So long, St. Louis! If you haven’t heard, the Rams football franchise has returned to Los Angeles after a 21-year absence. That means there’s a generation of young Angelenos who have no idea what it’s like having a pro football team and probably some older folks might be out of practice. Below is a primer to get you ready for the triumphant return of the Rams.
The Rams have one of the most interesting histories in the NFL, but a lot of it is long since forgotten. Here’s a quick history, just touching on a few major highlights.
The Rams were born in Ohio in 1936, and after a pretty good showing, decided to move to Los Angeles in 1946 so the Cleveland Browns could move in. This move made the Rams LA’s first ever professional sports team. Segregation was going strong at this point in American history, so it’s an awesome surprise that a condition of the Ram’s lease of the LA Memorial Coliseum was that they must have at least one African American player. They agreed, recruiting Kenny Washington, formerly of UCLA fame, and added Woody Strode a few months later. Washington and Strode, along with Marion Motley and Bill Willis, both signed to the Cleveland Browns months later, were the first African Americans signed to the NFL since 1933 when the unwritten rule of segregation dominated pro football. If you want to learn more about these men, and you should, check out “Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football.”
In 1948, a Rams player named Fred Gehrke, created the first (modern) helmet emblem when he painted rams’ horns on the sides of his helmet. Another first came in 1950 when the Rams were the first team to have all of their games televised.
In 1980, the Rams moved to a new stadium in Anaheim for lots of reasons you can easily Google if you’re interested. Their fan base was raided in 1982 when the Oakland Raiders (get it?) came to LA and started playing in the Memorial Coliseum. After decades of championships, or at the very least decent playing, the Rams were firmly in a slump just as every other pro team in the city was winning championships, so all this combined to hurt their popularity. When taxpayers refused to finance a new stadium, the owner, Georgia Frontiere, decided to move the Rams to St. Louis, fearing they would go bankrupt otherwise.
But now, the Los Angeles Rams are back, baby!
The Rams will once again be playing at the LA Memorial Coliseum, their home from 1946 to 1979. The historic structure has seen a lot of sports. It was originally built in 1921 as a memorial to the Los Angeles veterans of World War I and was further expanded to a whopping 101,574 seats in order to host the 1932 Olympics. It saw another Olympics in 1984 and even hosted the Dodgers baseball team for a few seasons from 1958 to 1961. The USC Trojans also play there; the school currently has a 98-year lease on it. So, basically, see the Rams play at the Memorial Coliseum before they move because it’s an incredibly cool stadium full of history. But you only have until the 2019 season…
Because then the Rams will move to their brand-spanking-new, privately funded stadium in Inglewood. The structure, likened to a Disney World for the NFL, is estimated to cost upwards of $3 billion, making it the world’s priciest stadium–this is LA after all. But this won’t just be some 80,000-odd seats and a field. Designed by HKS, it will include shops, offices, 25 acres of parks, and even a 300-room hotel. A 19-acre transparent roof will cover the field– that’s right, they’re measuring the roof in acres– it’s that huge. The stadium will also be used for various other things throughout the year, like concerts and other sporting events. It might even also be home to the San Diego Chargers or the Oakland Raiders. Only time will tell…
Until 2006, the Los Angeles Rams held the all-time NFL attendance record. In their 1958 season, they, not once, but twice, had 100,000 fans in attendance. Let’s see if they can’t set another record.
To help do this, you’ll obviously need a ticket. Assuming you’re not a season ticket holder, there are a couple of ways to snag tickets. You can go through the official LA Rams site, which will link you through to Ticketmaster.
The NFL Ticket Exchange is the official ticket reseller option. Here, you can buy tickets with the confidence that Ticketmaster has verified the ticket is real, it’s actually for the seat you’re buying, and the ticket(s) will be transferred to your name in plenty of time for the game. The prices, however, can often inflate rapidly, and you do run the risk of fees. Many times the number of tickets available will be set by the seller and you can’t modify it, so buying a solo ticket or larger numbers isn’t possible.
Other reseller options are Stubhub and SeatGeek, which scours all the other sites to help you determine how good a deal you’re getting. TickPick is great because buyers have zero fees and you have the option to buy the ticket outright at its listed price, or you can bid on it.
Parking in Los Angeles is usually limited, but it’s severely limited around the LA Memorial Coliseum. A number of lots in the area will open on game day, but parking at Expo Park and on University of Southern California’s campus is restricted to season ticket holders. Be very aware of street parking: read then reread the parking signs, then confer with your friends to decode the sign, then reread it again to be sure you decoded it correctly. Parking enforcement will be strict and swift on game days.
Ultimately, your best options are either to take a taxi/Uber/Lyft or use public transportation. It might sound like a myth, but LA does actually have a fairly good metro system and they will increase the number of buses in service on game days. It’s a cheap, efficient option, costing no more than $7 at most for the day pass. It’ll also help you bypass the insane traffic.
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about navigating the Expo Line and AmTrak to get to the game. It’s full of helpful maps and infographics! A less visually exciting, but still useful page of game day Metro information can be found here.
Just a few rules to abide by when tailgating at LA Memorial Coliseum, but they’re all common sense. You can only use your designated parking spot– no taking up even a part of the others around your car. This is LA after all and you could probably pay for groceries using parking spots. You also can’t block the flow of traffic, pedestrians, or toilets. No trailers, box trucks, or grill in-tow, otherwise, feel free to bring your favorite tailgatin’ wheels. Canopies can be used in your designated spot, but must be smaller than 10’ x 10’.
Get ready to grill, but absolutely no open flames. You can use a charcoal or gas grill but it must have a cover and it must be up off the ground. You need to safely dispose of your used charcoal before the game in the containers marked for it. Also, be sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand if you’re grilling or using a generator.
The powers that be at Memorial Coliseum want you to restrict “excessive” or “amplified” noise, and the examples they give of these prohibited noise-making activities include DJs and live bands. So, unless you’re a jerk who brings his own personal DJ to a tailgate (only in Los Angeles do you have to warn against this), you’re probably fine.
No glass bottles, so bust out those famous red Solo cups or the sturdy, ever-faithful LA Ram-themed Tervis cups. Alcohol is allowed, but everyone drinking should have their ID on them in case it’s asked for. You’ll be expected to clean up after yourself, because we’re all adults here, but you can leave your bagged, tied trash bags in the lot or you can put them in dumpsters.
The only places you’re not allowed to tailgate within the Coliseum’s offered parking are Lot 3 and the Visitor parking deck. Otherwise, party on. At least until after kick-off, at which point you have to finish your epic tailgate.
They have strict rules about what kind of bags you can bring into the Memorial Stadium, so honestly, if you can swing it, be bag-free. If you need to bring one, it will have to be clear.