9 Sep, 2017
The battle for Los Angeles is upon us.
By Willie McGinest
And no, I’m not talking about the 2011 sci-fi movie of the same name. I’m talking about a fight for the hearts of L.A. residents between the Los Angeles Rams – the city’s prodigal-son franchise looking to improve upon a dismal four-win season, and the Los Angeles Chargers – a team looking to make a significant dent in the market in its first year in the city.
It’s an exciting time for the city. Not one, but two professional football teams will be in Los Angeles for the first time since the early 1990s when the Raiders and Rams shared the market that most of the ‘stars’ call home.
Both the Chargers and Rams have marketable young players that they hope can turn into stars of their own. Between Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles has two very talented young running backs. In his three-year career, Aaron Donald has represented the Rams three times in the Pro Bowl, compiling 28 sacks and two First-Team All-Pro nominations.
Battle for Los Angeles
But it’ll take a whole lot more than talent to make a splash in the city of Angels. We’re talking about the entertainment capital of the world. If the on-field product isn’t entertaining, people will flock elsewhere. The Lakers just added Lonzo Ball to their exciting young core. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball. In fact, if Angelenos want to watch football in their city, they don’t have to settle for the Rams or Chargers – USC and UCLA have two of the best quarterbacks in college football. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are both legitimate Heisman candidates.
So what will it take? My answer – patience and commitment. Not only do these teams have to commit to putting a winning product on the field, but they must commit themselves help out in the Los Angeles area. The Rams got a year to get a head-start on that, and they’ve done a formidable job helping out in the community. Last year, the Rams donated 40,000 various items to 67 high school football programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Chargers have some catching up to do, but their track record in San Diego suggests that they’ll be an excellent addition to the city.
In my opinion, I believe this city has what it takes to support both teams. With the two teams playing in different divisions and conferences, I don’t expect this to turn into a UCLA-USC type rivalry. It would be awesome for this to turn into an on-field rivalry, but the rivalry between these organizations will be in the battle to capture the love of a city that was deprived of professional football much too long.
As a Long Beach native, I’d like to welcome the Chargers to Los Angeles. This city is ready to see what you’ve got. Bring on the fight for L.A.!
What do you think about the battle for Los Angeles? Tweet me @WillieMcginest