A Team Without A City

First place team, in No. 2 market in America
First place team, in the No. 2 market in America

“I’m having difficulty staying a fan this year,” said Steeler Guy at Thanksgiving Dinner. “I can’t get past the CTE.   It’s a gladiator sport.  These guys are going to be putting guns in their mouths in 20 years time.”

He admitted it didn’t stop him from walking up to Hollywood Blvd at 10 am last week to catch the early game at a bar. He too, had tremendous difficulty finding a bar willing to put the volume on, even when there were less than a dozen customers in the room.  He ended up at Hooters, of all places, where the Pittsburgh fans had taken over.

We agreed we were fortunate not to have sons to agonize over come time for the AYSO/Pop Warner family discussion.  Our imaginary parenting could be flawless while we watched someone else’s son go helmet to chest plate at top speed.

2020 is foresight wishful thinking

The mockups for the new Rams stadium in Inglewood depict three tiers of luxury boxes and every seat filled to capacity in 2020.  We’re not moving in that direction.   At $2.6 billion, it will be the most expensive sports stadium ever constructed. Personal Seat Licenses will range from $175,000-$225,000 for club seats.  That’s what you pay Stan Kroenke, billionaire, to obtain the rights to pay him another $350-400 per ticket to see the game live.


Here was the tailgate scene before the Texans game.  Based on this tableau, I would say the median Rams fan is 45 years old, drinks beer, and works in the construction trade.   Hard to see six figure PSL’s coming out of anyone’s wallet here.   Somewhere in Los Angeles, the thinking goes, lurk 70,000 rich people who aren’t going to the games now when the Rams are both a prodigal returned and winning, but will nevertheless appear deus ex machina in three years time, checkbooks open.  Rich people in LA will not allow their kids to play football.  What makes anyone think they’ll pay a fortune to subsidize a game of which they disapprove?

The people who will keep the game alive in LA are the three guys from Arizona we ran into at Dick’s Sporting Goods who drove all night from Phoenix just to see them once.  And oddballs in the Valley who are determined to have a slice of sports fan ecstasy and civic harmony after 20 years of no team.

To quote RB Todd Gurley:  “Please come to our games”.

5 thoughts on “A Team Without A City”

  1. It seems like the NFL earth has shaken in the last 2 years. Popular long term teams move hundreds of miles for no reason, except greedy owners and stupid politicians.
    Brand new stadiums in suburban sprawl 30 miles from the teams “named” city. Players hell bent on making politics on company time.

    I was never more than a casual fan, but I can get casual-er.

    1. I’ve avoided the anthem protest topic, in the hopes it would go away. It may prove far more lethal than CTE

  2. And add to it Trump’s “War on the NFL”. Last year I thought it so funny to say that MLB could have “bought Trump off” by letting him buy the NY Yankees and be the “new Steinbrenner” instead of being President. I couldn’t believe we’d have a “President Steinbrenner” or that he’d ruin what he claimed to love.

    Madness. We can’t even hide in the sports pages.

  3. My son desperately wants to play football. He’s been a standout in his flag football league and would probably do similarly well in what they call “tackle football” now among the suburbs.

    I’m not sure what to do. His uncle shattered an arm and severely damaged a career in music during his senior year as a state champion wide receiver. It’s obvious that both he and I have CTE — him from football, me from the “action sports”. Part of me wants to wrap the kid up in a bubble and have him play chess. The other part knows that he’ll just end up looking for his thrills somewhere I can’t see him.

    As far as the NFL — fuck them, sideways. Based on the NFL players I’ve met and known, you would be a fool to waste a moment of your life rooting for them. They have utter and complete contempt for the fans, whom they view as closeted gays. This is particularly true in the Big Ten colleges.

    1. Jack- I’m the wrong guy to ask about the son/danger dynamic. I’m pro-free range parenting including all the thrill-seeking things I loved: trestle-jumping, rappelling, free-climbing, surfing. As a childless man, I can afford to be profligate with the developing tissue of others.
      My point with the Steeler Fan was high school football was fine. Unless your son is one in a hundred, he’s unlikely to play any kind of college ball. Unless he’s one in ten thousand, he’s no threat to be invited to an NFL training camp and experience heavy g-force contact.
      Steeler Fan thought I was crazy. It’s not the NFL hits that do the lasting damage, he thinks, it’s the Chinese water torture of countless taps on the head, even little ones, extrapolated over years of scrimmages and practices beginning with Pop Warner, which cause CTE.
      No one knows for sure. How’s that for useless counsel?

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