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The Rams, after moving to suburban Anaheim, California in 1980, were joined in the Los Angeles metropolitan area by the Los Angeles Raiders when that team moved into the Coliseum in 1982. A combination of a split fan base and earthquake damage to the Coliseum prompted both teams to leave Los Angeles simultaneously prior to the 1995 season: the Raiders returned to their original home of Oakland, California, while the Rams began a 21-year tenure in St. Louis, Missouri, leaving a twenty-year period where Los Angeles was the largest media market in the country without an NFL team. This period in which Los Angeles lacked an NFL team was brought on in part by the obsolescence of Los Angeles's existing stadiums, the unwillingness of the league to add any expansion teams after 2002 (when the Houston Texans were founded as the 32nd team) or relocate any other teams, and any inability to agree on a plan to build a new stadium: there were several proposals that received full regulatory approval but never landed a team willing to relocate under the developers' terms. In the early 1990s, Rams owner Georgia Frontiere began to shop around for a new home for her team, which was falling behind other NFL teams in luxury-box and other non-shared revenue. By the end of the 1994 season, talks had begun with St. Louis and Baltimore, two cities that had lost their original NFL franchises (the Cardinals and Colts, respectively), and had both been unsuccessful in efforts to obtain an expansion franchise the previous year; meanwhile, she was hoping that Anaheim and/or Orange County would also make an attractive offer. Anaheim, going through a recession, could not agree on a tax package to pay for the improvements that Frontiere insisted on, so they dropped out of the bidding. Rams fans, bothered by Frontiere talking to other cities about moving the franchise, voiced their anger by asking for her to sell the team, booing her and starting derogatory chants at games directed at her.
Attendance began dwindling, due to frustration by the fans over ownership and the performance by the team on the field. Eventually, St. Louis gave Frontiere the offer she wanted, a brand-new $280 million domed stadium called the Trans World Dome (now known as the Dome at America's Center) with a long-term lease and over 100 luxury boxes. The move was announced in February 1995 and approved by NFL owners that April. The Rams played their last game in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve in 1994, losing 24–21 to the Washington Redskins in front of only 25,750 fans in attendance at Anaheim Stadium. During the 2009 offseason, following Frontiere's death, it was announced the Rams were for sale. It was considered possible that the next owner of the Rams could potentially move the team back to Los Angeles. The stadium "top tier" negotiations failed to produce a solution to keep the Rams in St. Louis for the long term. On December 17, 2015, the Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–23 in their final home game in St. Louis; their last game as the St. Louis Rams came two weeks later on the road against the San Francisco 49ers before moving back to Los Angeles for the 2016 season. Fans in St. Louis claimed Kroenke, a Missouri native, as well as Kevin Demoff, lied to the fans about their wishes to keep the Rams in St. Louis. In his final years, Kroenke was referred to "Silent Stan" as he refused to speak about the team and the potential move. In a last-ditch effort, St. Louis came up with a viable stadium plan to keep the team, but the NFL and the Rams' position was that the Rams followed the agreed-upon remediation process laid out in the Edward Jones Dome lease, and that St. Louis' hastily put together plan shifted too much of the stadium cost to the Rams franchise. Ultimately, the other NFL teams' owners voted to allow the Rams to move to Los Angeles. Professional American football, especially its established top level, the National Football League, has had a long history in Los Angeles, the center of the second-largest media market in the United States. Since 1995, Los Angeles has been by far the largest U.S. market without an NFL team. It is currently more than double the size of any other North American market to get serious consideration for a team, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is in turn more than double the size of any other non-NFL market. The NFL and other professional leagues have had multiple teams in Los Angeles between 1946 and 1994, all of which originally played home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The nearest team for the area is the Chargers which are located in San Diego. (Source: americanfootball.fandom.com)
The Rams were the first team in the NFL to play in Los Angeles (the 1926 Los Angeles Buccaneers represented L.A. but were strictly a traveling team), but they were not the only professional football team to play its home games in the Coliseum between 1946 and 1949. The upstart All-America Football Conference had the Los Angeles Dons compete there as well. Reeves was taking a gamble that Los Angeles was ready for its own professional football team—and suddenly there were two in the City of Angels. Reeves was proven to be correct when the Rams played their first pre-season game against the Washington Redskins in front of a crowd of 95,000 fans. The team finished their first season in L.A. with a 6–4–1 record, second place behind the Chicago Bears. At the end of the season Walsh was fired as head coach. The Coliseum was home for the Rams for more than 30 years, but the facility was already over 20 years old on the day of the first kickoff. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Rams went from being the only major professional sports franchise in Southern California and Los Angeles to being one of five. The Los Angeles Dodgers moved from Brooklyn in 1958, the Los Angeles Chargers of the upstart AFL was established in 1960, the Los Angeles Lakers moved from Minneapolis in 1960, and the Los Angeles Angels were awarded to Gene Autry in 1961. In spite of this, the Rams continued to thrive in Southern California. In the first two years after the Dodgers moved to California, the Rams drew an average of 83,681 in 1958 and 74,069 in 1959. The Rams were so popular in Los Angeles that the upstart Chargers chose to move to San Diego rather than attempt to compete with the immensely popular Rams. The Los Angeles Times put the Chargers plight as such: "Hilton [the Chargers owner at the time] quickly realized that taking on the Rams in L.A. was like beating his head against the wall."
Professional American football, especially its established top level, the National Football League, has had a long history in Los Angeles, the center of the second-largest media market in the United States. Since 1995, Los Angeles has been by far the largest U.S. market without an NFL team. It is currently more than double the size of any other North American market to get serious consideration for a team, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is in turn more than double the size of any other non-NFL market. The NFL and other professional leagues have had multiple teams in Los Angeles between 1946 and 1994, all of which originally played home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The nearest team for the area is the Chargers which are located in San Diego. However, the difficulty of transcontinental travel in the era before modern air travel must have also been a factor in the decision to base the team in the Midwest. The upstart American Football League also featured a similar Midwest-based road team of West Coast players, the Los Angeles Wildcats. Both Los Angeles teams performed respectably on the field but folded after the 1926 season. Ironically, the Wildcats' last game was an exhibition in San Francisco against the Buccaneers in January 1927. (Source: americanfootball.fandom.com)