An interesting thing that has popped up amidst the talk of the Oakland Raiders moving to San Antonio is the requisite mention of Los Angeles.
The freshmen entering college this fall have never lived in a world where Los Angeles has had professional football. It’s weird for some people to imagine a person who has never seen an NFL team in the second-largest market in the country, but here we are.
There have been efforts to bring a number of teams to Los Angeles, yet obviously none have panned out. Plans to build Farmers Field — or whatever it’s being called this week — have stalled more than your neighbor’s 1993 Ford Festiva. The idea of an expansion team has been brought up, but we can all see how that worked out. All of this together means that there has not been pro football in Los Angeles for multiple decades.
Not counting arena football (which nobody should), the last pro team from L.A. to gain any national attention, was from the XFL.
It seems simple to just plunk a team in L.A. because it’d be a gold mine, right? Unfortunately, anyone who tries to put a team in Los Angeles could save a lot of time by just lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills — because all it would be is a waste of time and money. Any NFL team that tries to plant a flag in L.A. is destined to fail and to prove it, one needs only to walk into literally any bar from Santa Monica to San Bernardino on a Sunday in fall.
Just because the Raiders and St. Louis Rams peaced out while The Offspring was still on the radio does not mean people in L.A. don’t watch the NFL. On the contrary, they watch a ton of it.
With a conspicuous shortage of teams to pull for, Angelenos were forced to choose other teams. Some stayed loyal to the Raiders, some took up the San Diego Chargers habit since those games are just four hours south. The larger majority however, chose teams based either on where their family was before L.A., or completely at random. Anyone who knows the NFL knows how loyal the fans are.
When you have someone who has never been to the state of Massachusetts ready to start a bar fight over the New England Patriots, you know there’s no team that could replace their dedication.
The NFL has been away from Los Angeles for far too long for any team to establish anything resembling a fanbase. The only attendees at the games would be there to root for the team they picked at random. Home games would be away games. Merchandise would sit on the shelves longer than spoiled hamburger meat. The team would be an embarrassment to the city.
The lack of a viable market for a local team is Los Angeles’ fault. The moment Raiders fans followed their team north, it set an example for the rest of the city that they don’t need a team to love the NFL. It was all downhill from there, and the scramble for random team allegiances has soured the market.
Barring some sort of mass-delusion, or one heck of a charismatic mayor — L.A. is done with pro football, and it’s their own fault. If maybe they’d campaigned to bring a team there instead of giving up after a day and choosing teams at random, there would be a franchise there already. Priorities, Los Angeles.
The only people who win in this situation is the USC Trojans.