Los Angeles’ two NFL teams will play in the same city on Sunday for the first time. So we asked locals, who will they be rooting for?
USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — The most important matchup in the NFL on Sunday isn’t on the league’s schedule.
The Los Angeles Rams vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.
The teams will be playing 12 miles apart, with the Rams taking on the Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4:25 p.m. ET and the Chargers facing the Miami Dolphins at StubHub Center in Carson at 4:05 p.m. ET. And so, the Rams and Chargers will begin in earnest a battle for the hearts, minds and disposable income in a town that has yet to prove it can support two NFL teams.
A history lesson: The last time two NFL teams played on the same day here was Dec. 24, 1994, when the Rams drew a reported “crowd’’ of 25,705 for their game against the Redskins near Disneyland in Anaheim and the Los Angeles Raiders drew 64,130 for their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum. Both teams promptly bolted town.
The Rams returned last year from St. Louis, and the Chargers, set to make their regular-season debut after 56 years in San Diego, have launched a marketing campaign called “Fight for L.A.”
“It’s not about fighting any other team in the market,” Josh Rupprecht, vice president of public relations for the Chargers, told USA TODAY Sports by email. “It’s about understanding nothing is going to be given to us by fans in the market place, and we’re going to have to earn their respect and support. We don’t just expect it. We’re going to work for it. It’s a very blue-collar approach. We’re fighting for the support of the fans.”
Has much changed in the L.A. market since it last was home to team NFL teams? There are more people (up to 9.8 million from 9.1 million), less smog (seriously) and a daunting sports landscape.
The Rams and Chargers are not only competing with each other, they are competing with two of everything — MLB teams, NBA teams, NHL teams and MLS teams (starting next year with Los Angeles FC). And, of course, the beach. A visit to Venice Beach on Wednesday provided some insight.
Kevin Eghbali said the…