How Recently Relocated Teams Like the Rams Fare
When the Rams take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, they will be representing Los Angeles, as well as many football fans in Southern California. However, until recently, the franchise was based in St. Louis, moving to Los Angeles before the 2016 season. The Rams will make NFL history by becoming the fastest team to make the Super Bowl after relocation or expansion—ironically breaking a record they previously held when the St. Louis Rams made the Super Bowl in 2000 and 2002 (winning the former and losing the latter) after moving from Los Angeles in 1995.
The NFL featured a large boom of expansion and teams moving to new cities between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Many of these teams found success much quicker than a team would be expected to in this situation, including the Carolina Panthers, who became an expansion team in 1995 and made the Super Bowl in 2004, and the Baltimore Ravens, who moved to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996 and won the Super Bowl in just their fifth season.
Although the Rams are the fastest team to make the Super Bowl after relocating or being born of expansion, they are not the fastest to do so in all of sports. In 1996 the Florida Panthers, an expansion team in just its third season, made the Stanley Cup Final. They would go on to be swept by the Colorado Avalanche, who were in their first season in Colorado after moving from Quebec City. Playing in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the same stadium the Rams currently call home, the Los Angeles Dodgers of 1959 achieved the same feat as the Avalanche. They would win the World Series that year, their first season in California after moving from Brooklyn.
Los Angeles has long been labeled an apathetic football town, especially since they lost two teams (the Los Angeles Raiders, in addition to the Rams) in the same year. Even after the Rams moved back to Los Angeles, ending a 21-year stretch without a team in America’s most popular sports league calling the country’s second-most populated city home, they were near the bottom in NFL rankings of home attendance and their home games were often filled with fans of the visiting team. The lackluster fan support, 4-12 record in their first year back in Los Angeles and inexperience of their head coach, 33-year-old Sean McVay, who has coached just three playoff games, 38 less than the Patriots’ Bill Belichick, really puts everything into perspective about what the Rams have truly accomplished by making the Super Bowl this year.
Jeremy Schooler is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism and business. Ton contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.