5 Things That Everyone Forgets Always Ruins Football In L.A.
Hey L.A.! Did you hear the good news? Pro football is coming back! And by that, of course, I mean the L.A. KISS are about to start a new season!
"You wanted the best?!?!? You got this instead!!!!"
Oh, and the NFL is coming, too! After more than two decades without a franchise here, the Rams are coming back to Los Angeles. Congratulations! As the NFL's second-biggest media market, you deserve it. But before you grab your oversized foam finger and start trash-talking other football cities, you might want to examine if you really want this or not. For a plethora of reasons, professional football and Los Angeles just aren't meant for each other. For example ...
We Have Way Too Many Leisure Options Already
The 2016 season marks the return of the Rams professional football team from St. Louis to the City of Angels, where they have an almost 50-year history. Sure, that history includes only one measly, unsuccessful trip to the Super Bowl, back in '79, and then a subsequent dash straight out of South Central Los Angeles to the city of Anaheim, deep in the bowels of Orange County, but it's still a history.
So what would make a winning team run from their hometown so soon after a Super Bowl appearance? Apathy. Even with a killer season, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum rarely sold out, tripping the blackout of Rams games on local television. Everyone is remembering that rule exists, right? If the Rams don't sell out, residents of Los Angeles likely won't be able to see the games on television. That's how the NFL works. It's a rule meant to encourage people to spend way more money to watch games in the worst live sports environment possible instead of staying home on the couch like a bunch of lazy sacks. (The blackout rules were lifted temporarily for the 2015 season, but they have not been permanently removed.)
It wasn't just a problem with the Rams, either. Back in the '90s when the Raiders were also playing in Los Angeles, running back Bo Jackson (along with Nike) had to purchase the remaining 9,000 tickets to a second-round AFC playoff match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals just so the game could be televised in the local market.
Bo knows skirting NFL blackout restrictions.
Anecdote: One year I had access to eight season tickets for the Chargers at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. Amazing seats: 30 yard line, row 10 (the first row available on the field with unobstructed views). Excited to share my good fortune with others, I offered seats to any friends interested in attending. It was like pulling teeth to get anyone to go to a completely free NFL game. If I did manage to convince a group to go, most wanted to leave by halftime to do something "more fun," and this was a year San Diego actually made it to the playoffs.
Part of the problem is there is just too much to do in Los Angeles. Locals have tons of leisure options, and for the most part, it really is too nice to sit in a stadium for the first three months of the season. By the time playoff drives start and colder weather makes it more appealing to sit around watching games, if the local team isn't doing well there's no reason to start investing time in them.
For the record, the Rams are almost never doing well.
Unlike places where Sunday's game is the main event and the other option is shoveling your driveway, on a beautiful sunny day, most people in Southern California would rather be outside doing California things.
That desirable climate means Los Angeles may have the deck stacked against them when it comes to the competition aspect of the game as well. According to a recent study, cold weather cities seem to have an advantage once the weather takes a turn for the worse. Even if that tips the scale only slightly, there's a good chance it will be more than enough to turn a lot of people off, because ...
The Social Climate Is Unfavorable
Everyone loves a winner, and Los Angeles is no exception. But even stronger than a love for winners is a contempt for losers. In an industry town built on a "What have you done lately?" mentality, the scrappy train isn't something Angelenos are eager to hitch their wagons to. While other cities can bide their time and handle rooting for an underdog year after year, Los Angeles has little patience for mediocrity or, even worse, failure.
Los Angeles has a reputation for being full of schmoozers, sharpies, and aggressive networkers. In a city where you need to constantly promote yourself socially and/or business-wise, the NBA makes more sense than the NFL. You need only to look at how the respective coaches of each league dress for work to spot the obvious difference.
This is NBA coach Gregg Popovich. Notice the lack of cutoff sleeves.
A pro basketball coach is outfitted in a suit and tie and wouldn't look out of place in a boardroom or speaking at a shareholders meeting. Contrast that with the casual, logo-intense frump gear favored by most pro football coaches. These team leaders appear more ready to tackle an all-you-can-eat buffet than a business deal. This aesthetic also trickles down to the attendees. Professional basketball games start later (around 7:30 p.m. local time) and take place indoors. People arrive post-work dressed up, looking to make contacts or plans for a night out. Juxtapose that with tailgaters in their team jerseys and body paint heading to an NFL game ready to do keg stands and eat barbecue over exhaust fumes. It's basically asking the people of Los Angeles to consider living like Midwesterners for a day. Not gonna happen.
Angelenos also need a simple path to follow celebrity, and there are just too many players on a football team. In basketball everyone knows the starting lineup and at least two of those players have A-list status that rival the celebrities watching them in the stands. Unless you land a Tom Brady-level name recognition player, no one is going care about the multitude of personalities you need to keep track of on a football team.
The Time Zone Is All Wrong
The NFL recently started broadcasting games from Europe. Not every week, but there were a few last season. Now, if you're a devoted NFL fan who wants to take in as much televised football as possible and you also happened to live on the West Coast, guess what time you had to get up to see those games? The answer is an unholy 6:30 a.m. Do you know who's up at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday in Los Angeles? People who haven't been to sleep yet from the night before and almost no one else.
Granted, the time zone difference holds some advantages for people on the West Coast when it comes to watching football, but only if we're talking about watching it on television. There's the huge upside of never having to stay up past 10 p.m. on a school night to watch prime-time games. However, if you're hoping to get from work to a place where you can watch those games, you'll probably end up catching most of the game on the radio while you sit in traffic for three quarters.
Los Angeles: Come for the weather, stay because you killed yourself in traffic
and you haunt the freeway now.
Think about it. The big draw Monday and Thursday night football games start around 5:30 p.m. PT, when most people are still at work in Los Angeles. In a town notorious for monster traffic jams and a lack of public transportation, it's also the worst time for hitting the freeways. On the East Coast and in the Midwest Monday Night Football is an event that kicks off around 7:30 p.m. local time. Bars are filled with fans ready to cheer on their team. In Los Angeles, you're lucky if you make it home/to a local pub in time for the game to still be interesting.
Even worse, all of the above applies right now, when we don't have a team. All of the usual hassles residents encounter when trying to get to a football place on football night will be exponentially worse when you add thousands of fans trying to get to the stadium into the mix. Speaking of that ...
The Stadium Will Be A Nightmare, And It's Going To Cost More Than You Realize
Los Angeles does appreciate spectacle, and the "City of Champions" mega sports complex currently under construction in Inglewood promises to be a colossus, at least in terms of cost and traffic headaches. I really can't stress that traffic part enough. Los Angeles boasts one-third of the nation's 30 worst traffic bottlenecks, and many of these logjams are located around the City of Champions area, promising to compound what is already a logistical nightmare for drivers. It's worth noting that the new stadium will be located just a mile from LAX as well, so it won't just be football fans and people who live in the neighborhood who feel the impact of all that extra traffic.
It will also be tourists, which is totally fine.
Also, football stadiums are notoriously expensive for taxpayers. Fortunately, the City of Champions is being funded by Stan Kroenke, the current owner of the Rams. But before you become bowled over by his largess, you'll probably want to take a closer look. If Kroenke's name sounds familiar, it's probably because he's been in the news lately. Kroenke recently purchased the 535,000-acre W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Texas for $725 million. Larger than the city of Los Angeles, his new acquisition is also several times more costly than the bill he left for the St. Louis taxpayers. You see, Kroenke uprooting the Rams from St. Louis wasn't the only negative impact he had on the city. The taxpayers are still on the hook for stadium debt payments to the tune of $144 million.
Just because Kroenke is financing the construction in Los Angeles doesn't mean local taxpayers aren't going to have to chip in. If you check the fine print, it includes a section detailing how Inglewood will "eventually reimburse the project for the costs of roadwork, utility work, and public parks on the nearly 300-acre site."
"Are you ready for some football?!?!?!?"
Maybe things will be fine for the life of that new stadium even, but those things don't last forever, and when it comes to teams relocating, there's usually a stadium controversy behind it. When it comes time for the Rams to need a new home, don't be surprised if the people of Los Angeles are asked to pay for it. They won't, and the team will leave. Which is fine, really, because ...
Southern Californians Already Have Their Favorite Teams
In addition to hosting the Rose Bowl every New Year's Day, which just happens to be the oldest bowl game with the highest attendance of any college championship game, Southern California is already home to one of the most intense football rivalries in the country. The campuses of the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins and the University of Southern California Trojans are located just a few miles from each other, which means students and alumni are mixing it up on a year-round basis.
When you consider all sports, UCLA boasts the most NCAA Division I championships at 113 and USC is a very close third with 100 titles under their belt. If you attended either university (and most likely spent a significant amount of money getting that degree), you're much more likely to be invested in those teams than a pro team transplanted from somewhere else.
There's also no Coach Snoop in the NFL.
Los Angeles is also a city of transplants. If you are already a football fan when you get here, you are more likely to root for the team from back home. Think about it: If a die-hard Bears fan moves here from Chicago, it's going to take much more than a local fancy stadium with a fair-weather team to disrupt their loyalty. To capitalize on the fact that so many people are from somewhere else, many of the sports bars in Los Angeles have actually adopted an out-of-state NFL team so that like-minded fans can gather. Since we already have someone to root for, do we really need to add a new team to the mix?
If you query a lot of NFL fans living here now about the prospect of pro football in L.A., what you're likely to hear is a lot of people who are really excited that the team they actually follow might come to town a time or two a year. No one is planning to switch loyalties and become a Rams fan just because they moved to California at some point in their life. That's not how sports fandom works.
Check out why the Rams in L.A. spell doom for the city's advertising in 5 Terrifying Things Movies Don't Tell You About Los Angeles, and you'll be glad Las Vegas isn't getting a football franchise after you read The 5 Most Insane Teams In The History Of Sports.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see how fantasy football will control your life in How Fantasy Sports Ruin Real Sports - Cracked Responds, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!
Also follow us on Facebook, because you've always been a fan, unlike those bandwagon-hopping posers.
Did you know cats modeled their "meow" after the cries of human babies, just because they knew us humans care about that noise? Did you know dogs can read your mind (emotionally), and live in constant suspicion that you know where the good food is (you totally do)? In the next LIVE episode of the Cracked Podcast, host Jack O'Brien leads Cracked's team of pet-loving/fearing comedians through all the ways our dogs and cats are more powerful, creepy, and awesome than we ever could have imagined. Jack will be joined by Carmen Angelica, Dan O'Brien, Alex Schmidt and Jake Weisman at the UCB Sunset Theatre on Wednesday, March 9th at 7:00pm. Purchase your tickets here!