On Christmas Eve in 1994, the Los Angeles Rams lost to Washington, 21-24.
It was the final game of the Los Angeles Rams. Four months later, the Rams would gain approval of the owners to move the franchise to St. Louis which they promptly did for the 1995 season.
Now, 22 years later, the Rams have returned to LA. Having lost out on a generation of fans in Los Angeles who didn't have a team to call their own, the Rams are hoping to quickly bring them back into the fold and re-establish a home fan base. That effort begins in earnest tonight with the Rams on the road to face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.
This game marks the fifth season with Head Coach Jeff Fisher in charge. His Fisherball approach has made the Rams an opponent most teams dislike facing. Fisherball offers a very physical brand of football. Penalties are a mainstay. Offense has been hard to come by. But this year's version comes down to two things: an inability to win and a #1 overall pick from the most recent NFL Draft not playing.
While the Rams go into 2016 having not put up a winning season since 2003 with Jared Goff not even factoring into the lineup, the question is where they will be on both fronts 16 weeks from now. More importantly, how will Los Angeles adjust to the concurrence of the return of NFL football to LA and the results on those two fronts?
Obviously, if the Rams are able to put together a winning season, their new (old) home market will likely be more than happy to support Fisher's patience on developing his new QB. If not, how will LA react?
Tonight's the first step toward those overriding factors dominating the 2016 season. The 49ers will offer the first test for the 2016 Los Angeles Rams.
Football is back in LA. Now it's time to see how long the honeymoon lasts...