How Los Angeles has Become an NFL Powerhouse

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Just a few short years ago, the city of Los Angeles was without any presence in the NFL. The long awaited return of an NFL team to Hollywood spanned for a few decades, during which talks of a return to the league consistently arose, just to be shut down again. 

There was really no sense behind it. A city so large, and with some of the most glamorous fans a team could have, simply didn’t have a team representing them in America’s most popular sport. One of the nation’s biggest markets lacked something. Of course, the Los Angeles Lakers are the city’s pride, which isn’t going to change anytime soon (LeBron James’ arrival only magnifies this). And they have the Clippers as well. Baseball? Sure. Hockey? Of course. So how did they not have an NFL team? 

That finally changed when the (then) St. Louis Rams made the decision to move the team to La La Land. Then, in almost laughable timing, the San Diego Chargers agreed to transfer their team as well, amid low ratings from fans in the area, and an inability to sell out their stadium tickets. So now, a city that inexplicably lacked any team in the NFL, became just the second city (behind New York) to actually have two different teams in the league.

Even more intriguing, is the fact that both the Rams and Chargers are among the best teams in the NFL this season. For the Rams, it has been a linear rise to the top. Slowly building a championship contender through the draft and strengthening the roster through free agency, the Rams now appear destined to make a deep run come January.

Meanwhile, the Chargers have had an issue gaining any traction, despite having one of the league’s most consistent and experienced quarterbacks in Phillip Rivers. It has almost always been the Denver Broncos or Kansas City Chiefs that have held their grasp on the AFC West. Even this season, as the Broncos and Raiders appear well on their way to another playoff-less season, the Chiefs are among the top teams in the AFC, with highly talented second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes behind center. 

Through six weeks of the 2018 season, the Rams have a stranglehold on the NFC West, with a perfect 6-0 record. The second best team in the division? The Seahawks currently claim that spot, but are way behind in the count, sitting at just 3-3 at the moment. The Rams are truly impressive this year. Led by Sean McVay, who at 32 years old, is the youngest head coach in the NFL, the Rams are playing strong football. Perhaps better than anyone in the entire league. This is a well-rounded team, who can play tough defense, while also hang in a shootout with any prolific offense. 

Todd Gurley is showing he is no fluke, as McVay has masterfully put him in tremendous positions to succeed. Gurley is paying dividends for his team, and quarterback Jared Goff is playing like a polished veteran. It helps that he has a deep receiving corps at his disposal, and a loaded defense that can wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

The Chargers are no joke either, with Melvin Gordon putting up huge numbers almost every single week. The combination of Rivers and Gordon create issues for any defense to stop. And the window of opportunity for this team is not nearly as wide, with Rivers set to turn 37 years old in early December. 

The Chargers are currently 4-2, just one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s quite possible that Rivers can lead his team to a postseason run even without winning the division. But this is likely to be a race that will continue late into the season, before the AFC West is officially decided by anyone.

Suddenly, the city of Los Angeles boasts two of the top teams in the entire NFL. Could we possibly see an all-L.A. Super Bowl? After years of a complete football drought, this city could yield two Super Bowl representatives this season. That would be crazy, even if it’s not ideal from a profit standpoint, as far as the NFL is concerned.

It would only be fitting for Los Angeles and its celebrity culture to be the center of the country’s most popular sport. No other sporting event gets nearly as much attention as the Super Bowl itself. It would quite a show to see this matchup come to fruition. And it very well could happen as soon as this February.