I read with much interest the story from the St. Louis Dispatch about the possibility of the St. Louis Rams leaving St. Louis after 2012 and moving to Los Angeles, the city that the team’s former owner Georgia Frontiere deserted in 1995 when her Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis. The question remains, why would the Rams want to move back to Los Angeles after pulling up stakes all those years ago?
The Rams moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles in 1946, just as the West Coast was starting to grow, prosper and yearn for professional sports teams. The Rams flourished in Los Angeles – often posting above .500 seasons. Success never equated to Super Bowl wins, however. When the aforementioned Georgia Frontiere inherited the team in the late 1970’s, she was convinced that the Rams had to leave the Los Angeles Colisseum because of the NFL’s onerous blackout rules. After 15 years down the street in Anaheim, the team moved to St. Louis – enjoying reasonable success until Kurt Warner was released.
Now, the city of St. Louis is facing a difficult time with the team. The lease at the Edward Jones Center expires in 2015 and in order for the lease to be renewed, the dome must be in the top 15 of the all football stadiums in the NFL. It’s unclear what that exactly means, although everyone seems to agree that the Dome is not in the top 15, and it would be very expensive for it to move up into the top 15. While the city was able to buy its way out of a similar situation back in 2005, by making some improvements to the stadium’s infrastructure, the amendment to the lease at that time included a mechanism for determining if the stadium is a top tier stadium. A mechanism that could terminate the lease as soon as 2012. Meanwhile, Los Angeles lurks in the background, waiting to become the home of a franchise moving out of its current home.
Ultimately, the Rams should stay in St. Louis. The team’s greatest years have come here – not in Los Angeles or Anaheim. the fans are some of the most diehard and a move would devastate this region. The team again is on the rise with star in the making quarterback Sam Bradford leading a young offense. There are other teams that need to move from their current situations that don’t have as much fan support, like Jacksonville and San Diego. For the sake of the city, I don’t want this situation turning into the next Houson Oilers.