Debunking the myths of the Rams

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Updated: October 21, 2017

8:00 AM ET

Thirty-five days now separate Los Angeles Rams home games. They last played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, against the division-rival Seattle Seahawks, on Oct. 8. Tickets sold for that game were announced at 60,745 — only about 4,000 shy of capacity, but a discouraging figure when considering a greater L.A. area that houses 13 million people.

After Sunday, the Rams won’t return home again until they host the Houston Texans on Nov. 12, at which point one may determine whether momentum in this market is starting to turn in their favor.

“Here’s the thing: There’s too many things to do in L.A.,” Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson said earlier this year. “Nobody cares about a team that’s not winning, and that’s just a fact. If you’re not putting something on the field that people want to see, they’re not going to be interested in it. Not in L.A.”

But the Rams are exciting under first-year head coach Sean McVay, who has breathed life into a spiritless offense and has turned the Rams (4-2) into what looks like a legitimate contender. So, what will it take for L.A. to truly rally behind this team again, the way it appeared to when the Rams first returned last year? What will it take for the Rams to carve a space in this robust market; a market that basically forgot about them while they stumbled?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, here are some myths about the Rams in L.A. that are worth expanding on.

Myth No. 1: Attendance is way down at the Coliseum

Well, it is down. Way down. A recent FiveThirtyEight story stated that the Rams are on pace for the sharpest year-to-year attendance decline in the past quarter century by a wide margin. Through the first three of seven regular-season home games — they’re losing one to London — the Rams are averaging 59,162 fans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. That’s 25,295 fewer than last year’s NFL-leading total of 84,457.

But there are a few things one must keep in mind.

First: No matter what, the Rams weren’t going to draw more than about 65,000 fans to their games. They capped their capacity there at least in part because it became a logistical nightmare to host a pro football game at a 94-year-old facility, with water not readily available and fans having a hard time accessing restrooms. Also, interest was never going to match what it was in 2016, the end of a 22-year run without an NFL team in the nation’s second-largest media market.

Still, Rams vice president of ticket sales and premium seating admitted during the summer that the season-ticket renewals were even “lower than we anticipated.”

“And I think a lot of that is more indicative of just Year 1 and just the extraordinary response we had last year,” Bye said. “You can’t fully understand that until you have something to compare that against. And seeing the normalization of the number of seats people purchase and the average seats per season-ticket member, I think that is certainly something that, though we anticipated that to some degree, I think was more prevalent than we would’ve thought.”

Myth No. 2: The Rams don’t know how to match

The Rams became the subject of ridicule when it came time to wear their blue jerseys on the road against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. They’re the same blue-and-gold shirts they wore in St. Louis, but they look hideous when paired with the blue-and-white helmets and pants that are new this season. Why on earth would the Rams assemble a uniform combination that clashes so badly? In short, because the NFL made them.

Teams can’t change their jerseys until they go through an entire uniform redesign. Why didn’t the Rams just change their uniforms now? Because it’s at least a two-year process, and, according to the team, they couldn’t start that process until the relocation. They’re currently working with Nike to unveil new uniforms for the 2019 or 2020 season, the latter being the year they move into the new stadium in Inglewood, California.

In the meantime, the Rams wanted to get rid of the gold from their logo and anywhere else they could. It looks fine — passable, at least — when the Rams wear white at home, but is way off when they are forced to wear their blue jerseys on the road. Have no fear: The Rams aren’t expected to wear their blue tops any more during the regular season because none of their remaining road opponents will be wearing white jerseys.

The Rams are 2-0 in their blue tops, and Todd Gurley was recently asked if that meant they should just keep wearing them.

His response: “No!”

Myth No. 3: There are no die-hard Rams fans in L.A.

The Rams have real, honest-to-goodness history in Los Angeles. They were there from 1946 to 1994. They played out of Orange County, just south of L.A., in the final 14 years of their previous stint on the West coast. But they returned with real roots in this market. The organization made a Super Bowl trip and 20 other playoff appearances out here, while Hall of Famers like Dickerson, Jack Youngblood, Deacon Jones, Jackie Slater, Merlin Olsen, Norm Van Brocklin and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch made their mark in Southern California.

an entire segment of Los Angeles that grew up rooting for the Rams and was thus crushed when they left. Some burned jerseys, others begrudgingly followed along while their team played in St. Louis. And more than 70,000 of them helped make up a Facebook group entitled “Bring Back The Los Angeles Rams,” until they actually came back.

“Many people think there aren’t fans of the Rams here in L.A. or in California, but there are a lot of fans,” said Joe Ramirez, a lifelong Rams fan who is a part of the So Cal Rams Booster Club. “If there weren’t fans here in L.A., I assure you that the Rams wouldn’t have come back here.”

Now they just need more of them to start showing up.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/los-angeles-rams/post/_/id/35936/debunking-the-myths-of-the-rams-in-los-angeles