Yesterday, more than 10,000 fans filled the stands as the Los Angeles Rams opened their 2016 training camp. There’s no doubt, as evidenced by the turnout, the LA market is clamoring for NFL football if not for the Rams specifically.
But this is a marker. The Rams haven’t had a winning season since 2003. That fact isn’t discouraging attendance in Los Angeles in 2016. It, understandably, had an overwhelming impact on attendance in St. Louis in the Rams final years in Missouri.
The question is one of longevity.
How long will the Rams draw crowds like this without accompanying wins? We’re already seeing the bar set for 2016. Many fans aren’t even worried about Jared Goff’s 2016 season as long as it sets him up for potential success down the road. Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher, he who has yet to lead the Rams to a winning season in four attempts and has just six winning seasons in his 21 as an NFL head coach, said yesterday he’s not “concerned” about any potential contract extension and is “planning on coaching here a long time.”
There’s plenty of context that easily serves as substitute material for excuses. We’ve heard it from Fisher before. And certainly, we’ll hear it again at some point. Fisher nearly dropped his famous “we’ll fix it” on Day 1, opting instead for:
I’ll go back and look at the tape. That’s our job – to find things, (saying) this guy needs to finish or this ball should have been caught and those kinds of things. But no, I think overall, with the exception of the football stuff that we’re going to do tonight and go back through the day, it’s great to get the first one under your belt.
In all seriousness, 10,000+ for training camp is an overwhelming indicator of support. I think it’s fair to ask what happens to that support in the coming years if the Rams don’t provide the results that justify that kind of support.