LA Story [A Clockwork Orange]

Illustration by Mercedes Del Real

It’s incredible what the Los Angeles Rams, who used to play in Anaheim, and Los Angeles Chargers, who are headquartered in Costa Mesa, accomplished this year (so far).

The Rams, whose only Super Bowl win came in 1999 (during those “lost” years in St. Louis), finished the 2018 regular season 13-3 for the best single-season record in franchise history and the most wins ever while in Los Angeles.

The Chargers, who lost their only Super Bowl game in 1995 (during those “long” years in San Diego and after an 11-5 record), finished the ’18 regular season 12-4 for the best single season since the franchise went 13-3 while in LA in 1960.

After a bye week, the Rams face the Dallas Cowboys in a divisional playoff game Saturday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Having defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 in the wild-card playoff round Jan. 6, the Chargers advance to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Sunday.

Parity on the field has not extended to the stands, however.

The Rams first came to LA a decade after the franchise started in Cleveland in 1936. Home games were played at the Coliseum until 1980, when the Rams moved to the reconfigured Anaheim Stadium, where they stayed until the 1995 season in St. Louis. They returned to LA and the Coliseum in 2016.

As one of the original American Football League teams, the Chargers began playing at LA Coliseum in 1960, but the franchise moved to San Diego the following season. They returned to LA and what was then the StubHub Center (and now Dignity Health Sports Park) in Carson in 2017.

Both teams move into the brand-new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in 2020, but because that project began with the Rams and on team owner Stab Kroenke’s land, the Chargers are essentially a second-class team.

While the Rams have packed the Coliseum, attendance has been so light in Carson that some NFL team owners wonder if the Chargers will even be viable in La-La Land.

The second-class status is evident in this weekend’s playoff games. According to TickPick, a no-fee secondary ticket marketplace, the Rams-Cowboys contest is the most expensive ticket of the round, with an average listing price of $831 and the cheapest at $378. For the Patriots-Chargers game, the average listing is $658, with $212 the cheapest.

The Chargers do have a hail Mary when it comes to securing SoCal popularity: Just win the Super Bowl, and if it’s over the Rams, all the better.

OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.

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