It’s now official: the Rams are heading back to Los Angeles, home of the team from 1946 to 1994. The Rams played in Cleveland during the team’s first decade of existence before heading the league’s westward expansion after World Warr II. The Rams played in Memorial Coliseum from ’46 to ’79, before moving to Anaheim Stadium from 1980 to 1994. It is still unclear where the team will play in the short term, although a return to the Coliseum seems likely. But beginning in 2019, the team will play in Inglewood, California.
A three-year period at an interim stadium is an interesting phenomenom to analyze, and will probably be worthwhile to examine in say, three years. In general, teams have only a minimal home field advantage during year one in a new home, so a three-year window at the Coliseum could hurt the Rams on-field product a little bit (and the same goes for the 2019 season at the new stadium). But for now, let’s look at the bigger move across the country.
The Rams are the 11th team1 since 1960 to make a significant franchise relocation.2 In general, these teams have fared pretty well relative to their play in the prior year, although that may cloud the issue (the ’95 Browns being a famous example of a team floundering in its final season in a city).
|New Year||Old Team||New Team||Yr N-1 Record||Yr N Record||Old HC||New HC|
|2015||St. Louis Rams||Los Angeles Rams||7-9||??||Jeff Fisher||Jeff Fisher|
|1997||Houston Oilers||Tennessee Oilers||8-8||8-8||Jeff Fisher||Jeff Fisher|
|1996||Cleveland Browns||Baltimore Ravens||5-11||4-12||Bill Belichick||Ted Marchibroda|
|1995||Los Angeles Raiders||Oakland Raiders||9-7||8-8||Art Shell||Mike White|
|1995||Los Angeles Rams||St. Louis Rams||4-12||7-9||Chuck Knox||Rich Brooks|
|1988||St. Louis Cardinals||Phoenix Cardinals||7-8||7-9||Gene Stallings||Gene Stallings|
|1984||Baltimore Colts||Indianapolis Colts||7-9||4-12||Frank Kush||Frank Kush|
|1982||Oakland Raiders||Los Angeles Raiders||7-9||8-1||Tom Flores||Tom Flores|
|1963||Dallas Texans||Kansas City Chiefs||11-3||5-7-2||Hank Stram||Hank Stram|
|1961||Los Angeles Chargers||San Diego Chargers||10-4||12-2||Sid Gillman||Sid Gillman|
|1960||Chicago Cardinals||St. Louis Cardinals||2-10||6-5-1||Pop Ivy||Pop Ivy|
The good news for the Rams: their head coach has experience at this sort of thing! Of course, how the 2016 Rams fare is hardly the big issue here. So I’ll open this one up to the comments: how do you feel about the Rams returning to Los Angeles?
- Note that while the NFL doesn’t consider the 1996 Ravens an extension of the 1995 Browns, for the intent of this post, it makes sense to treat them as such. [↩]
- By significant, I’m excluding things like the Titans moving from Memphis to Nashville, the Jets moving to Long Island to New Jersey, the Patriots moving around Massachusetts, and so on. [↩]