We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #4: the return of the Los Angeles Rams.
After years of discussion, the NFL finally made its move back to Los Angeles in 2016, and the club it sent was one very familiar to the locale. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke made a major push to return his franchise to Los Angeles, and his efforts were rewarded in January, when the NFL confirmed that the Rams would become the Los Angeles Rams.
Prior to their move to St. Louis, the Rams had a long history in Los Angeles, playing in the city from 1946-1994. While their first stint in Los Angeles ended with the Rams playing at Anaheim Stadium, there was plenty of nostalgia when it was confirmed that the Rams would spend this season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, their home from 1946-1979.
On the field, 2016 has been struggle for the Rams. The team’s sub-par results over their final years in Los Angeles have followed them to St. Louis, as their 4-11 record is good for third in the four-team NFC West. Head coach Jeff Fisher was dismissed before the season’s conclusion, and the team is left to turn itself around in the future.
Be that as it may, there were signs of a fairly exciting future for the Rams in 2016. Perhaps the biggest source of encouragement was on the stadium front, as ground was broken on the team’s new facility in Inglewood. Kroenke vision for the stadium as part of a larger, NFL-centric development caught plenty of attention around the league. In fact, the stadium is already slated to host the Super Bowl in 2021 and could add a second tenant if the San Diego Chargers exercise their option to move to the facility.
The new stadium, however, is not expected to open until 2019, meaning that the Rams will spend at least the next two seasons at the Coliseum. The team’s look and performance could change over that period, leaving little connection between the Rams of 2016 and the Rams of 2019. Many are hoping that the on-field results will improve, but 2016 still brought plenty of milestones for the NFL in Los Angeles.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:
#5: Turner Field
#6: College Football Stadium Renovations
#7: Washington Redskins Search for Stadium Site
#8: Colorado State Preps for New Stadium
#10: Buffalo Bills’ Stadium Debate