To put it bluntly, Southern California was not ready for the Rams’ return to Los Angeles. Rams fans single-handedly broke the highway system, ransacked the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and flooded the neighboring streets. Message to the SoCal doubters: You are clearly wrong.
I’ve never witnessed anything quite like this in an NFL preseason game. To put things into perspective, Los Angeles is a heavily populated region, so when any local freeway is shut down, like I-405 was back in 2011, locals can expect even more congested traffic. That incident was known as “Carmageddon,” but this preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys was the true “Carmageddon.” It wasn’t just neighboring freeways that were congested, it included multiple freeways, and these were just the ones I personally have seen and used: the 10, 60, 5, 105, 110, 605 and 405 were all at a standstill. This remarkable impact is definitely making me consider using public transportation.
The tailgates never fizzled out even during the game. The limited areas where the Coliseum allowed tailgates still offered mouthwatering food, music and dancing, televisions and plenty of alcohol even after the game. So many people had been waiting for this opportunity, and they savored every moment. Also, this was a good time to buy Rams gear and tickets as “entrepreneurs” and scalpers could be found many blocks away from the actual stadium.
Another thing that became blatantly obvious is that the L.A. Memorial Coliseum cannot handle the capacity crowd that the Rams brought – all 89,140 fans. It took me 45 minutes just to get inside the stadium, because the line was that long. It didn’t get any better once inside. The body heat I felt in line followed me around the entire stadium. What’s even worse is in order to get anywhere, you needed to learn some juke moves. The people in front of you needed to act as your blockers if you wanted to keep your party together. If all else failed, you needed to take the Todd Gurley approach and bulldoze through the crowd.
Want something from the concession stands? You’d better forget about it. I felt like I was at Disneyland when they are filled to capacity, and I’m trying to ride Space Mountain. Can I get a Fastpass for a beer? I’m not exaggerating when I say all stands were filled with people. Souvenirs, food, beer, and other stands had massive lines, and they didn’t die down throughout the game. The Rams and the Coliseum made a ton of money on concession stands alone.
The overwhelming feeling of the crowds subsided once the light peaked through the seating tunnels. The older stadium that once housed the Rams instilled nostalgia and pride to the devoted Los Angeles fans. The introduction and kickoff drove up the decibels louder than I’ve ever heard at the Coliseum. I’ve been to the Coliseum plenty of times. Even during the rivaled UCLA vs. USC games, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the stadium quite that loud.
The intensity of the game manifested itself on the crowds. The utter disappointment of the first half was felt stadium-wide. Everyone felt the agony when there was a dropped pass, and there were too many instances of that. I even witnessed a couple of moments of frustration among Rams and Cowboys fans alike.
The crowd truly became electric in the second half. When QB Sean Mannion found WR Nelson Spruce in the end zone in the fourth quarter, the crowd went nuts. The entire stadium was chanting the name of an undrafted free agent like he was Rams legend Isaac Bruce. The fact people actually knew of this young athlete is nothing short of amazing.
Two more moments made this preseason game feel like an electrifying playoff game. That was when RB Aaron Green scored the game-winning touchdown and when the Rams defense successfully stopped the Cowboys offense to win the game.
It may appear odd to other NFL fans seeing Rams fans celebrate so hard following a preseason game victory. Let’s be honest: it was essentially reserved players that won the game, and the starters pretty much disappointed. But the real reason for the celebration and the real victory was that Rams football was back in Los Angeles. Nothing else mattered.
It was a sight to behold. The roar of the crowd was so loud that it probaby gave Qwest Field a run for its money. Best of all, when leaving everyone was chanting, “Whose house?! Rams house!” The streets became flooded again with fans and sadly back to traffic. It was totally worth it, because the Rams are finally back in Los Angeles.
Just a sample of how loud it got in the Coliseum!