teams are.

Good luck to both of them. The Observer welcomes both teams and we’ll continue providing first rate coverage of USC and UCLA. Let’s not forget about them.


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