Los Angeles has more going on than ever, and now its people have a team to root for in arguably America's favorite sports league for the first time since 1994. That's right, the LA Rams are back.
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden is welcoming back the LA Rams after their two-decade stay in St. Louis. It's the same team Haden played for his entire NFL career.
Right now, USC and the Rams are still hammering out official details to make the LA Memorial Coliseum their shared home until the Rams' own home is built in Inglewood. That is expected to happen by 2019, so it will be a crowded and busy three seasons between the Trojans and their "guests," if you will.
Many, especially USC fans, are wondering what this could do to the Trojans. Fans may worry that their beloved Trojans could be overpowered by the powerful grips of the NFL. But no fans should be worrying about that right now.
At least for the next three seasons, this is a great thing for USC football.
USC manages the Coliseum and are more than happy to lease the playing field with an NFL tenant. Whatever the price of rent is for the NFL and the Rams, it will help the university raise millions toward its stadium renovations. USC proposed a $270 million renovation back in October 2015, which would be the Coliseum's first in nearly 20 years.
The renovation will replace every seat in the stadium and add handrails throughout the stadium. The plans include new suites, loge boxes, club seats, a new concourse and a new press box. USC says it also plans to restore the Coliseum's historic Peristyle to more closely resemble the stadium's original design.
Those are just a few of the additions that would be made possible with help from a NFL tenant at the Coliseum.
Having the Rams in town for a while could also play into head coach Clay Helton's hand perfectly in terms of recruiting. There are already several amenities at and around USC that coaches can sell to recruits, whether it be Trojan history, sunny southern California or its celebrity lifestyle. Now the Rams are an even bigger selling point.For at least the next three seasons, future USC football players will share facilities with NFL players. That could play an intricate role into a student's decision to commit to USC. Most student-athletes heading to USC on a football scholarship have their eyes on one thing: the NFL. A professional football team on campus will only help student-athletes get to the same spot, if they so desire.
As for the fans, what could be bad about watching more football in sunny weather?
History suggests a peaceful and, more importantly, successful coexistence between USC football and the LA Rams. USC won five national titles and 20 Pac-12 championships while the Rams were in Los Angeles from 1946-1994.
The bottom line is there is always pressure at USC. After all the Trojans are on their third coach in seven years since Pete Carroll left the program for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. Coincidentally, that sort of trend last happened right before the Rams first came to southern California, the early 1940s.
The Rams' LA-homecoming will not dilute the Trojan fan base, or the UCLA fan base for that matter. Keeping fans interested and coming to games boils down to one thing: winning.
As long as the Trojans are winning, 90,000-plus fans will pack the Coliseum and be ready to "Fight On!" each Saturday. If the Trojans struggle, fans will start getting restless, calling for the coach's head and their enthusiasm may be stifled, but that's usually the procedure for any college or professional team nowadays.
There will be competition for attention, at least at first. The Rams coming home will come as a huge hit of nostalgia for virtually all football fans in the LA area. The good thing is that there are plenty of people to entertain in LA, more than 18 million, including the more than 40,000 students at USC.
Just as athletic director Pat Haden has, welcome the estranged Rams franchise back to Los Angeles and rejoice. Rejoice for more football in Los Angeles this fall.