Rams fans from L.A. take over San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium wanting team back

Since attending the very last Los Angeles Rams home game as a loyal fan on Christmas Eve 1994, I can count the fingers on one hand the number of NFL games I’ve attended as a fan or media member.

As a member of the media I worked Super Bowl XXXII won by Denver over Green Bay in San Diego in January of 1998the final Broncos home game at old Mile High Stadium in Denver on “Christmas Eve, Eve” 2000– the Broncos first home game at the new Mile High Stadium September 10th 2011and, as a fan along with my wife, attended the San Diego Chargers final pre-season game of 2009.

20141123_130008
From left to right, Joe Ramirez, myself and Aron Gonzalez ready to welcome the Rams home – back in Southern California.

The one for the thumb occurred Sunday, November 22nd as a fan, back in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium, to watch the Chargers host the St. Louis Rams. The very same Rams I grew up with and considered part of my family up until the day they announced they were leaving for the Midwest not long after that 24-21 Christmas Eve ’94 loss to the Washington Redskins at Anaheim Stadium.

The first Rams game I attended in person in 19 years, 11 months.

When I was a kid in the 70s my Father, Henri, designed clothes for then-L.A. Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom, general manager Don Klosterman, head coach Chuck Knox and some players. They were around my Dad’s store in Beverly Hills all the time so that made them my family. And when they were there, so was I.

The Rams are the leaders among three teams with stadium issues in their current homes favored to relocate back to Los Angeles as soon as next season. The other two are the Oakland Raiders and, ironically, the Chargers.

20141123_132014
A capacity crowd at the “Q” in San Diego of 66,000+ with at least 40% of it being L.A. fans of the St. Louis Rams.

Led by the Southern California Rams Booster Club  – the largest Rams booster club in the world – and the Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams movement, other Rams booster clubs from up and down California as well as Arizona and Seattle, Washington – that’s right, Seattle – organized and planned for a Los Angeles Rams takeover of the “Q” as soon as the schedule came out last year.

Takeover the “Q” they – WE – did.

RAMS AT Q 3 (720x737) (720x737)
Members of the Southern California Rams Booster Club – the largest Rams booster club in the world – enjoy some tailgating prior to kickoff.

It was an opportunity for L.A. Rams fans to relive some memories. Let’s not forget the Rams called Southern California home – playing at the Coliseum then the Big A – for 49 years prior to the move east.

It was also an opportunity to show Rams owner Stan Kroenke he has an L.A. fan base ready to support the team should he relocate them back to L.A.

Needless to say, the L.A. fans took full advantage of that opportunity.

According to the San Diego Chargers they sold some 20,000 tickets to Los Angeles Rams fans. Add those tickets bought through independent ticket agencies like Stub Hub – which is where I purchased my ticket – upwards of 35% to 40% of the 66,000+ football fans in the stadium for Sunday’s game were Los Angeles fans of the St. Louis Rams.

About an hour prior to kickoff Kroenke and Chargers owner Dean Spanos were having a conversation near the Rams bench. Rams fans from L.A. began chanting “Bring them home, Stan!” and “L.A. Rams!” He heard every chant.

Sitting in my seat right behind the west end zone I was stunned to see so much old school regal blue and sun gold jerseys, hats t-shirts and anything Rams from the L.A. days around that stadium. So were the Chargers fans.

RAMS AT THE Q 5
Rams owner Stan Kroenke (rt) sharing pleasantries with Chargers owner Dean Spanos before kickoff.

Chants of “Go Chargers, Go!” were met with as many “Defense, Defense!” and “L.A. Rams! L.A. Rams!” chants.

L.A. fans of the Rams took over the sections behind the Rams bench from end zone to end zone. Directly behind the bench banners with single letters spelled out:

L-O-S-A-N-G-E-L-E-S-R-A-M-S

RAMS AT THE Q
Fox TV cameras showing fans behind the Rams bench telling the world where they want their team.

All this was not missed by those players who played to the crowd throughout the game as well as the Fox television cameras and commentators. It was a playoff atmosphere.

Similar looking to the Big A, being at the “Q” reminded me of those Sunday afternoons spent at Anaheim Stadium watching the Rams “back in the day.” Ram fans on every seating level and every deck.

When they left for St. Louis I felt betrayed and indifferent from then on when watching them play. I was told they moved because we, I, didn’t support them because of the many things to do in Southern California. A complete slap in the face to my loyalty and love for the Rams, win or lose.

RAMS FANS SAN DIEGO
Members of the So. Cal. Rams Booster Club & Rams World Order in the stands behind the Rams bench.

Well, if that were the case, if we hadn’t supported the Rams because of the many things to do around here on a Sunday afternoon it stands to reason ex-owner Daniel Reeves – who brought the Rams to L.A. from Cleveland in the mid-40s – would’ve moved the team within five years. He didn’t and the Rams were here for 49 years.

Current Rams owner Stan Kroenke saw that love and loyalty for the team on full display on Sunday. For the Ram fans from L.A. doing all the chanting at the “Q” on Sunday, the takeover was a success.

To the NFL, the St. Louis Rams and the naysayers around the country who say L.A. never supported and won’t support a team, you’re wrong.

The Rams lost the game in a heart-breaking fashion they used to do often when they called L.A. home. With a chance to win late in the game, they turned the ball over losing 27-24.

For the Los Angeles fans of the St. Louis Rams, it was a win. Their message was heard loud and clear. They got plenty of T.V. time visually and audibly. They – WE – could be rewarded with a return of the Rams as soon as next season. A perfect time for a Golden Anniversary Celebration.

Your comments are always greatly appreciated.

The NFL in London could work with a little compromise

This coming Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars will play the third and final game of this NFL season’s International Series at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The series began as an experiment in 2007 by the National Football League to gauge interest of the sport in the European marketplace.

And although the second largest media market in this country – Los Angeles – is on the verge of landing not one but possibly two NFL teams as soon as maybe next season after being without a team for 20 years, the League is still hell-bent on putting a team across the pond in London by 2022.

Commissioned by the NFL and a London marketing agency, the accounting firm DeLoitte released its findings last week from their study that said an NFL franchise based in London could generate more than $255 million for Britain annually.

In British pounds, we’re talking 165 million.

Pounds. Dollars. No matter what currency you reference, that’s a whole lot of coin the 32 team owners can’t ignore.

So, what about the fans both in the States and the British Isles?

A majority of NFL fans here don’t like the idea of putting a team in London because of travel logistics and the idea that it would be similar to out-sourcing American jobs to foreign countries.

Tom Bateman, president of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots. courtesy: Tom Bateman
Tom Bateman, director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

As for the Brits, L.A. native Tom Bateman, the director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to merry old England for a week in October of 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams take on the New England Patriots.

While there, Bateman spoke with British fans he discovered enjoy American football immensely but think the idea of putting a team in London permanently is a silly one.

I agree with the Brits. If a team is moved or an expansion team is awarded to London, would the league’s name be changed to the International Football League?

“Part of the appeal to the Brits is that each (International Series) game showcases different teams” said Bateman who added, “The NFL in the UK is a spectacle as much as it is a sport. Probably more so.”

British tailgaters at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman
British tailgaters “dressed to kilt” at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

He also discovered an NFL game represents everything the British love about America.

According to Bateman the Brits love the fact that we’re a show off nation.

Really, no sport or league shows off more than the NFL.

“It’s flashy, spectacular, the uniforms, the helmets, the cheerleaders, the endzone celebrations, the sack dances, all of that.” Said Bateman continuing, “But as a sport, to the Brits it can’t hold a candle to soccer or as they refer to it, real football.”

Also on the NFL’s agenda, sooner rather than later, is reducing the pre-season schedule from four games to two while expanding the regular season from its current 16-game schedule to 18.

An 18-game schedule is something the Players’ Union isn’t too keen on for player safety and the extra two games don’t increase the players’ salaries.

What about a little compromise for all parties involved so the 32 team owners, the players and Britain’s annual economy can capitalize on the projected $255 million the NFL stands to generate should it have a permanent presence in London.

Since the Brits enjoy seeing different teams play each International Series game and the logistics of having a permanent team call London home seem a bit difficult to iron out, let’s give the Brits what they want.

America's Game - NFL Football - celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman
America’s Game – NFL Football – celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

At the same time, let’s expand the regular season from 16 to 17 regular season games with the extra game for each team played each week at Wembley Stadium in London.

So what if it’s an odd number schedule. Only thing affected is a team finishing .500 which isn’t a huge deal in the grand playoff scheme of things.

This way, only teams with winning records would qualify for the postseason.

Make the 17th game match ups interconference games – AFC vs. NFC – with the match ups chosen with ping pong ball machines much like the ones used to choose the World Cup soccer groups or the NBA Draft Lottery and do it during Super Bowl Week for games in the upcoming regular season. Cut the pre-season to just two games.

You’ve added a game while having an entire regular season schedule – 16 weeks – in London with the Brits seeing all 32 NFL teams in different match ups each game and year.

It becomes a “pseudo Super Bowl” each week in London because the logistics time wise of having the Super Bowl in London – which has been discussed – just won’t work for NFL fans in the States who want to see the biggest game and spectacle on U.S. soil and rightfully so.

After all, it is America’s Game. Somewhere all 32 teams need to always call home.

Rams owner “Silent Stan” Kroenke finally raises his voice

Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land between the Fabulous forum and Hollywood Park. Thanx: AP
Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land between the Fabulous forum and Hollywood Park.
Thanx: AP

According to unnamed sources, St. Louis Rams owner Stanley Enos Kroenke – the native of St. Louis named after Cardinals baseball legends Stan “the Man” Musial and Enos Slaughter – has purchased 60 acres of land in Inglewood sitting between the Fabulous Forum and Hollywood Park.

Just enough land to build a top tier football stadium.

Also known as “Silent Stan” for staying out of the media spotlight and rarely speaking publicly when it comes to his business ventures and pro sports franchises, it seems “Silent Stan” opened his office window and, like the TV news anchor in the 1976 movie NETWORK,  yelled to St. Louis,

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

As I wrote in an article earlier this week, St. Louis’ sports media and fans have to be worried about the Los Angeles Rams.

The St. Louis media and football fans said L.A. wasn’t a factor going all-in on the outright lie that L.A. was a failure when it came to supporting an NFL team when in actuality L.A. supported the Rams 49 years prior to their move to the Midwest.

The St. Louis media said it was “in the know” about behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Rams and St. Louis for a new stadium.

Stan Kroenke wants a top tier stadium for his Rams. Thanx: L.A. Times
Stan Kroenke wants a top tier stadium for his Rams.
Thanx: L.A. Times

They said “Silent Stan” would build his own stadium in St. Louis.

It seems they were half right. He might build his own stadium.

In Los Angeles. Not St. Louis.

The Rams – and Raiders – move out of Los Angeles was all about stadium issues. Specifically, the lack of modern NFL ready facilities in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County areas.

If you’re still not convinced L.A. supported an NFL team, listen to ex-Los Angeles Rams stars Jack Youngblood and Bob Klein in interviews I did with each about two years ago.

Adding Hollywood Park to the shovel-ready Farmers Field site in Downtown L.A., it appears the Rams moving back to Los Angeles is seriously in play.

If St. Louis wasn’t worried about the Los Angeles Rams before, you can bet they are now.

This purchase gives Stanley Enos Kroenke amazing tourque with much leverage in his pursuit of a top tier stadium for his Rams in St. Louis or anywhere.

Ex-Rams GM John Shaw negotiated the "sweetheart lease" that moved the Rams to St Louis in 1995. Thanx: AP
Ex-Rams GM John Shaw negotiated the “sweetheart lease” that moved the Rams to St Louis in 1995.
Thanx: AP

That “sweetheart lease” negotiated by then Los Angeles Rams GM John Shaw moving the team to St. Louis for the 1995 season has stipulations in it calling for the Edward Jones Dome – formerly known as the Trans World Dome – to be in the top 25% of all NFL stadiums 10 and 20 years into the lease, or the Rams are free to go year-to-year in the Gateway City or move on to greener pastures.

Vilified by Rams fans in Los Angeles and Orange County for orchestrating the move of THEIR team to St. Louis in the mid-90s, it seems John Shaw could end up being a hero for negotiating that “sweetheart lease.”

It’s still too early to really tell what “Silent Stan” will do.

By now you know the story.

Arbiters ruled the Rams’ request for $700 million in upgrades to the EJD were approved while St. Louis’ plan for a $120 million upgrade isn’t an upgrade at all.

The Edward Jones Dome needs a $700 million face-lift St. Louis can't afford. Thanx: AP
The Edward Jones Dome needs a $700 million face-lift St. Louis can’t afford.
Thanx: AP

St. Louis can’t afford $700 million for a football stadium.

So, now we wait until the end of the upcoming season. That’s when that top-tier stipulation hits year 20 making the Rams free agents to play where they want.

What we do know is “Silent Stan’s” purchase of 60 acres of land at Hollywood Park has St. Louis hearing him loud and clear.

It seems the Los Angeles Rams 20-year road trip might be coming to an end.

Hope you’re still enjoying that “sweetheart lease,” St. Louis!

St. Louis! Admit it. You’re worried about the “L.A.” Rams.

The Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams Facebook page has 25,000+ members.
The Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams Facebook page has 25,000+ members.

Coming up on 20 seasons without a pro football team, Los Angeles has become a real threat to some other cities that have NFL teams with serious enough stadium issues that they could lose their team to the City of Angels very soon.

And they’re worried. Well. One city really is.

It’s a real enough threat now to three cities in particular – St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego – because no longer can Los Angeles be used by other cities as leverage by team owners in these cities to pony up a large ransom to build them a stadium on the tax-payers’ dime.

That’s because in every NFL city you look at – excluding St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego – they’ve all got a new stadium, are building a new stadium or are up-grading their current stadium.

The Raiders are looking to stay in Oakland wanting some sort of stadium upgrade where their current home stands now or maybe even sharing the new Levi Stadium in Santa Clara with the San Francisco 49ers. That’s all pending.

Meanwhile, the Chargers – who have been able to leave San Diego for a decade now – still want to hash out a stadium deal somewhere in San Diego – a city the NFL doesn’t want to lose. That’s all pending too.

So, that leaves St. Louis – currently home to the Rams, the team that called Los Angeles/So. Cal. home for 49 years prior to bolting for the Midwest in 1995.

There’s quite a social media struggle between Rams fans from both cities that, sometimes, gets downright ugly.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke – a Missouri native who, the St. Louis partisans like to point out, was named after St. Louis Cardinal baseball greats Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter – has been quiet either way about what’s going to happen after the 2014 season.

The end of next season is significant because Gerogia Frontiere and John Shaw, the owner and general manager respectively of the then-Los Angeles Rams who moved the team to St. Louis in 1995, negotiated a “sweetheart lease” when they moved to the Midwest that said if after 10 and then 20 years the Edward Jones Dome isn’t in the top 25% of all NFL stadiums, the Rams become a free-agent able to stay or go where they want.

“Sweetheart lease.” YES. For the Rams. Not so much for the city of St. Louis.

Back in the early 90s St. Louis had to get a team at any cost because it was believed the Gateway City would be awarded one of two expansion franchises with the other going to Charlotte.

The Dome was being built for the expansion St. Louis Stallions when a funny thing happened on the way to the Gateway to the West. The NFL awarded that franchise to Jacksonville Florida instead of St. Louis.

St. Louis was getting all dressed up with nowhere to go as the saying goes.

Until St. Louis advertising exec and Busch family member James Orthwein came to the rescue. He bought the New England Patriots from Victor Kiam in 1992 and planned to move them to St. Louis after the 1993 season to play in the Dome.

Problem is Robert Kraft stepped in. He owned old Foxboro Stadium and wouldn’t let Orthwein out of the stadium lease. So, he sold the team to Kraft. The rest there is history.

Luckily for St. Louis, Georgia and John were still looking for the best deal they could get first looking to Baltimore which was without a team since the Colts left for Indy in 1984.

Anaheim – or Los Angeles – wasn’t about to spend any tax-payer money to build or remodel stadiums (the Big A & Coliseum) each city still believed was NFL-suitable. So, the Rams bolted from Anaheim at the same time Al Davis took his Raiders out of the L.A. Coliseum and back to Oakland – the Raiders’ original home.

That’s when St. Louis stepped in and bent over backwards (desperate after the football Cardinals left seven years earlier for Phoenix after Bill Bidwell wasn’t getting, ironically, a new stadium), giving the Rams anything they wanted just so that dome they built for the Stallions and then the Patriots wouldn’t be empty.

Those red seats in the Dome now…….they were put in with the thought that the Patriots were going to be the team.

Those red seats were almost deal breakers for Georgia who wanted blue seats. Of course, St. Louis worked some sort of other compromise – added to all the others – in that “sweetheart lease” and those red seats stayed and the Rams moved in.

I happen to believe both cities should be represented by an NFL team.

If I have to choose between the two, I’ll pick Los Angeles because that’s where I’m from and I’m one of millions that’s been part of its great NFL heritage.

The late Merlin Olsen (74) and late Deacon Jones (75) are part of the Rams 49-year heritage in Los Angeles. thanx: AP
The late Merlin Olsen (74) and late Deacon Jones (75) are part of the Rams 49-year heritage in Los Angeles.
thanx: AP

A heritage lost – not because the Rams weren’t supported here because, again, they did call Los Angeles/So. Cal. home for 49 years prior to bolting for the Midwest – but because there was no new stadium or an agreement to upgrade existing stadiums in the L.A./Orange County areas.

That’s it.

Had the Rams not been supported in Los Angeles, stands to reason they would have left after year five in 1950 and not waited until year 49 in 1995.

I can’t speak about St. Louis because I’ve never been there. So, I’ll refrain from commenting about the Gateway City – good or bad – because I just don’t know much about St. Louis.

Here’s what I know about some media types and football fans in St. Louis. When they speak about Los Angeles, they have no idea what they’re talking about.

To defend their city, they make the argument that Los Angeles has failed as an NFL city because it’s had three chances to succeed but couldn’t since the Rams, Raiders and the AFL Los Angeles Chargers all left “due to the lack of fan support.”

Sorry, St. Louis. You’re wrong.

See five paragraphs above. Or better yet, click on the video-link to hear from one of the TV voices of the NFL, Al Michaels. I asked him about….well…..just listen.

So, stop using the “L.A. can’t support an NFL team” card, St. Louis. That’s not a reason. It’s an excuse. That goes for anyone, anywhere that’s used that excuse about L.A.

A downright lie.

I have no idea – nor does anyone, anywhere, in any city especially in St. Louis and Los Angeles – what Stanley Enos Kroenke will do after the 2014 season because he hasn’t said anything either way.

What I do know is Stanley Enos Kroenke – the St. Louis native – made a strong bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers two years ago and has a home in Malibu.

What does that mean? Probably as much as Stanley Enos Kroenke being named after St. Louis baseball Cardinal legends Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter.

Not much.

What speaks volumes is the NFL is staying out of it at the moment. Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t flying to St. Louis to speak to the STL government entities – like he did in Minneapolis to save the Vikings from moving out west – to save the Rams from moving out west.

And Stanley Enos Kroenke is living by the letter of the law on that “sweetheart lease” negotiated way back when by John Shaw and a desperate City of St. Louis to put a team in the Dome they originally thought would be for the Stallions.

Seems it’s a 50-50 proposition.

Los Angeles has Farmers Field ready to be built by AEG as soon as a team says we want to move to L.A.

Surely. no city government anywhere in the world – let alone this country – would commit millions and millions, even billions, of dollars to build a stadium without securing a team to play in it first, right?

Well. Maybe one.

Oops. Sorry, St. Louis. Does that hit too close to home or hit you below the proverbial belt?

Los Angeles, its government and her tax-payers aren’t that stupid.

Oops. Sorry again, St. Louis.

St. Louis still has the Rams playing in the outdated EJD and with the hopes Stanley Enos Kroenke will, at the last minute, pay for a new billion dollar stadium out of his own pocket to be built in a place called Fenton or the Bottle District.

But all’s quiet on all fronts until the 2014 season has been played out per that “sweetheart lease.”

Former L.A. Rams running back Eric Dickerson (rt) and former Bears running back Gale Sayers (lt) at the Deacon Jones Memorial Service at the L.A. Coliseum last Summer.
Former L.A. Rams running back Eric Dickerson (rt) and former Bears running back Gale Sayers (lt) at the Deacon Jones Memorial Service at the L.A. Coliseum last Summer.

Some St. Louis “bloggers” also like to cite a five-year old comment by former Los Angeles Rams hall-of-fame running back Eric Dickerson saying Los Angeles doesn’t deserve a team. You’d say that too if you still felt some resentment towards Georgia and John Shaw if you had been underpaid telling your coach to run “47-gap” himself.

Of course, he’s since retracted those comments and has said many times – including on the NFL Network – Los Angeles needs to have a team.

Although he played for three other teams after being traded from the Rams in 1987, two years ago Eric told me he’s a Ram for life no matter where they call home.

Then, after discussing the Rams are one of the teams that could possibly move to Los Angeles, I asked him what that would mean to him and the rest of the ex-Los Angeles Rams players.

He said….well…….click on the video-link to hear from Eric……

So, St. Louis, stop using the “Eric Dickerson doesn’t think L.A. deserves a team” card. It simply isn’t a reason. It simply isn’t true.

As I said earlier, I think both cities should be home to NFL teams.

No one cared about St. Louis when the Cardinals left. No one cared about Los Angeles when the Rams and Raiders left at the same time.

No one’s going to care either way – except for those in St. Louis and Los Angeles – when something’s done with the Rams once that “sweetheart lease” runs its course after 2014.

But those “bloggers/writers/journalists” from St. Louis at some point have to admit there’s a possibility the Rams could leave for Los Angeles after 2014 just like I admit that Stanley Enos Kroenke could pull a billion-dollar rabbit out of his hat with help from the NFL’s G-4 LOAN –which is a loan to be repaid by somebody (tax-payers) – to build a stadium somewhere in Fenton or the Bottle District.

Where ever those places are.

But let’s stop using the “L.A. never supported the NFL” card and the “Eric Dickerson doesn’t think L.A. deserves a team” card.

Both are simply not true. Playing those cards you look as stupid as a city committing millions and millions, even billions, of dollars to build a football stadium before securing a team to play in it.

Oops. Sorry again, St. Louis.

What is true is that St. Louis football fans and St. Louis “journalists” are very worried.

Until after the 2014 NFL season everyone!!

Enjoy the remainder of that “sweetheart lease,” St. Louis!

Ex-Rams Vermeil & Bruce “serenaded” by Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams.

Edward Jones Dome

Stadium issues for the Rams in St. Louis which could render their lease at the Edward Jones Dome null and void by 2014 which could return the franchise back to Los Angeles where it called home for 49 years prior to moving to the midwest in 1995.

Owner Stan Kroenke committing one regular season Rams home game each of the next three seasons away from the Gateway City and heading across the pond to Wembley Stadium in London beginning next season.

All that’s sweet music for some 4,000 members of the Facebook group, Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, who want their team home.

Loud Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams fans

They made their presence felt at Saturday’s inaugural AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Amongst a cozy crowd of some 1500 football fans, about 75 to 100 Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams members sat in a section directly behind the National conference bench who were led by ex-St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil.

Vermeil led the Gateway City version of the Rams to a Super Bowl title after the 1999 season with the help of wide out Isaac Bruce who was on his National conference coaching staff for the game.

Listening to non-stop chants of “L.A. Rams…L.A. Rams!” and “Bring them back!…..Bring them back!” throughout the contest, both Vermeil and Bruce, who both got their NFL roots with the Los Angeles Rams, couldn’t ignore them.

Isaac Bruce signs autographs for Bring Back the L.A. Rams

After the game, hearing their chants of “Bruuuuuuuce”, he went over to their section to greet the fans and sign some autographs.

“I played my rookie year with the Los Angeles Rams and played my junior college ball at Santa Monica College.” said Bruce. “I wouldn’t change anything in my career but I sure did miss playing in L.A. during winter when it’s 70 degrees outside.”

Bruce even asked me who the last Los Angeles Ram was to catch a touchdown pass. It happened on Christmas Eve 1994 at Anaheim Stadium. I couldn’t answer it.

Jermaine Ross.” Bruce said. I replied with, “Chris Miller probably tossed it.” Bruce said, “I think he was hurt. So it must’ve been Chris Chandler.”

We weren’t sure. I checked and guessed right. It was Miller.

As for the NFL returning to L.A., Bruce believes it’s inevitable.

“Surprising it’s been 17 years. This is a great place to play. These fans deserve a team. They’ll have a team here as soon as a new stadium’s built.”

When asked about a possible return by the Rams, it’s all speculation to him.

Vermeil signs autographs for Bring Back the L.A. Rams

“I wouldn’t know. That’s business. We have loyal fans in St. Louis. Was a lot of fun playing there especially during the ‘Greatest Show On Turf‘ years.”

Vermeil’s National Conference squad got the best of Tom Flores’ American Conference squad, 20-14.

After the game I asked the coach about those loud L.A. Rams fans in the stands.

Soon, a brand new state-of-the-art stadium will be built in the City of  Angels and at that time, we’ll all know if the Rams were brought back to it.

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