While the NFL may only exist in 32 cities, the NFL fan base spans many cities across the United States and the all over the world. Some are fans of the team in their city, while others are fans of teams nowhere near them. Teams pick up and move. Some of them abandon their team names and create completely new fan bases, while some teams move and keep their original name no matter where they move. We have seen cities such as Cleveland have three different teams with the Rams, Browns(Ravens), and then the expansion Browns.
In the example of the Rams they have changed cities three times. The franchise started in Cleveland in 1936 before moving to Los Angeles in 1946. The team played in Los Angeles for 49 years before moving to St. Louis in 1995. This is where things get tricky, after spending 21 years in St. Louis the team decided to move back to Los Angeles.
While many in Los Angeles rejoiced at their team coming home, others felt alone and deserted by their once beloved Rams. There were many feuds between the two fan bases over social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, over where the Rams belonged. So, I beg to ask the question, where do the Rams belong and how have the fan bases reacted to the moves?
Many in St. Louis feel as if the Rams ownership group led by Stan Kroenke lied and cheated them of a team. Meanwhile the same fans in Los Angeles, who felt like Georgia Frontiere did the same thing 21 years earlier, laughed at the St. Louis fan base and said now you know how it feels.
Both fan bases know what it is like to lose a team. Both fan bases know what it’s like to feel like they were lied to and stolen from. I was only 18 years old when the Rams moved to St. Louis and I felt like a piece of my heart was ripped out. So, I certainly feel for the fans in St. Louis. It is an awful feeling to lose the team you love.
To add to the misery of Rams fans in St. Louis was the fact that the Rams were awful during their tenure in the city,e apart from a few short years when the Rams were known as the Greatest Show on Turf. Loyal fans filled the dome in St. Louis even with the team being one of the worst in the NFL during that time period.
Bring on the 2016 season, the LA Coliseum was packed and excited to see the Rams make their triumphant return to LA. Week two against the Seattle Seahawks brought in an attendance of 91,046. The Rams started the 2016 season with a 3-1 record and a sense that maybe the team finally turned around its woes. Quickly that would prove to be wrong with a 4-12 season and the firing of longtime head coach Jeff Fisher.
Finally, there was one thing the Los Angeles and St. Louis fan bases could agree upon and celebrate. The firing of Jeff Fisher brought applause from both fan bases. This brings us to 2017, currently the Rams are sitting at 7-2 and all alone a top of the NFC West. So how does the new-found success sit with the fan base in St Louis?
I asked many fans from St. Louis how they felt about the Rams success, and you may be shocked at how they reacted. Many fans couldn’t be happier that the team is winning now that it is in Los Angeles. Some fans told me they wouldn’t care if the Rams played on the planet Mars, they would still support and be happy that they are winning. Meanwhile, other fans told me they like that the Rams are in Los Angeles now, because it gives them a great spot to visit while watching games. Obviously, there were plenty of fans that have since given up on the team. None of them were mad at the players and wished them success. Others root against the Rams purely for the fact that they dislike Kroenke and Kevin Demoff.
The one thing that I noticed amongst the most die-hard of fans though, was that no one really cared where the team played. They just wanted winning football. So, to the true fans who love a team no matter what city they reside, rejoice in the fact that the Rams are playing winning football. No matter if they are playing in Los Angeles, St. Louis, or Cleveland let’s all sit back and enjoy the ride. There is no need to bicker between cities on where the Rams belong. The Rams belong in one place only and that’s the win column.