Nostalgia rules as Rams make winning return to Los Angeles
Send a link to a friend
[September 19, 2016]
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nostalgia was
the dominant feeling for excited Rams fans on Sunday as they watched
their team play its first National Football League game at the
iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 37 years.
Win or lose against the visiting Seattle Seahawks, it hardly
mattered for the Rams faithful on a gorgeous afternoon of
unrelenting sunshine with temperatures peaking at 88 degrees
Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius).
The fact that Los Angeles, relying on superb defense, ground out a
stunning 9-3 victory over the Super Bowl champions of two seasons
ago in front of a crowd of just over 90,000 came as a welcome bonus
in their opening home game of the season.
Much more important for their fans was the sight of the Rams
players, wearing 'throwback' royal blue and yellow uniforms, on
their return to the City of Angels.
The Rams had not played a regular season game at the cavernous
Coliseum since 1979, with the franchise moving to nearby Anaheim
later that year before heading further afield after the 1994 season,
to St. Louis, for the next two decades.
Now they are back in Los Angeles where they will play at the fabled
Coliseum until construction of the nearby Inglewood Stadium is
completed and the venue is opened for the 2019 season.
Rick Gonzalez, an engineer for California-based health insurer
Kaiser Permanente, became a Rams fan in 1977 as a high school
student and stayed loyal to the team throughout their lengthy
absence from Los Angeles.
"I was kind of upset when they went to St Louis but I have always
supported them all the way," Gonzalez told Reuters after watching
the Rams rebound from a humbling 28-0 shutout by the San Francisco
49ers in their season opener.
"I'm so glad they are now back here in LA. This feels so good, so
good. For us Rams fans, it's very exciting."
Asked whether he was at all concerned that the Rams would struggle
in Los Angeles after posting nine straight losing seasons in St.
Louis, Gonzalez replied: "I don't care. I just love it all, win or
Los Angeles-based journalist Kevin Modesti, who became an
enthusiastic Rams fan in the 1970s, said he had experienced strong
feelings of nostalgia since the team's return to California.
"When I think of the Rams, I still think of those teams from the
1970s and how big they were then," Modesti, an editorial writer for
the Los Angeles Daily News, told Reuters.
[to top of second column]
Los Angeles Rams flags are waved on the field after a score in the
second half of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Los
Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Rams won 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne
Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
"NFL was big back then but I'm not sure it was recognized as the
number one American sport the way it is now.
"So it wouldn't have been automatic to say that in the 1960s and the
1970s the LA Rams would have been the biggest thing in the town, but
I have to say they kind of were."
The Rams are not expected to set the league alight with the quality
of their play, having posted just four winning campaigns during
their 21 years in St. Louis and a cumulative 64-127-1 record but
Modesti is happy, for the moment, to look back.
"With sport, we love our team because of things that happened years
and years ago," he said. "I guess that is one reason I'm not
disappointed that they may not be great now because I am still happy
to reminisce about the old days.
"But once they become a championship contender here in the 2010s,
then we will have moved on from the old days."
Based on Sunday's performance against the Seahawks, the Rams may
well spring a few more surprises for their fans on the field.
Despite a misfiring offense, the Rams beat Seattle for a third
straight time thanks to three Greg Zuerlein field goals and
brilliant defense, especially in the final quarter when their
opponents pressed hard.
Seahawks running back Christine Michael fumbled after taking a pass
from quarterback Russell Wilson and Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree
recovered with just under a minute left to seal the win amid
thunderous roars from the crowd.
(Editing by Larry Fine)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.